So the new journey begins…At the time my three young children were only ages 3, 5 and 6 years old. We were rich in love, but we lacked significantly in finances. Poor Kevin. He came into this new marriage with no debt and no dependents. I, on the other hand, blessed him with a house note, house bills, three cute little dependents, and plenty of credit card debt that I accepted in the divorce.
Kevin had a custom planting business. In that business he planted crops for farmers with his tractor, trailer and grain drill. I didn’t even know what a grain drill was, until I started dating Kevin. It is basically a large piece of equipment that you fill with seed and hooks to the tractor (with a 3-point hitch). It’s what drops the seeds, several rows at a time. One time Kevin instructed me to “watch” the seeds to be sure none of the discs on the grain drill were clogged. Well…let’s just say that I didn’t really know what I was doing, and for the first time ever, Kevin was made the laughing stock of the town for “stripping up” one of the farmer’s fields. To make matters worse, it was on a main highway for everyone to see every day! That farmer told him to, “Get the girl out of the tractor!” Kevin still reminds me of that incident to this day (almost 20 years later). 🙂 I loved riding in that tractor. His tractor, to me, was like riding on Aladdin and Jasmine’s magic carpet; and being out on the farm was like being in a whole new world, away from all the chaos. There was something magical about it. I can promise you, you’ll never see a more beautiful sunset, than an Arkansas sunset.
The farm was wonderful…but Just like with anything, with all the good, there were also challenges. I worked my regular job throughout the week, took care of our three babies, and every other weekend, (when the children went to their father’s), we worked very long hours. The farms were in the middle of nowhere, and there were no bathrooms and no place to get food. One day he offered me a ragged, melted chocolate bar that he kept cooled in the air conditioning vent of his tractor. At first I said, “No thank, you.” After several more hours planting, I said, “Hey, how bout that delicious sounding chocolate bar!” We had gotten up very early and had been working all day. We decided that we had put in more than a full day’s work, and we had earned a “date night.” We parked the tractor, jumped in his pickup truck, and were heading to the house to get cleaned up. We barely pulled out of the farm and started down the road when in the dark of the night, we saw headlights coming toward us. They got closer, and the driver started flashing his lights at us. I had a bad feeling about this. I wanted to keep driving, but apparently you can’t do that in small towns, (only in bigger cities, like Memphis 🙂 ). Kevin slowed down, then stopped and rolled down his window. I’m still not exactly sure who this guy was, but I remember distinctly what he said. He said, “Mr. Paul said to get back out there on that tractor, because rain is coming!” Kevin told the guy that we were exhausted, he was going to take his girl out on a date, and we would be back early the next morning. Well, apparently, the guy knew exactly what to say in response. He said, “Then give me the key to your tractor, and I will finish the job.” Apparently, in small towns, guys don’t let other guys drive their tractors either. So as exhausted as we were, we climbed back up in the cab, watched the sun come up, and finished planting Mr. Paul’s field. (By the way, it did set in to raining for several days, so it was a good thing we stayed.)
There were no fields to plant in the wintertime. I had been working for a law firm for several months, but I didn’t make near enough money to pay all the expenses we had. To make ends meet, we did whatever it took to bring in extra money. I babysat and sold Tupperware on some evenings and weekends. My neighbor, (and very good friend), offered Kevin a job repairing roofs. I can honestly say, Kevin must love me, because he was terrified of heights, but he was suddenly in the roofing business. We did whatever it took to be sure we had enough money to pay our bills and feed our family.
Living in Memphis was very uncomfortable for Kevin. We began searching for a home in Marion, Arkansas…looking for our next Gate of New Beginnings…