My dad's birthday request is getting pretty easy: all of us come to his farm for a day. He grills some food, we ride the 4-wheeler, and we get a group picture. It's pretty easy. This year, I added another layer to it.
Since I missed the magic that comes with waking up in a tent in our recent camping trip, I thought I would take this opportunity to try it again. Burl and I went to the farm a day earlier to camp. Right now, Burl is all about camping, overalls, being outside, animals and farm work. He's helped my dad 2 or 3 times feed the animals when they were on the city farm, so he knows about feeding them. In fact, when we go outside to play, the first thing he pretends is "feed the cows." To perpetuate Burl's excitement and interest, my dad shows Burl pictures of his tractor and talks about what they will do when Burl gets to the farm. "Burl, we'll have to feed the cows, feed the chickens, feed the pigs, etc. You'll have to wear your big boots and you overalls." Burl's face is still and tells us that he's soaking it all in. He gets it and this weekend we realized that he needed it.
We were running a little later that I envisioned, but the great thing at the farm is there isn't really a schedule. After a pit stop for dinner and supplies, we finally made it to the farm sometime after dark and way after Burl's bedtime. It didn't matter, because Burl was set on doing what he had been hearing every week for the past year. When we arrived at the farm, he wanted my dad to put on overalls and big boots and his cowboy hat and he was determined to feed the animals. At 9:00 at night. (When I say wanted, I mean, he almost started crying when I told him that Pops will probably just wear what he had on.) Being a grandparent, Pops would do anything to keep Burl from being upset.
Pops put on the Farmer Attire, grabbed some flashlights, and took Burl to the barn. We were able to explain that all the other animals were asleep. Pops and Burl took a few minutes and fed the already-fed-pigs. Burl was satisfied. He was blissful. They built a fire and enjoyed some time together. Outside my dad's camo Winnebago, that I've never seen anything like.
After some time by the fire, Burl and I headed to our tent and went to bed. It was cold and it rained and it was awesome. The next morning, Burl woke up instantly with more energy and excitement than I've ever seen. A dog barked and a rooster crowed and Burl was screaming, "Pops, Pops, I feed cows!" We didn't feed the cows right away, we started the day with coffee for everyone.
I'll save the rest of our trip for tomorrow...