Welcome to guest blogger Esther Miller, returning to our pages with this delightful story about love. It seemed just right for Valentine's Day!

Our RV had been parked at a friend’s farm all summer, so we were considered part of the neighborhood when the invitations went out for a birthday barbecue. A neighbor’s twin granddaughters were turning four, and because extended family members inhabited most of the farms for three or four miles around, the party became a neighborhood gathering.

I found myself sitting beside the twin girls' great-grandmother, a charming white-haired lady in her eighties, who was delighted to find a fresh pair of ears for her stories. She regaled me with tales of her children and her many grandchildren, marveling that she had lived to see her great-grandchildren. She feared, however, that the good days for raising a family were gone. She was especially sad that both husbands and wives now had to work in town to make a living for their families.

“My granddaughter came to me just the other day and asked how my Buddy and I stayed so close for so many years. I told her she just had to make time to grease the windmill.” I took the bait and asked her what she meant.

“Down in the pasture,” she told me, “we had a windmill that pumped all the water for the farm. The windmill needed to be kept greased or it would seize up, and then we’d have no water.” She went on to tell me how one evening her Buddy told their oldest girl to watch the boys for a little while because he and Mother had to go grease the windmill. He got a bucket of grease and an old rag, threw them in the back of the truck, and they drove down and across the pasture to the windmill. Once there, he climbed the tower, applied a generous blob of grease to the gears, and came back down. He and Mother then sat in the truck and talked. “And then we kinda quit talkin’, but we didn’t go back up to the house quite yet,” she said with a twinkle in her eye.Older couple holding each other in field

After that, the windmill seemed to need regular attention. “We’d go bumpety-bumping down across that pasture, and sometimes we even remembered to take the grease bucket.” Most times they talked or cried or prayed… sometimes none of the above. “Those were the best times”…and her twinkle was back as she reminisced.

So she told her granddaughter to find a windmill to grease…some way to spend time with her husband that was just their time alone.

We might all do well to find our own windmills to grease, just to keep our relationships running as smoothly as they can.

Note from Elizabeth: When our children were very small, my husband and I were fortunate to have his mother and my parents living within babysitting distance, so we had opportunities for time alone. Have you found a way to “grease the windmill” in your marriage? 

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Today’s guest blogger − and Nature Connection Messenger − is Esther Miller, a Shenandoah Valley neighbor and fellow amateur radio operator (KK6AD). Esther has been a Virginia Master Gardener for over ten years. “I’ve been gardening since I was a kid,” she says, and her love of Nature is evident whenever you’re around her. She has traveled all over the United States and brings a wealth of experience and observance of Nature to her writing.

Born and raised in the midwest, Esther lived in California for over 30 years before moving to the Shenandoah Valley over 10 years ago with her husband, Larry.  “I was an Occupational Therapist when I wasn’t being a fulltime homemaker and mother, working with children who had learning disabilities, physical disabilities, and autism.”  She has two children and two grandchildren and has been married almost 39 years.

Besides gardening, Esther is interested in genealogy and travel in the U.S.

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Photo credits: Windmill by Deborah Finnell via StockXchng; Couple in field by “Kurhan” via BigStockPhoto.

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