A year-end review

The wall calendar next to my desk has become outdated, so I replaced it with a monthly timetable that features snapshots of mature-but-still-sexy models who are all dolled up and ready to “party.” I’m especially looking forward to May and its photo of a sultry 1949 John Deere “R” tractor.

This is the time of year when we traditionally review the 12 months that have recently whizzed past our window. Some memories stand out more than others, particularly those that were stored on my iPhone. How did we remember anything — especially our restaurant meals — before we began to carry supercomputer digital cameras with us at all times?

The past year began with me being on TV. And no, it didn’t involve perching atop our Samsung.

In January I appeared on Pioneer Public TV’s “Compass” program. I enjoy seeing how the sausage is made and was fascinated by our visit to Pioneer’s studios. But watching the finished product made me squirm. It was like glimpsing myself in a mirror and thinking, “Who the heck is that?!”

Another TV opportunity came some months later, when I was on RFD TV — Live! Via Skype! — to talk about my book, “Dear County Agent Guy.” Our living room was the studio and the camera was in my laptop’s lid. It was an interesting experience much in the same way that skydiving is often an interesting experience.

My wife and I celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary in March by enjoying a restaurant meal with a delightful dairy farmer couple named Monica and Brad. Coincidentally, Monica and Brad were married on the same day as we were. Another weird twist is that Brad and I both turned 60 on Oct. 30. We’re still trying to figure out who is copying whom.

In May we visited our oldest son in the Twin Cities. According to my iPhone, we enjoyed several excellent restaurant meals. I currently cannot recall them, but the bathroom scale seems to agree with my phone.

We decided to visit the Cathedral of St. Paul, an immense example of opulent architecture. Afterward, my wife asked what I thought of the cathedral.

“That’s a pretty nice shed,” I replied. This was also what I said after touring Brad and Monica’s new dairy barn.

We later wended our way to Stillwater. This tourist haven has plenty of water although hardly any of it is still because of the large number of pleasure boats that are constantly plying the St. Croix River. Our Stillwater memories include numerous snapshots of gift shops and (surprise!) food.

August found us in Kansas City, where we visited our youngest son and his wife. We sampled some local barbecue (more photos!) and visited the Union Station museum, which had an exhibit called Mummies of the World. We are such wild and crazy people that a fun afternoon means going to a museum to view the desiccated deceased.

The museum forbade taking photos of the mummy exhibit, so I remember very little about it. However, I do recall that at one point I grabbed my wife’s arm and whispered, “I see dead people!”

A major objective of that trip was to view the Great Eclipse of 2017, which was conveniently scheduled to pass near Kansas City. The planners of the eclipse failed to consult with the weatherman, who cursed the region with considerable cloudiness. We spent a large portion of the eclipse morning trying to outrun the overcast and chasing the moon’s shadow.

We eventually succeeded. Our once-in-a-lifetime eclipse experience took place on the shoulder of a gravel road somewhere in the middle of Missouri. This event was made even more special by the superb grilled cheese sandwiches our daughter-in-law had thoughtfully brought along. My phone has lots of eclipse photos but, sadly, no snapshots of the sandwiches.

We were on TV again as the year drew to a close. I say “we” because this time my wife was involved.

Our farmstead was the backdrop for an interview that was shot by a South Dakota Public TV crew. Some of our Jersey steers were featured in the B-roll; no doubt they will soon become big TV stars. Hollywood had better not dally because the steers will all become dinner guests during the next few months.

The video was shot in the spring but didn’t air until late in the year. It’s comforting to see that younger version of ourselves, the pre-winter version that has a green lawn and can stroll around outdoors without jackets.

Those are a few of my recollections of 2017. If anyone feels that anything has been misremembered, feel free to call and take it up with my iPhone.

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