ode to nicole

we recently had the lovely pleasure of meeting my brother's girlfriend, nicole. they live in edmonton which is why we hadn't met her up until now. they had come to ontario for a family wedding in grand bend & had stayed on for a week to visit us at the farm & help move my mom into the guest room. they were both troopers. david "slept" in the boys room which i'm afraid the boys were entirely too excited about & nicole snuggled in the guest room with sadie, my mom's dog, & of course my mom. there was all to early risings after all night parties in the boys room, lots of chainsawing & tire swing hanging & bush hogging, haying & loft organizing, riding & subsequent falling, duck pluming & porcupine murdering & chick disposal. it was a productive & yet memorable week to say the least.

my absolute favourite memory of that week was the loft door raising (or rather the image of nicole in a beautiful green dress holding onto a thread bare rope while hanging from a meat hook suspended from the roof of the barn). let me elaborate. the highest door of the loft, which we had just spent the day stacking hay into, had fallen off & needed to be reattached to the highest peak of the tallest barn. my brother bravely stepped forward to be the guy that hammers it back on at ridiculous heights. he straddled his ladder precariously on the weakened, definitely-not-safe roof of a conjoining barn & us girls up in the loft tried to tie an old rope to both the top of his ladder securing it to a beam & the triangle piece of missing loft door to hoist it out to be nailed on by my brother. we each had our jobs. david was to nail the piece back on, mom & i were to hoist & hold the triangle piece in place so it was nailed in right & nicole, in her beautiful green dress, was to hang onto the rope that both secured the ladder & the piece of loft door that hung over david's head so's not to knock him clean off the ladder if it fell.

all was going as planned. nicole held the rope. we held the wooden door in place & david started hammering until the faint hum of a single bee could be heard on the outside of the barn followed by the subsequent squeaking of the ladder & a long roll of profanity. us girls looked at each other wincing each time the ladder squeaked & an obscenity followed, afraid to ask if he was ok. and then with all the jarring of the ladder being moved to & fro the rope that nicole was holding onto began to fray & break. she helplessly kept trying to hold on just a little bit higher than the last break, we quickly helped her tie the rope around an old meat hook looking thing hanging from the ceiling until that very unhappy bee came for us inside the barn. we screamed & danced around trying to avoid being stung while still holding our positions. and poor nicole hung for dear life to the rope that dangled her boyfriend's life on the squeaky ladder outside while trying to avoid letting go altogether.

it is this picture that i will treasure always because not only did it mean she had successfully been initiated into our family & the brutality of farm life but it spoke volumes about her love for my brother... that she chose his life over hers, bumblebee torture over dropping that itchy, thread bare rope, hayloft nonsense over her beautiful green dress. i am impressed to say the least.

if she can sleep with stinky sadie, fall off an attitudinal pony, face her fear of birds gracing our poopy chicken coop with her presence, hay her heart out in the sweatiest season of the summer & subject herself to bumblebee torture ... well, i think that deserves a toast of some kind!

and to this i raise my glass & say "here, here! ode du nicole!"
we hope you will be a long & lovely part of our family for years to come.

p.s. oh, and that loft door did get hung without any major injuries ;)

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