Tracy: The Best Surprise!!

Jordan, Montana – 2,100 mile trip…we made it!

I sorta pushed Jim to get as far as the Black Hills the first day. I was hoping we could spend an afternoon with Jamie’s family. Ben’s birthday was Tuesday (7/24) and I knew they would be spending the day touring and sightseeing. And then, they would be heading to Jordan to spend several days with us before having to head back home.

Well, it didn’t happen. We didn’t make it to the Black Hills in time. I mean, we did…sorta.

We got back to Limon about 5:00 PM on Monday (7/23). Our intentions were to load the combine and move it to town so we could get a good start the following morning. The weather changed our plans. Shortly after we pulled into town, the sky grew dark and thunder started rolling. But Jim knew how bad I wanted to get back on the road and he agreed to go to the farm to start the loading process, even though he highly suspected it would be raining. And he was right. As soon as we pulled in, I knew it wasn’t going to happen.

The next morning, we got up fairly early and got the trailer house road-ready and headed back to the farm to load. By the time we got everything done – and we didn’t take any breaks – it was noon. I knew I was going to have to come to the sorry fact that I wasn’t going to get to see the kids that day. I would have to wait until the next.

Z Crew Checking trailer tires to make sure they’re not flat.

Z Crew Ready to go!

Z Crew Even though we weren’t going home or even close to home, this felt like home.

We pulled into Hot Springs at dusk. We called it a day and went to bed, knowing it would be another early morning on Wednesday. Traffic through Rapid City is horrible. So, we wanted to get a decent start to try to avoid most of the morning going-to-work traffic.

Z Crew Landed in Hot Springs, South Dakota for the night.

Z Crew Sunrise over the Black Hills.

Z Crew Montana scenery along Highway 59.

Z Crew 35 miles to our destination.

We landed in Jordan late afternoon. Jamie, Curt and the kids arrived shortly after. As soon as Nora got out of the car, she told me, “My aunties are here too – Jenna, TeeTee and Coco.” I said, “Oh really?” And Jamie assured me that it was something Nora really wanted but they, in fact, were not here with them. And Ben didn’t remember me. He just looked at me – not even a tiny smile.

About five minutes later…they WERE here! I wanted to cry but I didn’t. I was just so excited to have everyone here for a few days. I was going to TRY to soak it all up as best I could. I didn’t do anything while they were here. We were lucky in that the wheat we came here for was green and would need several days to ripen. So we got to spend the days enjoying each other’s company. Being in Jordan is like being home again. The girls were able to see some of their childhood friends. We used to spend quite a lot of time in Jordan when the girls were little. Some of those extended stays included school. So, now they have classmates in two locations – home and “home, home”.

Z Crew Taking a picture with this sign became a tradition after my grandma took pictures of me and my younger brothers. I have a picture of the girls by this sign every year that we came to Jordan. The tradition continues.

The days went too fast. Although we didn’t get started cutting until yesterday afternoon (Saturday, July 28), we still had some work to do to get ready. Like unload the combine and get the equipment ready to head to the field. We just drug kids and grandkids with us. No big deal.

Z Crew Just us!

Z Crew I bought Nora these princess dolls at the Jordan Drug Store and it turned into the favorite thing to play with while here – score!

Z Crew Callie, Nora, Jenna, Eli and me

Z Crew Callie, Eli, Nora, Jenna and Jim

Z Crew Eli took this picture of us.

Z Crew Just hanging out in a wheat field.

Z Crew Oh Nora…our future HarvestHER.

Z Crew Notice the princess in her hand? They went everywhere!

Z Crew Soaking up all the hugs!

Z Crew Taylor took this picture of Eli. I absolutely ADORE it!

Z Crew Photo credit – Taylor Papa and Eli

Jamie’s family left yesterday morning (7/28) with the intentions of spending the night in Mitchell, South Dakota to break up the trip. They texted towards evening and said they quit in Murdo. Seven hours in a car with three kids was long enough!

The “aunties” left this morning. Intentions were good. They wanted to be on the road at 6:00 AM. What they didn’t plan on was the flat tire. When they left camp, we were in hopes they would make it to Miles City before anything would have to be done to the tire. They made it 10 miles outside of town. Jim rounded up a jack and put the spare on. It was a bit scary sending them on their way knowing they would have to “limp” 85 miles to Miles City. But they made it.

Z Crew The morning starts with a flat tire along the highway.

Z Crew Dad to the rescue!

Z Crew Not sure what the powwow was about. i think the spare was on and thoughts on what to do next??

And, now, everyone is back home again and in their own beds tonight. And my trailer house is extremely quiet and lonely. When God created us to have emotions, I really wish He would have left the emotion of being sad out of the picture. All sadness does is make your heart ache and cause way more tears than anyone should have to deal with. I know I’ll see them again when we get home BUT! When they’re here, it’s as though our family is complete again. It’s like it used to be. The craziness and chaos of our house and life was back to normal for a couple of days. And I loved it. And now, when I think about the amazing surprise and having everyone here, my heart aches for it all over again.

This business we built and began in 1982 has never, and will never, make us millionaires. We don’t have a huge, new home or new cars to drive. What it has built, though, is a legacy. A legacy of love that will, hopefully, continue through the next generations. I look around the trailer and I see pieces of the girls. What they touched, what they used, what they left, etc. and it makes my heart hurt and tears begin to well up in my eyes. But that’s good, right?! If there wasn’t so much love, none of that would mean anything. It would be meaningless. And THAT’S what this business has built. A sort of retirement plan not based on any dollars. Nothing about this job is easy. But it’s the hard work, dedication and persistence that has kept us going year after year and it’s beginning to pay off. When I look at our daughters and see what kind of people they are…it was all worth it.

It was the best surprise!

As I mentioned, Jim and I got started cutting wheat yesterday. The wheat is phenomenal here! I think the last time I saw this much straw and this much wheat in this country was in 1981 – the summer we came here for the first time. We are back to work. And that’s good. It keeps my mind thinking of something other than the kids. The fields we’re cutting are absolutely beautiful! We’ve cut less than 200 acres and I think the average, so far, is 45/50 bushels per acre. The grain is going in the farmer’s bin so there isn’t an elevator ticket telling me what the weight and protein is. I do know this – it’s more than this country has seen in quite a while.

I’m just glad to be back!!!

Z Crew Montana harvest.

Z Crew Montana harvest.

IMG_7934 Montana harvest

Z Crew Big sky country!

Z Crew Montana harvest

Z Crew Montana harvest

Z Crew Trailing to the next field.

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All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Tracy Zeorian can be reached at


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