The sun is just peaking over the horizon, and Dalton Hamilton is casting a line into the murky waters of Horseshoe Lake. Hopefully, he can reel in a decent string of crappie, or maybe some bluegill, before he has to head home to tend to the chores around his farm. He recalls last fall, when he nearly bagged an 8-point buck in the woods a little ways from here, and wonders if this year will be his year.
Life Rolls On
Normally a very social person, this morning Dalton savors the silence. “Sometimes, it’s better to let nature do the talking, and just sit back and appreciate it,” he thinks. Suddenly, the bobber on his line disappears under the water. But before he can set the hook, it breaks the surface again. “Some crappie just ate breakfast on me,” he thinks. No matter – he’s got plenty of bait, and a little more time before he has to get back.
Back at the farm, he goes about his work with a quiet confidence. As he crosses the yard on his way from barn to field, he looks up at the basketball hoop fastened to the barn wall. “I used to be a pretty good shot in middle school and high school. Maybe I should air up that basketball and shoot some hoops before it gets dark,” he says to himself. But, this time of year the days are short, and his chores keep him busy until long past dark.
He enters the trim, snug house to wash up and join his family for dinner. As his wife says grace before the meal, he thinks about how grateful he is, not just for the food on the table, but for everything and everyone that has made this life possible. He remembers his parents, who raised him and his siblings to be honest, hard-working adults. He thinks about his time in school, and the teachers and coaches like Ms. Ruiz and Coach Monroe, who encouraged and supported him.
He recalls a time, nearly two decades ago, when he and his twin brother were ten. An electrical fire tore through their house, destroying it and everything they owned. The memory makes him all the more grateful for the warm, safe house he and his family call home today.
After the dishes are cleared and the kids have been put to bed, Dalton sits by the fire and begins to reminisce again about his youth. “How did I get so lucky, to grow up here?” he wonders. He considers what it might be like to live in a bigger town, a city even. But nothing could beat the close-knit community and small town atmosphere of his hometown, where
he knows everybody and everybody knows him.
It’s not always been easy, though. He has weathered some storms in his life, but he knows he can count on his community, and especially his family, to help him see it through. In fact, whenever he is faced with a difficult challenge, he tells himself, “Remember, your family loves you. You all can get through it together.”