Life can present some really enjoyable times that are meant for reflection. We’d be fools not to embrace those moments.
Such a time presented itself when my husband, Mirza (Mirzie or Toby to his friends), got to reunite with a kindred spirit, all brought together by finding an old newspaper clipping.
Toby was about 14 or 15 when he was part of 4-H in the Schuyler Falls area. Leeward Babbie was the same age, a 4-H member and a farm boy in Champlain. Both were prone to growing bushy, healthy gardens. That year at the Clinton County Fair, the two ended up with prize vegetables, Toby a hubbard squash and Leeward a field pumpkin. Their picture landed in the Press-Republican. The clipping, of course, became part of the multitude of pictures and newspaper clippings Toby’s mother, Marge, kept in a keepsake box.
Fast forward to 2011. I was cleaning a closet and found Marge’s keepsakes. Therein was the newspaper clipping. I said to Toby, “We need to see if Leeward is still alive!” — something you automatically think when you haven’t heard about someone for a very long time.
Just a few months later, I was asked to write a story about the Babbie Rural and Farm Learning Museum in Peru. Leeward is the founder and ardent supporter of all things agricultural. He wasn’t there that day, but I asked the volunteers about him and told them about the clipping. They said he was in good health and would love to see Toby.
Fast forward, again, to a warm summer day this August. Toby and I had decided to take a day off from mowing and cleaning to visit the Babbie Museum, hoping Leeward would be there. After paying the very small admission price, we asked for him and were told he was around somewhere, would we like to watch a demonstration of Irish dancing while we waited?