New Year's Eve 2009 at Troutman's, boy I hope 2010 is better!
New Year's Eve 2009 at Troutman's, boy I hope 2010 is better!

It’s been such a long time I think should be blogging, but time just slips away and keeps on going…..

Tons has happened here at Maize Valley since August, I am sorry to say I have lost track of time and fell down on the posts. As of late we are dealing with our sixth straight weekend of rain. Pretty much since the start of our fall harvest season and corn maze opening. Per the haunted maze we have had it open only one night out of a possible seven to date. Hopefully tomorrow night will be the second night, rain forcast for next weekend?

Most of all what rocked my world and has divided my attention was the news that my wife Michelle was diagnosed with breast cancer on August 31st. Wow what a deal, dropped me to my knees. We had surgery last Monday, things went as well as could be expected, now we wait on final test results and plan future treatments. I guess it was good we were busy this fall, it helped to occupy our minds.

But we didn’t back down anywhere here on the farm. We just kept pushing like we have all our lives. Just one more challenge, with this time family first. I have learned a great deal about myself, I have learned a great deal about breast cancer and all the success stories as well. But you see a two years ago we lost my sister-in-law Mary Ellen Cole-Bakan, just over a year ago Michelle’s Mom survived. A roller coaster nobody should have to ride.

Mary Ellen helped us in the pumpkin patch from day one. She was great, anybody who would “forget” to pay as they got back on the wagon she would gracefully approach with a smile and be sure we got our money for the pumpkin. She was just a soft and bright soul and I often think of her as I see families in our pumpkin patch building their memories, as she is part of mine.

Cancer scared the hell out of me, I did not want to have memories I wanted to have my wife and business partner of almost 24 years now. You see this business with the help of her family, (mostly Chelle’s Mom and Dad) we have built together from the start at our first farm market conference back in Dayton over 15 years ago. That is where we got our first glimps of direct marketing, corn mazes, pumpkin picking and more. From there we began building a place that in turn helps build memories to last a lifetime for others. She and I are not “in love”, it is something that we do… Thanks Clint Black. Without her this place is just a body of work, hollow without her.

The surgery went well, we think and hope for now she is going to be in that close to 75% that survive today due to our early detection. Time will tell but more than time we are on this one with both feet. And the marketer in me looks to 2010 with breast cancer awarness month in October maybe we can help others by dovetailing our personal journey and our business into their lives as well.

Stay tuned, as maybe that is my purpose behind this new journey my wife, lover and best friend have embarked upon. Thanks to all the family and friends that have helped to lessen the sting with their actual help here on the farm, in the store and in the winery. Thanks to all the stories of realatives and friends that are still here today and words of encouragement of their success stories. That is what we plan of doing for others at the very least!

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