Wednesday, May 21, 2014


It's amazing how one simple word can change your life and perspective. Cancer is one of those words.

Life just can't stop in mid stream. Since Rhonda was diagnosed with breast cancer in April many things have taken place. All of the seed is in the ground which is a great feeling. Dillon and I traveled back to Hartford, CT for a scholarship interview that he was successful on, and of course Rhonda had more tests.

The mental toll that takes places is indescribable. Not only for Rhonda, but for the whole family. Is there more cancer? What procedure should I do? Lumpectomy or Mastectomy? Am I letting everyone down? What about financial issues? The list goes on and on.

There is good news and hope...BREAST SUPPORTERS! Yeah, this is tongue in cheek but you can either laugh or cry. Rhonda and I are both ones that find sadistic humor in many situations. I've tried to make up words to go with BRA but I haven't had any luck. Maybe - Blair, Rhonda Activists! It just seems a little limp and danglely.

While Hillary Clinton said "It takes a village," we are finding out "IT TAKES A COMMUNITY and/or FAMILY." What we discovered is how large that community/family really is. It is global! The support from friends, co-workers, and even strangers has just been too amazing to describe at times. Overwhelming is a good word.

Back Row L to R: Emily Fredenburg, Jackie Kohler, Vickie Witt, Rose Norris
Middle Row: Heather Anderson, Rob Hoffman, Connie Reid, Dr. Park, Angie Tweit, Dawn Quigley, Suzanne Brammer,
Tracy Cooper, Shannon Heath, Morgan Heier, Chelsea Henson, Denise Silflow
Front Row: Melissa Eichner, Kandy Mccleese, Kim Cirka, Jan Patterson, Angie Cannon, Connie Hedler, Jessica Clemenhagen. Front & Center: Rhonda Blair
My last blog was about "Pink Tractors" which was done right after Rhonda's initial visit with two cancer specialists. We picked up a T-shirt with a pink tractor on it for breast cancer support. After I posted, the comments and support that came in was mind blowing.

Rhonda and I joked the day she wore it to work that there needs to be a special day for Ta Ta Tuesday. Well, it stuck and with her telling that story to the staff at the grade school which led to the main reason for this blog.

Without Rhonda's knowledge they designed and ordered T-shirts. Now I like wearing pink. So does Logan and to some extent Dillon. But Rhonda....loathes the color. Being an athlete she associated pink with things over the top feminine. I get it, it's kind of like Chevy or Ford, you have your favorite.

So last Tuesday May 13th the BREAST SUPPORTERS sprung their surprise on her. Pink T-shirts with black ribbons on the front...and they know she doesn't like pink which makes it funny. The special part was on the back...TEAM RHONDA!

Rhonda called me to tell the story and it brought tears to my eyes. A small community is like a family. Most of the time life goes normal but there are times of arguments, jealousy, etc. Kind of like the petty stuff that takes place with siblings that makes parents go crazy. But like a family, when the chips are down, the wagons are circled, and they stick together. Rhonda's co-workers at the Juliaetta Grade school have been the BEST BREAST SUPPORTERS ever.

Rhonda is a "newbie" in the community. Now that I think about it, it's been over 20 years. However, I grew up here and know many of the staff from years gone past. My sixth grade teacher, Emily Fredenburg is still there. A classmate from the class of 1987, Angie (Hoisington) Cannon is a teacher and was the only one who signed my yearbook when I changed schools. A member from church who had kids a few years younger than me, Vickie Witt works there. Connie (Groseclose) Hedler was a cheerleader when I was in grade school and a mother when I was an AAU basketball coach to her son and my brother. My high school English teacher Suzanne Brammer. Dawn Quigley who's first year teaching second grade was when I was in third. Watching Chelsea Henson, Tracy Cooper and Jessica (Silflow) Clemenhagen grow up. Melissa Eichner whose husband farms and I coached her son in AAU. Kim Cirka who's son and Dillon were close high school friends. Denise Silflow who I like to tease when I go to The Dubliner in Washington, D.C. Angie Tweit who we have spent many a year together toting our sons back and forth from kindergarten to state basketball. There is a long, intertwined history with most people in a small community. GREAT BREAST SUPPORTERS!

Like I stated earlier we found out we have a large family/community. Support rolled in from around the world. Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, England, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Canada, Romania, Ireland, and all around the U.S. Many have been to our farm or we have visited them. These folks are also GREAT BREAST SUPPORTERS!

Then yesterday Rhonda received a card signed by people (I should use the word friends) in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. My life has been intertwined with many of them through different capacities. What made this special to both Rhonda and I was the word "FAMILY" on the return address.

Yes, we are a family. Small communities, the CALS family, The Eisenhower Fellowship network, Idaho Grain Producers Association, the National Association of Wheat Growers, and the Nuffield Scholars network are more than ever a part of our life and family.

I am reminded of a joke my father told me many, many years ago (he wasn't the most PC or diplomatic person mind you). "What is the strongest thing in the world? A brassiere, it holds up two milk factories." Now you understand my tongue in cheek title BREAST SUPPORTERS, THEY DEFINITELY ARE STRONG!

We call them Ta Tas, melons, knockers, headlights, gazingas, etc. Many jokes have been made about Dolly Parton's "endowed figure." Whatever we call them and no matter what jokes are made, it has definitely provided a different perspective of "the girls." But one things is certain, no matter what procedure Rhonda decides on "TEAM RHONDA" WILL WIN! Why??? She has amazing BREAST SUPPORTERS in her life!

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