FARM GIRL INK

About

Kelly Fosso Rodenberg is a life-long Minnesotan. She grew up on farms near Raymond and Pennock in the west central part of the state, and she currently resides in Chaska, a small city close to Minneapolis-St. Paul. Overly organized, detail-oriented, and calendar-driven, she excelled as an executive administration assistant at companies including W.R. Maleckar, UnitedHealthcare, and DTN before her medical condition forced her into “early retirement.” Now she is learning to navigate life with a brain tumor, focusing on the good vs. bad, the joy vs. sorrow. Kelly is passionate about motivating every cancer warrior, survivor, caretaker, and well-intentioned soul out there. A share of the proceeds from her memoir will benefit brain tumor research.

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Hi, I’m Kelly Fosso Rodenberg. I am fiftyish and live in Chaska, Minnesota, now, but I grew up in a mystical, magical, fairy-tale place—a farm in Kandiyohi County. From as young as my mom would probably allow, I thrived on being outside, helping my dad and brother with chores. It rarely mattered what kind of chores; I just loved being outside helping, which probably explains my never-been-used KitchenAid mixer today.Oh, don’t worry, I started out with very small tasks: watering the hogs, scooping feed into pails, sweeping the shop floor, and sorting like-sized nuts, bolts, and washers into empty coffee cans. Eventually I moved up to running after and catching the newborn piglets so Dad could administer their vaccinations.On those in-between days when I was too little to work on whatever project Dad was doing at the time, I’d impatiently ask, “Dad, what can I do to help?” Like clockwork he’d reply, “Just stand there and look beautiful.” Sweaty, snotty-nosed, and tangle-haired as I was, I did my best. Next came filling silage wheelbarrows, feeding cows, and carrying those previously filled feed pails. It was probably my claim to fame—carrying four five-gallon feed pails at once, two with each hand—that earned me the nickname Horse. On occasion my older brother, Lonnie, and I may or may not have been known to fight while cleaning the hog barn. I’m sure he wanted to scrape the aroma one way and I wanted to scrape it the other. Catching us in the arguing act, Dad would come over and say in a stern voice, “If you kids can’t get along out here, get in the house, and I’ll do it myself.” Let me back up: that was my severely diabetic dad. Worst assignment ever? Getting sent inside. While we did as we were told and went inside to our rooms, it wasn’t long before we were back outside with our crocodile tears, begging, “Dad, Dad, can we please come out and clean the barn?” Spectacular reverse psychology. Dad 1, dueling duo 0. By the time my younger brother, Ryan, was on the scene, I’d graduated to picking rocks, pulling weeds, and riding the straw- and hay-bale rack, where my special girly talent was stacking bales six high. Dad always did claim I knew what the working end of a pitchfork was.To my heavenly dad, hardworking mom, and two heartwarming brothers, thank you for your farming passion that remains today. It is your moral fiber, resilience, and work ethic that built me into the fighter I am. Know that I wouldn’t trade where I grew up, when I grew up, or how I grew up for the world.

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