INTRODUCING THE REPPERTS by Kay
Shortly after we Bascoms had met the Swiharts and had decided to build on the property, Dr. Jay and Sue Reppert, with baby Leta, three-year-old Sarah, and five-year-old Ketty came to Manhattan from working among Native Americans in Oklahoma. After a stint in Nigeria, they had returned in 1985 to settle on 20 acres of the Swihart farm. They were settling on the east side of the road while we Bascoms were building our log home on the west side of Kitten Creek Road. The Repperts brought in a trailer home, and made PLANTING their top priority. We were amazed to see their homestead soon burgeoning with gardens, orchards, berry bushes, trees, geese, chickens, cattle, and more. Eventually they built a two-story home and had two more children. The three girls bonded with the Swihart’s daughter Sarah, and with the Bascom’s Grandmother Claire. The Swihart farm was becoming a community!
Although a doctor, Jay’s first love seems to be farming. He looks distinguished on duty at the Medical Center, but never as happy as when he’s roaring around his fields on his old tractor, his bearded face smiling under a battered old hat, or bundled up astride his snow plow, clearing a neighbor’s lane. Jay and Sue were “green” long before the term was codified. Hidden in the trees way off the road, they home-taught five children through high school – but not just the 3 R’s. Those kids learned how to plant, weed, harvest, can/freeze, fish, trap, cut firewood, butcher cattle/chickens/ducks, and more. They used to pick the strawberry patch by 7 AM! By the time they were teenagers, they knew more about many things than most adults. During the Y2K scare in 2000, my husband quipped, “If everything crashes, we’ll just go to the Repperts!”
Quiet Sue has been manning the educational process alongside Jay’s outdoor agenda. She directed a very successful home school program with all the graduates racking up solid scholastic achievement in adulthood. Most of them have served months or years abroad – in Pakistan, Poland, Guatemala, and Bolivia. Meanwhile, father Jay has worked abroad, too, supervising Physician Assistant student practicums. In later years, Sue’s kindly outreach has stretched from helping neighbors with chores to substantial ministry with International women. Many a K State International student or foreign family has found acceptance and warmth at the Reppert dinner table or Fourth of July picnic. By now, this family’s influence and locations have spread far and wide from the little farm on Kitten Creek.
My daily walk, hopefully, is from our house across Kitten Creek Road, to the Reppert’s low bridge-crossing of Kitten Creek. The stream floods, occasionally, rising above the concrete-covered culvert, leaving mud and logs behind. I keep an old lawn chair there, for rest and meditation. It’s one of my favorite spots on earth. There I think of “living water,” watch the seasons change, smile back at the wildflowers, hear the birdcalls, smell the clover, feel the wind, say hello to the munching cattle, and thank God for His wonderful creation.
I remember when Mike Reppert was 17, and patiently hosted our 12 year old grandson from the city (stripped of all junk food) one weekend on the creek, an indelible lesson on “living off the land.”
I remember past occasions at the creek – baby squirrels peeking out of a knothole in the sycamore overhead, nature study trips, picnics, camp outs, a Taslich service – throwing stones in the creek as a Wellspring group was interacting with the Rosh Hashanah Feast of Israel.
I pray with deep appreciation for the families on Kitten Creek. Life has its sorrows, but I sigh and am reminded again that on Kitten Creek, “our lines have fallen in pleasant places” – a line from Psalm 16:6.