There are some places in life that just bring you comfort. They put a smile on your face and a peace in your heart. When you are in that place, nothing else matters. Problems and worries and concerns take a back seat.
One of my places is my grandmother's farm.
The farm has been in our family for a long time. The farm belonged to Mama Jean's parents, my mom's grandparents. And once Mama Jean and Papa were married, Papa started farming the farm. These days a local farmer rents several of the fields.For me, the farm is so much more than just fields of farm land.
It's my happy place. My quiet place. My thinking place. My forget-everything-else place. It represents hard work and love and family.
When my brothers and I were younger my parents would take us out to the farm on Saturdays or lazy Sundays. We would stop at a nearby convenience store, each get a Coca-Cola and a bag of boiled peanuts and spend the afternoon running and playing and digging in the dirt.
I have vivid memories of riding in the back of my grandaddy's combine that was loaded with soybeans.
There's a barn out there, the only one left standing now, and it was my Papa's workshop. Even now, almost twenty-four years after his death, I can still "see" him in that workshop. I can hear his voice and I can vividly see him take his hankerchief from his pocket and wipe the sweat from his face.
We've all been hunting at the farm.
My daddy took me as a child. Quite the experience. Or actually it really wasn't. We sat on the ground, we saw nothing, and I sprayed every little bug that flew by with the green can of bug spray. My dad swore he would never take me back and I swore I would never go again. Neither one of us kept our word.
Whenever my daddy took my brothers they got to sit in actual deer stands and shoot actual guns. Not only did my daddy take all of us, but he would take his dad and his brothers and their families.
Not only can I "see" and feel my Papa out there, but also my Popppadaddy, my dad's dad. When we are walking around the barn area I am instantly reminded of times with him. I can see him walking around, hands in his pocket, smile on his face. When I see certain deer stands he immediately crosses my mind. He would always go hunting with my daddy and brothers, but he rarely actually did any hunting. He would sit in his deer stand, breathe in the farm and read Open Windows.
So while the farm might technically belong to my mom's side of the family, it was an important place for my entire family. All of us. I don't think there's one family member, on either side, that doesn't have a special memory about the farm.
Some of my most favorite childhood memories are days out at the farm with all of my uncles, aunts and cousins.
When Travis and I started dating, seventeen years ago, he too, was introduced to the farm. And like the rest of us, it was instant love.
These days we watch a new generation run like crazy and dig in the dirt. And I must say, much like their parents, Morgan Kate and Hunter are smitten with the farm.
It's not only "my place", but I think it's my daddy's place as well. He's always loved going out there, but since his cancer diagnosis, the trips have been more frequent. For all of us. And I get it.
What better way to deal with a difficult situation, than to spend time in a place where you can feel family members - past and present, you can breathe in fresh air, you can do the things you enjoy the most and you can just get away. It's quiet. It's peaceful. It's comforting.
Hunting has sort of taken a back seat and nowadays we ride four wheelers, shoot each other's guns and rummage through old, old houses that are tucked away deep in the woods.
Most recently, we've even been camping at the farm.
Last weekend we all packed our warmest gear and headed out to the farm for a day of fun and a night of surviving the cold.
Saturday was spent cooking and laughing. Riding four wheelers and shooting guns. Watching Hunter and Morgan Kate play in a hole. Standing by the fire and sharing in conversation.
We grilled hot dogs for dinner and attempted, twice, to make chicken bog. Dessert consisted of roasted marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate.
We all slept in our own tents, nestled in our sleeping bags. Hunter wasn't quite sure about the tents and he had to go with Kyle back to my parent's house, but the rest of us, including MK, stayed and survived. It was such a great trip. A trip I will not forget. A trip to add to the memory bank of good times.
I'm so thankful to have this place. This place that fills my heart and calms my soul.
|Owens and I at the farm back in the mid 80s.|