Tuesday, April 28, 2009

the Farm

Mom called this morning and asked me to come and visit. Well, I hadn't seen my dad for 9days and in that time he's really started to look like crap. Between the cancer and the chemo he's really suffering, although he doesn't complain. And he positively doesn't want any of us crying around him. It's all that German stoicism he's been working on for 70 years. He's only half German, but the Germans raised him so the nurturing he received undoubtably effected his nature. Something. Maybe.
Now they've decided to sell their house. The house was built in 1882, two years after the barn was built, and my great grandparents bought it in 1918, when my grandmother was 4yrs old. It was a typical farm, around 180 acres, cows, chickens, crops all worked with the aid of draft horses. No one has farmed it since my great grandfather retired from farming in the 50s, and most of the land has been sold off over the years. On May 31, 1985 a tornado took out the barn and silo. In 1997 my oldest brother and his wife converted the remaining horse barn into their house. What remains of the original farm is the house and a summer kitchen situated on seven acres.
I don't know what was more depressing today. Seeing dad look so ashen or thinking of the 'farm' being sold. I've been going there my whole life. My parents built the house I grew up in a hayfield away. Every Sunday we went to the farm for dinner. When my great grandparents got old and frail my grandparents moved in to take care of them. Then when the grandparents got old and frail my parents moved in to take care of them. Ah well...
There was a pole (before the aforementioned tornado) with a mercury light atop it in the middle of the yard and so many summer nights we sat out on the patio watching the bats gobble up the bugs drawn to the light, Grandpa Herbie telling us stories about the Depression, Grandma Helen telling us about the year she got an orange and a nickel for Christmas. Life.


drollgirl said...

oh, this is so sad. i hope your dad responds well to treatment. and maybe you could buy the place? i am sure that is impractical or you would have mentioned it. wish i could help.

last year i lost 3 grandparents and all of their stuff and property was sold off. very sad. it just sucks, for lack of a more graceful term.

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

I couldn't live that close to my brother, plus it's too far from MK's work. Back when I was still married we built a house across the hollow, and when I got divorced and sold everything off I let go of my connection to that land then.
Now my parents are just...sad. It's hard to be around them, but they need us all, so...you know, we go. Still, thanks for your thoughts, Droll. It's all so tough, as you know, when the past dies off and gets sold piecemeal.

TheWeyrd1 said...

An orange and a nickle. And a walnut... My mom's story was that the orange was in the toe of the Christmas stocking and the walnut in the heel. So sorry about your dad, I went through that 2 years ago with my dad. I'm with drollgirl on buying the farm...er...what's left of it anyway.