Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Farm Friends

They are the last of only a few, the tail end of a generation of country folk from hereabouts. They are the keepers of some important things that will soon be lost. In them resides old ideas about hay fields, about where to look for goldenseal near the spring branch, about how to think about things on the porch in the evening when you are tired. So many things.

These are our friends, the last two of a family. They never left home. They never married. They know everything about the farm that they have never left; about a clapboard farm house they have returned to from the fields for all of their lives. There they cared for beloved parents until time took them. Then there were three siblings, two brothers and a sister.

Now there are only two. They are now in their eighties and time is gnawing on them. The years are reducing them, pulling away competences and possibilities with increasing swiftness. They seem to accept this. They have seen it before.

They have animals still: cattle, chickens, guineas, dogs, cats. And they have lambs, and it is well known that grandchildren need to see lambs. So off we went on a Sunday afternoon, kids, parents, and grandparents, to see the pretty lambs and see the farm and visit with our friends.

Oh, the kids had a great time, and our friends got to be near some children, something that has become less frequent for them. And it was a sunny day and we all got along wonderfully and spoke repeatedly about how we don’t see each other often enough and how we are going to start doing thing differently. And the billy goat climbed up high and inspected the children and the lambs scurried about in the barn lot. And there were eggs gathered from the chicken house.

And then we left. We drove down the lane, across the ford of the small creek bed below the farmhouse. And off we went back into a reality that was more contemporary. I think they enjoyed our visit. I know we did. And, looking back on that day at their farm, the thought strikes me that it will not be long until we could be the end of a generation of folks from hereabouts. And how will people think about us.
From the hills, The Hired Man & Missus


  1. That was really touching. And a good wake up call to go visit my 92 year old aunt in south St. Louis before it's too late.

  2. It happens so quickly; you just turn around and they are gone. All you can do is wish them back, yearn for the lessons they could have taught.

  3. We did have a wonderful time didn't we?

  4. "Well, Clarice - have the lambs stopped screaming?"

    Sorry, I couldn't resisit.

    My 86 year old father is part of the "knowledge pool" that will be going away soon. I have little of his understanding of how things work. My survival didn't depend on it.


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Please enlighten me. The Hired Man