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|Memories of my Grandfather|
My grandfather did not inherit the family farm as he'd hoped.So he purchased his own 260 acres in 1980 .There was a farmhouse there ,but after having grown up poor in the hills of North Carolina his wife balked at the idea of returning to the country .So grandpa lived in town with his wife and kids and would drive out to the farm everyday to run his dairy operation.He had his family farm and wanted it to stay a family farm after he passed.At one point his will even read that his three kids could only sell their shares to eachother,and at ten cents on the dollar. I have fond memories of visiting the farm with my grandparents. Grandpa would let me steer his big orange tractor sitting on his knee, and I even drove the little Kubota myself.There was a Jersey heifer named Grandma Cow (I insisted on naming several)so gentle I could ride on her back.Sometimes Granny and I would bring cookies and soda to Grandpa late at night if he stayed for a calfs birth.I remember my fascination with the pink seed corn and that the Jerseys wore plastic earrings with their number.Grandpa was disappointed when i didnt want to milk Blossom by hand at first,but he was patient. Grandpa wasn't known for his patience or affectionate nature,he was a shrewd buisness man who forclosed on his own son and took no nonsense from anyone.I've been told he never hugged my mother.But grandpa and I had an understanding at that age,when i was small.He could be kind and loving to me and I wouldn't tell,and if I drank one of his Mountain Des and ate a cookie for dinner he wouldn't tell either. He stopped the dairy operation when I was in my teens and rented the land and barn.I had become a poor student and a teenage,unwed mother.He had lost his warmth toward me,but never said anything against me.I felt his dissapointment everytime I saw him,which wasn't often anymore.My parents divorced and things just changed.When I got my G.E.D after my baby was born,Grandpa offered to pay for my college.I never made it. Many years later,I am a housewife with three children,a loving husband and our own contracting company.My last contact with my grandfather he had me remodeling a home he was to sell me.The evening of the day i dug the footings,he'd called me in a rage.He said I'd. ruined his yard and stolen his furniture.Grandpa had gotten Alzheimer's. The next day, my mother went to speak with him.He told her I was laying landmines as he pointed out the rebar in the footings.He'd been a home builder and realestate broker for years,and couldn't recognize the new footings for what they were.And he couldnt remember me.I never visited again,I was afraid.A coward is what I was,and I will regret it for the rest of my life. Eight years have passed since that incident,and now granpa has passed away.His children don't gey along well,and so I volunteered to settle his estate.When I drove up to the farm ,my heart sunk to my feet.The farm was in a terrible state of neglect.Save the cropland that had been well tended by tenants,the farm looked abandoned. Grandpas Cat D6 I'd seen him dig so many basements with sat with two other machines in rusted heaps ,nearly hidden entirely by weeds.The roodcaps were missing from the barn and the entire structure was rusted and riddled with holes.Inside the barn,people had been dumping trash for years and it was five feet deep in some spots.I'm not sure which was worse,the smell pf mold amd decay,the sight of the neglect or the silence. My son,the baby Id had as a teen ,was now 16.He was fussing over a big orange tractor with three flat tires.It said 'Allis Chalmers 175' on the side.So I suppose that's why grandpa called it Alice ! My son could do wonders with lawnmowers and small engine,but I was sure the AC was out of his ability to repair.My husband grabbed a toolbag amd joined my son.I wandered off,and found the remains of the little Kubota.It was not much more than a frame,identifiable only by its crumpled hood on the floor.I visited the abandoned milk parlor with its mold amd peeling paint.I toured the offices and restrooms where vandals had thrown grandpas paperwork everywhere and broken the fixtures.Furniture was piled taller than me and everything was covered in cat and raccoon feces.I didn't see how I'd ever clean it up.I remembered it as it had been,with its shining white and mint walls and organized files.Then I wandered back toward the open stall area. I heard a sizzeling and a rumble.Much commotion from the boys.And there they were,my husband in Alice's seat,and my son pokeing a screwdriver into the side.I'd never believed it if I hadnt seen it with my own eyes,but she started.After twenty years ,like it had been twenty minutes. And so now we pick ourselfs up and get to work.My son also repaired the bush hog and my husband will begin on the roof.We'll clean up the yard and haul out the trash.And as I do,I find that grandpa saved my childhood toys all these years.Carefully packed in boxes and tarped under the trash people duped in the office over the years.His children have offered to let my family live at and manage the farm.Maybe I will finally go to college and become a broker,like grandpa.I hope he's somewhere watching,and I hope he is proud.
meowmix, IA, entered 2014-07-01
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