My hands are swollen, my shoulders are sore, my legs are bruised and scratched, and I have a blister on my thumb. The interesting thing about telling this to you via the written word is that I need to be quick in telling you that I am not complaining. I am excited and I am ready to come back to the farm-house in the country again.
This morning as I write this, I am drinking my coffee in the breakfast room of the house in the country my great granddaddy, Eason Tapley, built in 1958. My laptop sits (with no internet) on the table where my great grandma, Julia Tapley, laid out food until she died. I never knew her. I did know my great granddaddy’s second wife, Grandma Johnny. Her food was really good too.
On the mantel inside resides two 8×10 portraits – they are of my great-great grandparents. There are other pictures and relics throughout the house. It is by far more interesting that the cable television we do not have.
Outside the window, I can see the tree that held countless hidden Easter eggs and the remnants of the gravel that used to mark the drive way. There is a work shed where the outhouse used to be. Yes, we have always had indoor plumbing here. My grandmother will tell you she insisted on it – she was not potty training a child in the outhouse.
In the back yard is an old tool crib. It looks like it was built in the 50’s. It is the image you see in your mind when you hear the words “old country shed.” If you walk around the back, there is a brand new sitting porch. Walk through the door and the inside is a surprise restoration undetectable on the outside. Complete functionality with the preservation of history and character.
Walk through the thin wood line and you will find the leftovers of what the kids call “mini magic land.” This large field holds nothing but sunflowers. Every year, the sunflowers bloom and die to provide an attraction for the local fowl. In a few months, there will be a full field of hunters. They will once again provide for our feast and freezers.
Walk a little ways further and you will come to the pond and the clubhouse. A beautiful piece of earth it defies any words I can put on this paper.
Maintaining the house and the 10 acres of land it sits on has always been a task. That task has most recently been tended to by my parents. Our children have been too small to assist with these chores. Having them out here would have taken more work than our being here would have helped accomplish.
But now, as the kids are getting bigger, our family too can offer a helping hand. And now those hands have blisters the backs have a bit more evidence of working in the sun. But the smiles are big and the memories are forming. Confidence grows, lessons are learned, and time is spent together. I feel like I am teaching my children something. I know I am learning as well.