FOR AUNT LOIS [and Don]

There’s a large old farmhouse.  The paint is worn away in places on the wood siding, other places it peels.  The windows, both upstairs and down, haven’t been washed in a real long time. The open porch has a washtub on the wall and some of the porch floor cracks are much bigger than cracks after all.  It’s surrounded by a grass yard of rolls and dips, with scattered  beds of  flowers on their last leg of blooms to seeds. There’s a weathered gray chicken house over there. In that corner is an open shed that ends the gravel drive where the car gets parked inside. The truck can park outside.  There’s a garden shed and a root cellar with a scattering of canning jars and an old kettle on the broken and crusty shelves. The steps down to the cellar grow up in random grass clumps.  There’s a fuel tank on its frame legs.  A  pump handle stands over an old concrete well platform. You can remember the taste of the cold cold water. Some scrap metal sits in a pile mixed with a cluster of old bricks.

All this life is surrounded on three sides by fields of tall corn, tassels dark and ears full, as the color drains and the testing commences. You peel back the shuck; are the ears full? Are there two to a stalk? Does it feel too wet? Is there rain in the forecast? Did we have a good breeze today?

Good looking ears make it to the house.  Three steps up to the porch, open the screen door and never notice the familiar hinges creeking. The chore boots aren’t noticed like the sweater and jacket on pegs aren’t noticed, but the aroma of supper amid a lazy movement of air from the fan in the open window draws you into the kitchen, corn in hand, to pause together and consider what’s to come at harvest.

Hands are scrubbed, food is dished, the blessing said and the meal commenced. The day is winding down, nowhere near done, till the clearing and washing  and drying  are finished, but getting there.

This only sounds familiar, achingly familiar, to a farm generation who have become orphaned with the loss of their final parent, either the matriarch or patriarch who has been keeping things as usual, as possible.

We long to know it all again and know that the longing is for something that would never be the same.  We have to know  it and learn it and grow with it so that it becomes a part of our soul,  a part of our being.  We might long to know it all again, but we do…..know it as well as we ever can….now….today…..for always. We can’t teach it or pass it on or tell of it enough to reach another soul.  It’s lonely because we each hold this picture differently.  It’s  a comfort like nothing else that will ever comfort us.  It  is reaching  into our hearts and holding  a living  whisper of eternity.

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