Follow @EllenGrabe Grabe's Gatherings: The Farm

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Farm

April marks 8 years since cancer took away the man that started our family.  My grandpa was diagnosed with lung cancer when I was a sophomore in college.  Just a few short months later the battle was too strong for him to continue fighting and he decided to watch over his family from heaven. 

I recently took a jog out on a gravel road in the country.  During my jog I was taken back to the days spent on my grandpa and grandma's farm.  It seemed like a magical place, full of barns to explore, fields to wander, and cows to feed.  As a jogged, I smiled at some of the memories I had of the farm.

The machine shed stood in a arch over the farm.  The sun would shine down on the metal of the shed causing us to squint as we kicked our balls up against it.  Inside the shed were bright green tractors with wheels that towered over my cousins and I. We would climb into the tractors and beg our grandpa to take us for a ride.  They moved slow down the long gravel driveway but when you're in a tractor on the lap of a great man, the slower time moves, the better.

The old pig barn was where my grandpa and grandma would do their wood work.  In that barn they created numerous quilt racks to hold the beautiful quilts my grandma sewed for each of us as our high school graduation gift.  They made Easter decorations, Christmas ornaments, and so much more.  That barn was a place where talent came out.  When entering through the door the smell the wood greeted you and saw dust always blanketed the cement floor. 
Before the cows were gone my favorite memory was going out to feed them.  I had no fear as I stuck my long stems of grass through the fence and let them munch it gone.  Never was I afraid when I would watch my step as I made my way through the cow pasture to our favorite climbing tree.  It's branches reached high in every direction making room right in the center for us to sit, stand, and pose for pictures.  The famous tree was taken from us by high winds one summer but the memories and pictures still remain.

One summer my cousin and I rode with our grandpa down the gravel road to the neighboring farm.  Grandpa talked with the farmer about crops and weather and as he talked our boredom grew.  We could see our grandpa's farm across the bean field and we asked grandpa if we could cut through the bean field and try to beat him back home.  With a confident smile on his face he agreed to let us go, shoeless and all.  We made our way through the field, hopping over the rows of beans with cornstalks from the year before poking our bare feet.  We giggled, laughed, and winced as we felt the dirt sink between our toes.  As we neared the farm we could see grandpa's truck rolling down the gravel road with a cloud of dust chasing behind.  We made it back to the farm with a few scrapes, black feet, and a sense of pride.  Grandpa was there to greet us with a smile on his face that said, "I beat you!".  He gave us buckets of water to soak our feet in before letting us back in the house.

In the basement was a pool table.  With every step down you could smell the must more and more. This is where the older cousins would hang out during gatherings.  Music, pool, and shelves full of pop made the basement a great place to be. 

Inside the house I can remember the wall in the hallway full of pictures of my grandparents 10 children, their grandchildren and their great grandchildren. It was fun to stare in search for pictures that you hadn't found on there before.  The bulletin board showed our family as it grew through the years.

Christmas was always crowded in the house but also a very blessed time.  During gift opening we would all line up in two lines facing each other.  There were so many of it that the line started in the kitchen and went all the way down to the living room.  We would take turns discovering our newest treasures and as the adults did the gift exchange the kids would run off to play.  At night bedrooms were full and sleeping bags were rolled out in the living room and dining room.  There was a lot of giggling, tricks, and trips out of their bedroom by grandpa and grandpa to tell us to be quiet. 

These are only a few of the memories I have from the years spent on the farm.  It is a place that I will always hold close in my heart, as I know many of my cousins will too.  I know that my grandpa continues to look down on us all and smiles with pride at the family he and grandma created.  As he often stated, "he would never have a million dollars but he had a family worth a million."

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