We went home for memorial day weekend; it was very nice to be at the beach in the sun and to swim in salt water albeit a bit chilly.
My youngest brother (I’m the oldest of six) graduated from high school. It was really good to see family. I adore my four brothers and one sister. They are all so smart and so completely different. Inevitably stories start of how we used to pick on each other when we were growing up; of course the stories get better each time they’re told. My mother always shakes her head and says she never knew these things!
Growing up in a big family had its fair share of challenges; I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Most of us were born in North Carolina with the exception of the baby – he can say he’s a native Pensacolian!
We grew up on an hundred acre farm in a small house. The farm belonged to three sisters who rented most of it out to people in the community who could put it to good use. It had been a former tobacco farm and the soil was mostly useless. It had also been part of the underground railroad in the Civil War. There was a story about how the homestead had made a stand against the confederate soldiers. When they came through the men on the farm were ready with their shotguns and wouldn’t let them pass on the land resulting in a small scuffle with the farmer getting his ear shot off.
I have yet to determine if this story is true…
In the middle of writing this Sunday I decided to take a field trip to the old farm on a whim with nothing better to do after finding out it was only about an hour away. It was a really nice drive. All the trees are green and the air is nice thanks to the recent rains we’ve had. I found a few roadside stands and bought fresh fruit and vegetables. I’ve been in a real funk lately and have needed inspiration or something!
Going back was interesting as I remembered certain things driving along the road. The husband (Vernon) of one of the sisters who owned the farm took care of it – mowing and gardening and the general upkeep. I used to help him or rather follow him around…. I wasn’t sure what had happened to him – if he was alive etc… I called one of my brothers to tell him what I was doing and he said to be careful not to get shot… I laughed. It wasn’t hunting season that I knew of. So lo and behold (I’ve always wanted to use that now and again), after walking around a while and taking a few shots I heard a tractor and here was Vernon putting it into the barn. I started walking over and waited for a minute in disbelief. Introduced myself and sure enough he remembered my family and said “welcome home.” He is the sweetest old man you have ever encountered, invited me into his huge log cabin overlooking the lake, introduced me to his lady friend who is “just a friend” and fixed a bowl of homemade vanilla ice cream for us to eat while we caught up. And on top of all this to be Fathers Day. This was a perfect afternoon indeed.