I am the first to admit, I’ve had a blessed life. Sure, I’ve experienced disappointment and frustration, but I’ve managed to avoid the type of sorrow that leaves an ache in your heart.
I’ve mentioned before about the special connection The Big Guy and I have with The Farm. We’ve put The Farm in the middle of our world, from being the first place we took our children to after we brought them home from the hospital, to taking the liberty of enjoying the view, history and even equipment. It is where we met and we had dreams of one day making it our home. This was not to be.
Saturday was the auction. Generations of possessions were sold to the highest bidder. There was an erryness to the exercise, watching bobsleds and snowshoes being snapped up by strangers who would no doubt dust them off and mount them in their own homes, or God Forbid, in a restaurant somewhere. Claiming this family’s history as their own – it seems so false.
For me, already tightly wound emotionally and apprehensive for my three “boys”, it seemed the comments made by some strangers were too painful to bear.
“What are you looking for Fred?”
“Nothin’, I just had to come and check this out. This is history you know. It’s a Century Farm. Can you believe that? The family is just letting it go?”
I grit my teeth and keep walking.
“Look at that house, it’s something else. I can’t imagine letting something like that fall out of the family.”
But the worst were the most pointed comments. One directed right at me.
“Hey, Sarah! Why didn’t you and The Big Guy buy The Farm?”
The urge to become physical was difficult to overcome. I must confess – I was not classy about my response, but suffice it to say I cleared the air regarding the fact. Sometimes pain cannot be contained. It surfaced once again later in the day, as First Born Son did us proud and was hoisting his family’s artifacts for bidding. A couple beside me began a conversation about the boy in the green shirt.
“Look at him, isn’t that sad?” said the First Ignorant Person.
“Who? The kid with the green shirt?” said the Second Ignorant Person.
FIP – “Yes, look at him up there, you can just tell he loves being here.”
SIP – “Umhum.” (In agreement)
FIP – “It’s too bad he’ll never be able to have this place. Can’t imagine.”
Yup, I snapped.
Pissed off Mother – “Are you talking about the kid with the green shirt?”
FIP – startled “Uh, yes…”
POM – “Well that’s my son – and I can tell you, we had NO say in the future of the farm.”
The look on my face, and the tone of my voice, shut the conversation down.
My pride of FBS was matched by that for Second Born Son. While he was given the boring and then frantic job of directing traffic, he was then appointed the task of running bid sheets from the auction site back to the trailer where the clerk would reconcile the amounts bid against the funds paid. He did such a good job that the man who was recording the bids and giving them to SBS said in all the auctions he’s done, he’s never had such a young man do such a good job. He even made a point of stopping before he left to compliment The Big Guy and myself. We had every reason to feel proud.
That pride resurged when Uncle B gave FBS the keys to the Massey Ferguson and the John Deere. The auctioneer needed each tractor started to demonstrate that they were in sound shape. FBS was the last member of our family to start those tractors. When the auction ended and the new owners were claiming their purchases, FBS stood by the tractors, helping them with small details and then standing forlornly as each one drove away. The sight of him standing there, watching those tractors leave will haunt me, such was the expression on his face.
I have taken well over 1000 photos of the farm to document a place that has a special place in our hearts. I want to have something for us to look at later, and perhaps show future generations. Mostly, I don’t want the boys memories to dim.
Because we didn’t want to leave that day – afraid of what leaving would mean, I asked Second Born Son if he wanted to take some more pictures of his favorite place, the hay mow. Many adventures have been lived in this mow. It’s the place SBS asks to go to every time we are at The Farm. Now most of the bales are gone, but a handful remained, and with the sun sinking lower in the Western sky, it was a perfect opportunity to shoot something special that would mean something to him.
And while I hope this photo brings him joy, I can’t help but feel The Ache getting even stronger.
This post is going live early May 2, 2011. The Farm will officially be sold today.