Thursday, October 26, 2006

Love is a home

The farm
Originally uploaded by jesslee23.
It was the home that my grandfather was raised in. It was the home that my mother was raised in, along with her 7 brothers and sisters. The front lawn boasted a giant tree where my dad proposed to my mom. It was built by my great-grandfather and kept so many secrets.

Every Christmas we would make the 1000 mile drive to South Dakota. We would usually get to the farm after dark. Driving down the dirt roads, through the corn fields, the smell of dust so thick in my throat. I was so excited to get there. We would walk in through the kitchen, where my Grandma would always be. My Gummy, so happy to see us. The house would be full of smells from her baking. And the front porch full of the fruits of her labor. She made Christmas wreaths out of Corn Flakes, marshmallows, butter, food coloring and red hots. My cousins and I would sneak out onto the porch to steal a few. What I recently found out is that she always made way more than she needed just for that reason.

The family would gather around the big piano in the dining room. My Aunt Gwen would being to play and we would all sing. Silent night, Holy night, all is calm, all is bright... We would instinctually split into harmonies. It was such a beautiful sound. Overwhelming.

I would wake up in my mother's childhood bedroom. Comb my hair in front of her mirror. Imagine what it was like for her when she was my age. I wanted to badly to impress my relatives. I was the girl from Montana that they really barely new and I wanted them to think I was special. My Gummy and Papa were so good to show all the grandkids how much they meant to them. That wasn't easy since there are 30 of us.

Taking walks in the snow, being pulled on a sled behind the snowmobiles, this house and it's land were everything. They were my grounding point. The spot where I would dream about when things got tough. When my parents divorced, I cried under "their" tree. And when my dad died in 2005, a picture of that tree was the start to his photo slide show.

The farm was sold a few years ago. But the memories live on. And whenever I go to South Dakota, that is the first drive I take. I take my children down the dirt roads, through the corn fields. I walk with them to the bridge and I sit with them under the tree. I pass along my memories of this house, this home. My central spot.

Happy Love Thursday.

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Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous house and such lovely memories.

30!!! Wow...

DD said...

Those are some wonderful bittersweet memories. It's too bad the farm is no longer in the family, but it looks like someone treats it with just as much love.