The Bittersweet

Today was the last day of prep for the sale. My friend Jan arrived from the mountains ready to work and boy did we need her. Although my mother and I, along with the army of helpers, have been diligently working away every time we turned around we found something else, a drawer of kitchen utensils, a closet full of linens, a cabinet filled will serving pieces. It seemed like we would never be done with all the prep work.

My mother, a life long collector, has been a trooper about parting with many treasures. It helps that she got to chose only the things she really loved to take to her new house, but the fact that they are still packed into boxes means she doesn’t feel comfortable in the new space yet.

By late afternoon we called it a day. I took Jan up to my Aunt Janie Leigh’s who lives next door in my Grand Parents old house. Jan is staying in their little guest house, the house where my great grandfather was born. She was getting settled after we had dumped a bunch of trash in the dumpster my father had hired.

I went back to my parent’s old house and cleaned up to go to dinner and as I was walking out the side porch I noticed a rouge bag of trash that need to go to the dumpster. I threw it in the back of my car and drove over to my office barn, when the dumpster is parked. After I tossed the bag in I looked out over one of the many ponds my father has built on the farm. It was the golden hour where the sun was just dipping to the tree line and the light glistened on the ripples of the water.

I have been so busy working, cleaning out and setting up I had not taken in the fact that these are the last few days on the farm for me and my family. My Aunt will still have her house at the front of the farm, but the back, with the rolling hills, gurgling creeks, and beautiful trees belongs to someone else.

I have sixty years of memories of this place. My grandmother driving my sister Margaret and I down to pumpkin creek in her turquoise Covair so we could play in the cool water on a hot summer day. Or the many farm parties I had with my Washington or Dickinson friends. I remember one farm party when Grace Farley was out eight. We had gone fishing and swimming and the kids put on plays for us. Grace turned to her Mother and asked, “Do you think Dana will invite us back for another farm party?” The answer was always, “of course.”

I so wish we had one more farm party.

One of my very favorite memories here is of Carter learning to ride her bike. With the long private paved road it was safe to take off her training wheels and run along side of her holding the seat. When I let go of the five year old Carter and she peddled up the lane all by herself I knew it was the beginning of her independence.

But things must change. The farm is too big for my aging parents to take care of. It is too much for us to take care of, even if won the lottery. So I lookout over the setting sun and am taking it in one last time. The farm will always be in my heart. So many happy memories, but like watching Carter ride away from me, they are bitter sweet. You want to hold on to the old, but you have to let go and move on to the next chapter.

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