I’m sitting here thinking how lucky I am to be able to look out at such a peaceful sight every morning when I awake and every afternoon, as the sun sets in the west, I am again able to witness one of God’s gifts to man, a beautiful sunset.
Being one of mankind’s older and more experienced members, I sometimes fall into the foolish trap of thinking ahead. No amount of worry can change the future, but still. I began thinking what a crushing blow it will be, after ten (and hopefully many more to come) years of being allowed to begin every day with my view of the Rumsey Island Canal in all it’s beauty, when I will be forced by circumstances beyond my control to give it all up. But then I think how selfish that sounds and how many people, many times in their lives, have to relinquish their little spot on this earth for reasons more meaningful than mine.
Then I thought back to the first time I was given that kind of news and what that experience was like. We had ten acres of land, half of which was farm-able and half of that was what we actually worked. My father, having had that run in with mustard gas in France in WWI, was not always able to work the farm as hard as he would have liked. So, it was up to my mother and I. If my father wasn’t able to plow in the spring, a neighbor would do the parcel we intended to use that year.
Then in 1937, with the birth of the twins, and with greater access to food stores and prepared foods, we used less than an acre and the farm became more and more fallow. This went on for a couple of years and then, unbeknownst to my brother and I, a decision was made to sell the farm, move to a small piece of land and build a house close to school and church.
It was 1939, I was 9 years old and I remember the day like it was yesterday. When my mother told me, I burst into tears and ran to my favorite place, the barn. I hid in the hay for a while, then I opened the hay mow door on the second floor and sat down with my feet hanging over the edge. From there I had a view of the entire farm and I thought about all the fishing trips to the Big Gunpowder Falls and all the exploring my brother and I had done in the woods along its banks.
I thought of ways I could get out of leaving, like staying with the Dilworth Family who had bought the Miller Farm, where my mother was born. When I asked my parents about this, they just laughed. This was the same reaction I got when I talked about living with old Sammy Tubble, the hermit, who lived in the log cabin on Sweathouse Rd. I had even thought about running away that day, figuring if I wasn’t here I could get out of moving, but even my younger brother said that was stupid.
Time caught up with us and the farm was sold. Moving day came and I had decided I would wait a few years before I would leave. When the borrowed truck was loaded with all of our furniture and other belongings and everyone was ready to get on board, tears were flowing like water from everyone’s eyes. It made my heart feel better to think that everyone felt the same about leaving our ten acres by the river.
After a few years at the new house, with the new woods to explore, the new neighbors to play with and also many new friends, my thoughts of leaving diminished. About a year after that I had made another new friend and before I knew it, I was carving her initials in a very large beech tree behind the house. I was combing my hair more often, wore clean socks every day and it seemed the laugh was on me.
A lesson to us all, young and old, change is something that is as real as life.. When the time comes for it, accept it, embrace it, it may be the best times in your life to come.
Don LangrehrAre you receiving your free digital subscription to The Zone Magazine? If not, click here!