My husband and I live with his mother in an old farmhouse with parts dating back to 1842. Except for the window lined porch that faces west, the house is structurally the way it was 100 years ago when the third generation of the Hunter family lived here. Their ancestors were a Scottish Presbyterian family who cleared this portion of Depreciation Lands.
Often my thoughts go to life as it may have been stretched out over a nearly 200 year history when the family sustained themselves with their labors in the fields and there were horses in the barn. Now the horses are gone. The farm is in transition. Our work of the day includes for me, the care giving for my mother-in-law, Lois—almost 90—and the patients my husband “sees” on a computer in his office that was at one time our dining room and in generations past, a kitchen. The beauty of the evolving nature is one constant. We especially enjoy our summer evenings.
On one of the first warm nights this year we sat together on the back deck after mom was in bed, I grieved the loss of the horses and a pasture plowed under by Farmer Beahm, who will soon plant field corn. The sun was heading for its sweet spot between the tree-lined hills as clouds gathered bits of gray.
I remembered an evening nearly 35 years ago on May 31, 1985, the evening a 25-mile long twister took out the trees of that hill and my mother and father-in-law, along with our three-year-old son, hit the basement. I think they wanted a room with windows to better see a storm a coming in addition to daily witnessing the beauty of nature.
On this May evening—one of the first ones a coat and blanket not needed—another storm was brewing. It was May 12, just before the world began opening up to our “new normal” and all of the unknowns this will bring. Then in the skies, a real storm collected clouds and we were fascinated as we watched where the sun would soon disappear in the West. Rick had a Scotch in his hand. I had my camera.
The beauty of the moment mesmerized us and we didn’t heed the warnings of the winds. Our eyes were on the skies, when rain pelted us. For the moment we laughed through the winds, making sure my camera was safe and Rick anchored down the furniture we had to evacuate.
I thought of the storms of the past and the ones that are brewing and a word came to my mind about life on the farm. Resilience. Crops fail. You replant. Animals that sustain you will die. It’s not a moment to moment feeling. It’s a joy that doesn’t depend upon what is happening to you. It’s about being grateful for every moment in every time.
Life goes on and it’s always day by day. Farmers look for their rewards at the end of the day.
Ruth – you and I reconnected as Army wives in Fort Knox, KY in 1986 after we both moved there from Germany, where we first met. You taught me the art of smocking and we spent a lot of time together stitching beautiful outfits for our little girls. Then we decided to make it a “cottage industry” and created our business Handsmocked in Kentucky. We took special orders and sold our work in the Kentucky Arts Council In Louisville … where we attracted the attention of Phyllis George (then wife of the Governor of Kentucky!) .
We had such fun and dreams with our little business, and then all of a sudden we were invited to Phyllis George’s home as a vendor for her Kentucky Derby celebration which featured Kentucky based artists! What an adventure ….
33 years later I still have a lot of memories and a wardrobe of smocked dresses to hand down to some special little girl.
My memory of Phyllis George was a gracious, giving woman who cared deeply about Kentucky artisans. (And she wrote us a check for a handsmocked dress for her daughter.)
Joanne was able to go into her boxes of photos which are all labeled and put her hands on these photos.
Joanne in front of mansion
Ruth in front of mansion
Our shared booth- Joanne
In the booth- Ruth
Joanne even put her hands on our little brochure. Her sister did the artwork.
May Blossoms and Snow video captured in Ohio by Terry Sherry. She texted this afternoon and I asked if I could post her capture of the snow falling.
It’s quick but she documented the unexpected May weather. Thanks Terry. I heard it snowed in places in Pittsburgh too but I didn’t see it. She told me there was a duck in the pond but we can’t see him. Brrrrrrrrrrrr.