Monday, December 27, 2010

"They're Home Hugs"

The time had come. We all knew when we got there that the leaving would come in a few day. The leaving was the hardest. Each time we returned we knew it would be a long time until we were all together again. Yes, the leaving was the hardest.

One thing I remember most about my parents are those 'they're home' and 'don't go' hugs. Both of my farm parents knew how to hug. They also knew how to miss their children. The little ones would be bigger on the next visit. They would be wary of their grandparents the next time we walked in the door ready for that 'they're home' hug. On leaving, we all knew there would be tears and a hurting that would last for days. A missing that would never go away.

Leaving the farm after a visit was not just about leaving our parents. No, it was about leaving this land that nurtured us and babysat us in our growing up years. The farm was our activity, our adventure, our other member of the family. Driving away stretched the roots of love that held us to the land.

Growing up in a farm family is one of the greatest gifts a child can be given. The work was part of life. The struggles were shared with dedication and pride. Never was there a dull moment. Never was there a wealth. We learned to use our imagination and curiosity. Nature was our teacher and family was the core of our daily existence. Our church was a family who took care one another. Our neighbors were our extended family that loved us unconditionally. Growing up on a farm was a lesson is compassion, survival, dedication and love.

No longer do I drive up the lane knowing that those wonderful hugs will be waiting for me. But the life I grew up knowing in Darke County has followed me throughout my sixty-three years. The hugs are still in my heart at the end of the holiday season. The drive away from the farm still lingers. The friends and family, the neighbors and cousins fifteen times removed are still with me.

The tinsel goes back into the box. The tree sits at the curb waiting for a boy scout to gather it up. Christmas cards are read once more. Now I give the warm hugs to my family and friends. I savor the stories from the farm and share them with my granddaughters.

You know, a farm girl never really leaves the farm. No, there are no good-byes, only a once-farm-girl now a farm woman living in the burbs in Oregon.

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