Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sidelines

They pulled the ladder up to the side of the house. My brother-in-law was in charge. I sat with Meg in the grass watching and giggling. My nephew, Trevor, and my son, James, were eager to climb the ladder. We were waiting to see how these city kids were going to manage the work. It was one more task that Dad had assigned to the 'menfolk' of the family.

Each time the family gathered at the farm, we became part of the work crew. Mom wasn't too keen on her daughters getting in the way in the kitchen, but welcomed her granddaughters. Dad handed out chores to the boys sometimes shaking his head as they tackled their work on the farm.

I learned what work was on the farm. I learned that you didn't stand on the sidelines and watch. No, you were expected to take the initiative and dive right in. We grew up working. That's what you do on a farm.  I have no bad memories about the work. The camaraderie that I discovered working the fields with a crew made the work easier and most times fun. We gave our bodies, our sweat, our time to this working farm. We were all invested in the place we lived.

Whenever the family gathered on the farm from our varies other home states, the men pitched in helping wherever they could. The boys learned to listen to Grandpa and gave bits of themselves to the farm back the lane. Piece by piece the grandchildren learned to love the farm, perhaps because they were becoming part of it.

We learned lifetime lessons living on that black soil in Darke County, Ohio. We learned that if you stand on the sidelines, you might just miss the best parts of your life.

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