Sunday, August 26, 2018

Whispering fields

Fields of corn whisper as they stand in rows, a regiment of green sentries, watching over the land. A far cry from the shores of the Pacific. Peaceful fields slowly turning to shades of golden brown, waiting to give up their treasure. The gentleness of the fields impressed Loren. He grew up in Colorado before living in the Pacific Northwest. The quiet countryside was such a change from the noises of the suburbs and pace of the city, the mountains and the rivers.

It took us both awhile to settle into our days on the farm in Indiana. A completely different life from that we know in Oregon. We loved the time with friends and family, catching up with the events in their lives and making new memories to take home with us. We took Loren to Shipshewana and the Amish countryside. It was a different perspective on life in America. A different pace. Different points of view. Different energy.

My time with my sister was priceless. We laughed and pulled memories out of the past, revisiting those we miss and times we both lived but did not share due to the age difference. She was with me when I got my new/old saxophone at the Wednesday auction in Shipshewana. It had been years of attending the auctions that I had tried to win the prize. We ate in old haunts and shopped until we ran out of stores. I had my first visit to Ollie's. And, my second. And.....my third. The suitcase was getting fatter, and we had three boxes of memories to ship back as well. As with all visits, they come to an end. There is little that I find much more difficult then leaving my sister. My heart truly felt the distance as we flew to the western coast.

In taking my sax to be cleaned and repaired, I found that it is worth quite a bit more than I paid. I am excited to pick it up once more, reliving those days next to fellow saxophonists David Aukerman and Brenda Stager in the Franklin Monroe band room. My family doesn't believe I can still play it. Hehehehehe. Well, I can.

It took a bit of settling back into the old routine. Well, it isn't all that old, since I have only been living in this house a couple of weeks. The traffic and noise were apparent as we missed those rolling fields of green. Yet we did indeed come home. We came home to a different pace with a different view. There is an energy here and an embracing freedom that we love. How nice it would be to have it all. Well, maybe we do once a year.

The boxes arrived. A magazine rack my father made sits in the living room. A few things from June's home bring her closer to me. Already we are planning a trip back in the spring. And, indeed, some of Neff Road will come to the wedding in December. Yes, we are only a plane ride away, yet in some ways, we are a world apart. Whispering fields.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Cotton candy memories

As I write this, many of you will still be in bed but soon to rise and head to the Great Darke County Fair. You will walk the midway or sit along side of the coliseum, searching for familiar faces. Those reliving memories from years gone by. I once looked for friends in the animal barns. I held hands with my guy who just might win a teddy bear for me. We ate cotton candy, waffles and all the things that the fair had to offer. We hugged relatives we only saw once a year. We watched the ponies run and stood by the fence hoping to catch a bit of the fair shows. 

Well, it was a long time ago when I last returned with my twentyish children along with one new granddaughter. Nothing had changed except the age of the people and the number of campers parked in the field. That granddaughter is six months shy of the years ago when we last attended. Yes, it has been almost twenty years.

I drag my feet when I think of returning. Those past memories are very sweet. Now I would return as an older woman, looking for faces that have changed as much as mine. All those things that made the fair fun will have changed. Many of the faces I saw on my last visit are gone. Yes, it would be different.

It becomes more and more difficult to return to my roots. The houses on Neff Road are different. My dear ones are gone. Greenville is not the town where I grew up, and my memories teeter on an edge of altered or erased. There was a sweetness in the times on the farm. It was maybe not so much about the place as it was the people. I don't think you notice so much when you live there. You change with the things around you. While those of us who live away notice the changes. Yes, life goes on unless that last picture captured in time still resides in your mind and does not capture the changes. 

There is a true sense of loss. Loss of family members, loss of neighbors, loss of time.  I debated a long time on whether to come back to the fair. I did want to see you again. I did want new memories to carry home with me. The amount of miles I traveled had worn me out. Long trips from Oregon to Ohio plus well over 800 miles of driving in two weeks had taken its toll. By the time Loren got to Indiana, I was done. We decided to just spend time with June and family, relaxing in a whole new way. The city life, traffic and daily routine stepped aside for cornfields, a duck named Henry, bunnies  hopping around the yard, a little girl named Della and stars in the sky. Loren got to meet family and to savor life in the country. His photographic mind captured it all making him ready to return soon.

Yes, I missed the fair this year and many of your lovely faces. We will return in the spring, so Loren can bring his old Deardorff 4x5 camera. A great old wooden camera, taking pictures of beautiful old places. So don't hold it against me for not making it this time. I was not ready, and it was not the time.  

Have a great time at the fair. You might even remember the young girl who loved the fair as much as you do.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

An elephant's eye

'The corn is as high as an elephant's eye. And it looks like its climbing clear up to the sky.'  Well, I might not be in Oklahoma, but I am in Indiana looking at the beautiful fields of corn surrounding the house. Ah, yes, home again.

Well, I really am not home, but Indiana is pretty close, and my sister is home. Then again, we can never really go home. I guess I realize that more and more over the years. We can reminisce, but we cannot go back. Once we leave, we change. When we return things have changed. So, with visiting comes remembering, or for me, a new column.

Everything catapults me into the past. The corn fields, wild bunnies peeking out of the fields. A horse in the paddock and a duck that likes to follow us around. Back again to farm country where times past await me.

I am thankful for the friends I still have back home. They are indeed a gift. We pick up conversations where we left off no matter how many years have passed. Geneva will call me Sis, and once more, I will feel that closeness we shared when my father passed. We all get older and these meetings are priceless. Precious gems added to my ring of life.

It takes a couple days to settle into this leisurely life. I miss my home and my guy. There is a longing that takes place when you live away from the roots that raised you; however, I love my home in Oregon and would not wish to live elsewhere. Still my heart belongs to these states where memories were made.

There is a beauty of living away. You not only increase in awareness by living with different people with different ways, but you also look back and find that those parts of you not only fit into this new life, but they also add to what you can offer others. I am a better person for expanding my world and would not change the place where I was born. Both have created the me who writes each week. They created the wide range of experiences I have gained by living in Ohio, Wisconsin and now Oregon. All were different experiences and all blessings in so many ways.

My time in Ohio will be short. Having a new house to settle has made this trip a much shorter one. Before I even think of leaving here again, I am homesick to return. Yes, the corn is as high as an elephant's eye, and I am once more living back a lane looking out the upstairs window across Daddy's cornfield at Neff Road. I did not leave Neff Road. It is all tucked sweetly in my head.