My mom called me yesterday morning to tell me that Grandpa had passed away. It wasn’t entirely a surprise, as he has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for years and had recently begun declining. However, we come from a close-knit family, and he was a huge part of my childhood. With all my siblings and cousins, I grew up next door to my grandparent’s dairy farm with the sounds of the tractor and the cows. My aunts and uncles and cousins were always around. In fact, on our quiet dirt road lived only us family.
For the past two days, my mind has been dwelling a lot, on childhood memories.
The taste of family recipes and Hershey’s kisses. Swimming in our big pond in those orange life-jackets and the outhouse nearby. Barbecue chicken on a cinder block grill out in the yard. Hammocks. Chopping wood. The milking parlor. Exploring the woods. The sandbox made with one of his huge tractor tires. Riding my bike. Helping to milk cows. Country music radio. Riding in the back of his pick up truck. Walking the gardens with grandma, mom, and the aunts. Yellow violets. Singing. Holidays at Grandma and Grandpa’s with a full house. My 10th birthday. Hay fields, corn fields. Video games (Mario and tetris). Kittens and calves. Seeing Grandpa hold our babies, his great grandchildren. Walking sticks picked up in the woods. Trillium’s. Spending the nights with my aunt. Nestle quick in my farm-fresh milk. Baking.
Lots of good memories, we have. The funeral is on Saturday and I am looking forward to seeing everyone again.
Yesterday was the first day of spring and with Grandpa and family always close in my thoughts, the children and I had a big day of celebrating the new season. As soon as I could get out of the house, I took Seth and Sarah out to the Post office (mailed out something for my mom and Kara), then to Agway (for flowers, seeds, and chicken supplies), and Kloter Farms (for spring decorations).
My mom and aunts also all like pansies and I brought home two flats of them, the kind with small faces.
S P R I N G T I M E :: time to get dirty
This next picture is disgusting, but I am adding it just in case you have a little boy nearby who would want to admire Davy’s special mud mixture that he made all by himself.
Caleb’s (my gifted reader::did I tell you that he was just put in the gifted reader group at school=I’m so thrilled, I taught him to read!) marshmallow peep!
Our pond reminds me of Grandpa’s pond. Rich’s grandfather also had a pond, which is why we both really wanted to have one (or, two) at our place.
In the afternoon, I asked the boys to clean out the chicken coop. When they were done, I took the children all out for McDonald’s Shamrock shakes. I made a big deal out of it, making it sound like a huge “First Day of Spring” treat…..and (can you believe it?) the local McDonald’s had an out-of-order shake machine!!!! We had to go back and drive to another town! Thankfully, as we drove the extra distance, we were all happy (everyone was barefoot except Jake and me, footloose and fancy free) and we had music blaring and lots of talking. We were TOGETHER and it was FUN and look how happy Jacob is to finally have those yummy (way too sugary, I’ll never drink another one!) GREEN SHAKES. Even Seth and Sarah both had one. In fact, I accidentally ordered one too many (it can get confusing) and Rich got to have it when he got home, too. (I saved it in the fridge for him.)
This is a picture of part of my pretty flower garden with little daffies, a “HOPE” garden sign from Kathy, and newly planted pansies. Yes, I planted all two flats yesterday in the sunshine. Sethie and I got a bucket of water from the pond and he watered everything with a little cup. “They all need a drink”, we said.
Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune
without the words and never stops… at all. ~Emily Dickinson
I came across these two toy tractors as I worked and they reminded me of grandpa. He cut the stone they’re sitting on, too, from big rocks on the farm property. I’m so grateful to have some of his New York stones here at my Connecticut home.
We made a small patio step (a few years ago) out of some of his stone (they lay flat)….and this plant was given to me today by my friend Kathy. She said to plant it in memory of Grandpa and it will come up every year. I was touched.
One more thing. My grandpa gave me my cat Spot six years ago and we still have him. I love this cat. He definitely has that outdoor farm personality, he rarely comes in the house and is a fantastic hunter!