One afternoon only days after my book A House With Holes released, I stop by a local farm to walk the acres, scratch the head of a lowline aberdeen angus, and smell chicken manure. Appetizing, huh? But to me, this is where our sustenance comes from…the fields and the animals. The long lane seems to go on forever before reaching a farmhouse set into the only nest of trees on the property. We hear the owner sells her free-range, pasture eggs to farm-to-table restaurants and to locals who come by to pick them up.
The farmer emerges from her house, dressed in work clothes and heading to pick up her late afternoon eggs. She comes down the driveway to meet me and its rather shocking to have this interchange because word is she likes her afternoon naps. The murmurings say she has a mason jar for cash next to a small refrigerator that looks more like a wine cooler than something you’d expect to see in a barn. But it is filled with brown eggs for a mere four dollars a dozen. After she approaches she naturally explains the way things work in her barn when buying eggs.
“It’s based on the honor system because I can’t be running down to the barn every few minutes to hand people eggs and make change.” She rattles off rather matter-of-factly. I raised my eyebrows in understanding and hear a SUV pulling onto the stone driveway. My son’s car makes its way toward us.
As soon as she pauses, I explain. “This is my son, he works minutes from here and wants to check out the place. I am happy we are going to cross paths, a rare thing these days.” As I see him approaching, I lift my hatch and pull one of my books from the box to hand the farmer. During our getting aquainted moment, she mentioned her husband likes to build things and I think they might enjoy my book on our renovation.
As my middle son gets out of the car, he see me handing her a book and walks towards me crunching the stones under his feet. “I just finished your book this morning, Mom.” He stands arms length from me. I reach out to touch the middle of his sleeve.
“You did? What’d you think?” bracing myself for what might be coming.
He doesn’t speak, but rather draws close to give me a full on hug. He holds on for a bit. He’s always given good hugs, but I know this is about more.
“Honey, what is it?” I draw back to look at him squarely. He doesn’t seem to care we have company and I know it must be serious. He looks down and then admits, “I knew all the stories as they were happening over the years, but reading it in one story, and knowing nothing in there was exaggerated. Seeing it all down together brought home to me what you’ve been through.” He shook his head.
The farm lady shocked by being privy to our interchange broke her silence. “My, my this is a moment.” With a glint or some moisture in her eye, she waves it away. “Looks like I am reading a book this afternoon. Do you have a phone with you, we have to get a picture to capture this memory.”
Our adult children count on us being there, the stability of knowing you are backup, someone to call for support and understanding. In the meantime, it’s easy to feel forgotten or taken for granted. They are busy living their own lives with all that goes with it in this world today. Truth is, I didn’t have them to keep and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But, as aging parents, we have our own stuff going on and it takes these moments to bring our children back to reality. We are people, like all of humanity, taking it a day at a time, we are just trying to find our way home.