Ever wonder what’s really at the heart of the farmstead? Why in the world would we choose to do things the way we’re doing them?
**WARNING: This is an emotional post for me. **
We’ll start with a little history……I was raised up (yes, I said raised up) by my grandparents. What they taught me was insurmountable as to what I will be able to teach my girls or anyone else.
My Pawpaw taught me that it’s a good thing to feel the dirt between your fingers (or toes as we often did). Food tastes better when you grow it yourself – we many times brushed the dirt off a turnip and ate them like apples (that kind of dirt gets into your soul). I’ve never had another one that tasted the same. He showed us that if you’re going to do something, do it right. Don’t take the easy way out. He was a dairy farmer from way back and he did things accordingly. If something broke, you fixed it – end of story. He taught me that you stand behind your family (even when they screw up), because after-all, those are YOUR people.He was a mighty man in overalls behind the tiller that my brother and I used to follow behind. We would try to match him step for step (keep in mind I was like 5) and he would laugh and laugh. He demanded respect and worked hard. We got our butts whooped when necessary. We always knew that he loved us no matter what. He was always there to help a friend or a neighbor. I listened to story after story about ‘coon hunting or some other adventure he’d lived. He loved to listen to Patsy Cline, tulips, fishing and mostly my Nana.
Ahhh, my Nana. Never will this world have another woman like her. She was spunky, relentless, strong-willed, stubborn, forgiving, generous, thoughtful and beautiful – the most beautiful kind of beautiful.
Needless to say, I hold her in very high regard. Because of her, there are certain prerequisites in order to be a Nana, I will never measure up to those standards (and that’s ok). She taught us things like; “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” that was her Golden Rule. She taught us to always be prepared – Kids: Is it going to rain today? Nana: There’s a 50/50 chance; either it will or it won’t. She taught us to think for ourselves and how to use the dictionary. When we couldn’t spell a word, she’d make us look it up in the dictionary. She ingrained in us common sense – you know that flower that doesn’t grow in everyone’s garden.
She showed us love unconditionally (I don’t know why, I gave her a run for her money most days) and I am truly grateful for that. We played games like cards and dominoes and Skip-Bo (one of her favorites) as a family, right there at the dinner table. Unheard of right – a dinner table! It’s where we wrote our spelling words, studied for tests, had Bible studies, even had dinner. She taught me to create, experiment, to push my own understanding and to question everything. I learned to bake, to sew (both by hand and machine), to crochet (although she didn’t do it that much), to cook, to read and to love from this brilliant woman. She taught me to pick my battles carefully and when to stand up for myself or others. I remember one time my Pawpaw was being really grouchy and was giving her flack about something. They were sitting in their Lazy Boy recliners, she looked over at him and said, “You’re gettin’ a little big fer yer britches aren’t ya.” Then she went back to working on her crossword puzzle. I almost died, I know my jaw hit the floor. She worked hard keeping all of us in line – I seriously have no idea how she did it. One of the most important things she taught me was to find out things for myself – the most important is to love unconditionally. She loved road trips, singing silly songs, God, Texas Bluebonnets and my Pawpaw.
So, what’s at the heart of the farmstead? Well, there’s a mighty strong work ethic, a love for good music, faith, family and an awful lot of love. A certain “need” to get our hands or toes dirty. The desire to continue learning and experimenting. We know how to work, and we aren’t afraid to do it. We know how to plan for things, and we’re getting pretty good at it. There’s “bumps” in the road, we don’t throw in the towel, we work it out. We laugh at ourselves, because well…..no one gets out alive anyway, we might as well enjoy the ride. They made me who I am, and I have some of their morals and a lot of their character (at least I like to think so).
I’d give almost anything to listen to another ‘coon hunting story or sing along to Side By Side with my Nana and Paw-paw. It’s our heritage and it’s their legacy, that’s the heart of the farmstead.