My mother’s farm is being sold to the state so that they can build a highway through it.
It is where she lived for more than fifty years. It is the property my parents bought when they got married and farmed though thick and thin, good weather and tornadoes. The house and barns were built through their own hard work either by sweating in the fields to earn the money or by building it themselves.
My brother put together the auction for the farm equipment, cleaning the tractors, wagons, planters, rakes and other implements I couldn’t even tell you the name of. My dad retired and my brother took over part-time shortly after I started school. Most of the equipment was thirty years old and I had no idea whether any modern farmer would be interested in it.
But they came with trucks and trailers to haul their purchases home and filled the field in front of the house.
As the auctioner moved through the field, I remembered: sitting in the corner of the tractor cab with a book as my dad plowed a field, listening as he explained how to make the rows straight, or seeing the lights of the combine traversing a dark field because the corn had to be harvested before the snow came. I remembered my brothers with sweat and grime coating their skin as they heaved bales from the baler and stacked them on the wagon. I can smell the dust and the hay and blink against the stinging hot sun.
We are slowly saying good-bye to these things. The stuff we couldn’t throw away that had accumulated in the basement – this spring. The farm equipment – last month. The house – next month.
One step at a time and it will only be a memory.