|"A Farm Remembered"|
To listen to a voice recording of this piece by the author click here:Brookside Dairy
By John R. Greenwood
When I think back it’s as though I was taking photographs as child. I can hear the camera shutter clicking in my mind. It was like a vacuum drawing in hay fort joy, clinking milk bottle sounds, and cow barn smells. I picture a group of men and young boys grouped under the canopy of an old maple near the farms entrance. Some sitting Indian style. Some leaning against the posts of a white board fence, feet outstretched in the tall June grass. All enjoying their well deserved break; especially the boys. The rustle of a paper bag is loud and inviting as one of the workmen opens his lunch and pulls out a thick bologna and cheese sandwich. It looks dry and delicious.
And so my life would be this way. Capturing these images and seemingly insignificant snippets of time, and tucking them away for future reference. Each moment that caused me to pause, even just slightly, has been cataloged as if waiting to be called up at a moments notice.
These little stories remained untouched, revolving endlessly in my mind; a movie loop of smiles, smells and voices. All fond memories, even when carrying some pain. One such vision is of me sitting on a school bus full of jumping bean children most so young their little feet swing free above the bus floor. They all stop and freeze as a young grade-school teacher signals the bus driver to open the door for a moment. She has something to tell us. Although her face remains nameless, I clearly see the fear and tears in her eyes. It’s November 22nd,1963, President Kennedy has been shot. There are few details. “You will get more news when you get home.” she says. The bus sits there idle, no motor running. No voices can be heard- only a shocked hush as we all look around at each other. We are young, very young, but we all still know this is bad news, sad news. Children-voices blend into a murmur of disbelief and we simply sit there and digest the news.
These memories define you. I have volumes of them and many of the most cherished were spawned by a dairy farm. “Brookside Dairy” - even the name can drop your pulse rate to a gentle hum. My grade school friend Randy’s grandfather Harold C Hall ran the farm and dairy with his son Harold “Sonny” Hall. An agricultural seed was planted for me here. I would never move far away. My roots ran deep here and my soul forever nurtured by the soil around them. I sneak back through when I can, peeking into the backyards of the homes where I played and absorbed. Each face brings a story. Each story brings a face. Emotion for me was created by the accumulation of all the people who crossed my path in the last half century. I traveled the dirt paths and gravel roads surrounding Brookside Dairy soaking up my many friendships like a cookie dunked in milk. Friendships that continue to nourish me today. It’s not that friendships and good memories can’t be found in the shadows of tall buildings but there’s something special about stacking hay bales high on a swaying wagon full of sunburned boys in jeans and white t-shirts. Boys with scabs and long stories of how they got them. Boys with imaginations and the knowledge to use them. Boys whose energy and love of place can only be found in the deep nutrient full soil of a country farm.
|"Music to my eyes"|