The other weekend, we were driving to my parents after the (expensive) Thomas the Train experience. Every time we go there, we go past a reminder of my childhood. My grandparents' old Farm House sits on the last turn before you get into town.
I've always had the idea in the back of my head that I would end up buying it (or my other grandparents' farm house) and raise my kids there. Not that it was a realistic or local thought. But it was comforting knowing that the choice was there.
The farmhouse represents a 180 degree contrast in many ways to my current suburban lifestyle. Where there are roughly 5 models of houses in my subdivision, the farm house was unique. My house has 1/4 acre lot. The front yard of the farm house was bigger than our entire lot.
There were barns to explore. Haylofts to play in. A nice walk to the creek to watch the fish swim by. You could take your dogs off leash and play fetch with them on the way. More than anything, that house represented a sense of wonder. It encouraged exploration and curiosity. There was always something interesting to look at. You'd walk around the dairy barn, and wonder "what was this tool for?" "How did they hook up the milking machines?"
The farm house reminds me of my grandparents that lived there. Reminds me how I miss them, how it's sad that they couldn't get to meet my kids.
It represents one of my last remaining quixotic ties to my youth. My dad's need for a kidney and my hope of giving it to him has started cutting the last of those ties. When you have to start dealing with your parent's and your own mortality, it forces you to get a new focus on life.
My grandmother moved out shortly after my grandfather died, about 20 years ago now. I was surprised when I realized how long it had been. As we drove home from my parents, we stopped at the turn instead of going home.
I got out of the car and took pictures. The look to the road from the driveway with the sun going down. The yard where we played 'mean' croquet. A bulldozer. A retention pond. An excavator. A dirt pile where the house and barns used to be.
The fact that it was leveled wasn't as upsetting to me as I thought it would be. My biggest problem was that I had a very hard time pinpointing where things were. EVERYTHING was gone. They had already started grading out the whole place.
I took my pictures, and then got back into the car. As we headed out, DearWife noted "Summer's almost over."