Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ok. So let's talk about the farm.

You know, I've tried to write something about this at least three different times over the last month.  Every time my writing just came off as too angry or sad and ultimately I don't want either of those two emotions exclusively and permanently attached to my memories of the farm.  In the thirty-one years I've been blessed to be a part of the Kelly family, anger and sadness are not emotions I would ever attribute to my grandparents or great-aunt and great-uncle.  They were humble, practical, loving, funny, and interesting people.  Though I could write pages and pages detailing my anger and sadness and frustration over what's happening to the farm and why, I refuse to do it.  Because the farm and my feelings about it are ultimately a memorial to my family and the memories and lessons and love they blessed me with through our time there.

Background on the farm is that my great-grandparents bought the acreage on Indiana route 101 (just off of 50 West) when my Grandpa Kelly was very young.  And my Grandpa Kelly was born in 1903, so the Kelly family came to the farm sometime before 1910 and it's safe to say it's been in the family for about a hundred years or so.  My grandpa's youngest brother, Myron, stayed on the farm and he and his wife, my great-Aunt Mary, lived there when I was growing up.  By that point they only raised beef cattle though the remnants of the chicken house and hog barn still stand today.  The property totals about 120 acres of farmed fields, woods, creeks and a fishing pond.  It's a nice little piece of God's creation.  He did good work.

So after Grandma and Grandpa, Uncle Myron and Aunt Mary died, ownership of the farm was passed on to my dad and his sister getting their dad's half and their cousin getting his dad's half.  My dad has spent many, many weekends at the farm mowing, tending a family garden and just generally tinkering and enjoying himself.  We have enjoyed fishing, camping trips, family picnics and having home-grown tomatoes and zucchini and peppers from mid-summer on.  Liam would often go out to the farm on weekends with my dad and "help" with the tending and mowing (translation: give Grandpa a good reason to take a break and go fishing.)  

But it's not just about what we do there or get from the farm.  There is a connection to my grandparents and family that has not been severed though those people we loved so much are long gone.  There are grapes my grandmother planted over 50 years ago growing all over the property.  There are trees my grandfather planted when he was young and used to point out when we were Liam and Sean's age.  There are two pines thriving there now that my dad dug out of my grandparents' backyard when they died and replanted at the farm.  And the Silver Maple in the front yard was brought home from school by my Aunt Kathy, my mom's older sister, and when no suitable place could be found at their house my Grandpa Joe and Grandpa Kelly brought the sapling out to the farm and planted it.  Aunt Kathy would be fifty-nine now if she had not died of cancer eleven years ago.  Her tree is now towering three stories (maybe more.)  These are the little ties that bind me and my family to the farm.  And they're the things making this situation so hard to deal with.

The "situation" is this: my aunt decided to sell her quarter and their cousin decided that meant he should sell his half as well.  As much as we tried we could not make the numbers work for my dad to buy out my aunt and their cousin's shares, even after going over home equity (my parents as well as our own), retirement fund numbers, etc.  With very little option left and due to unique circumstances on the way the property was arranged, my dad had to agree to sell his quarter as well.  

The agreement was not something he's happy with and neither are we, though we understand it was his only option.  And that he's even more unhappy about it than we are.  There have been nights where I am so sad that I can barely speak when Rusty asks if I'm ok.  There have been days when I've threatened to send email or make a phone call that would unleash my anger on the people I consider responsible for making my dad so sad and for causing us to lose the last tie we have to my grandparents and Great-Aunt and Uncle.  Because of the way things have played out and the back-story I choose to not add here, I feel my grandparents' memories and wishes are not being honored.  

So that's it.  It's done.  The new owner will take possession "no later than August 8th."  My parents and I spent last weekend taking apart furniture, inventorying dishes and flatware and the little things they've taken out to the farmhouse over the years.  We walked through the woods, ate apples off the ugly apple tree, picked blackberries and gathered wild-turkey feathers.  We walked by the pond though I couldn't bear to walk around it as the late summer flowers ringing it are ready to bloom, Grandma's grapes are getting bigger and the stupid rubber-band frog will keep on blabbering.  And we won't get to be there to enjoy it.  And that's just too hard to think about so I had to let it be.

This seems like a rambling, semi-coherent post and I'm sorry.  I just needed to get it out there because I really have kind of shut down to anyone outside of my family and close friends as we have dealt with this over the last month.  Many of our friends from school, extended family on both sides and other have expressed their love and sorrow at the sale of the farm and I want you to know that it means a lot to me and I'm sure to my family as well.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh Stacie. Big hugs to you girlie! Your post made me cry. Things like this are very sentimental to me also. It about killed me to walk through my Great Grandmother's house for the last time. Seeing garden spots grown over, no horses in the barn and no chickens running loose, no patio furniture, my Great Papaw's bar stool gone. I am so glad that you were old enough to realize how much pictures would mean in the future and that you have MANY. I wasn't. I don't have any. God sees us through many things (as you well know). He will see you through this (maybe some day you can take the new owners on a "tour") Big hugs to you and your family.


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