My Childhood Place
If there is any one place that I associate with my childhood, it would have to be the farm I grew up on. Our farm was located near a small town in central Indiana, and was made up of 150 acres of land, upon which we raised Black Angus cattle, sheep, chickens, and an assortment of dogs and cats. We also grew corn, wheat and barley.
My memory of it is that the work was hard, but we always had fun, because everything we did was family focused. The family benefited from all the things we did around the farm.
If I close my eyes, I can still remember the cool brisk mornings in late autumn. As I walk toward the barn, I can see the sun just coming over the horizon. The suns golden rays are barely touching the trees, showing off their brilliant autumn colors.
A cool breeze chills me as I reach the barn, causing me to shiver. As I open the barn door, I can hear the cattle mooing impatiently for their breakfast. Climbing up the ladder to get their hay, I glance toward the giant rope swing nearby. Memories of fearless fun come flooding back. As children, my brother and I would fly on the swing, fifteen feet through the air, even while we were twelve feet off the ground. It didn't seem dangerous then.
After feeding the cattle, I head toward the chicken coop. As I approach, I know the chickens are up from the clucking and scratching I hear. The door squeaks as I open it and walk in. As I close the door, a ball of flying feathers suddenly appears and heads towards me. My brother has done it again the rooster is in an agitated state caused by my sibling's teasing.
After the rooster has let his opinion be known, I start the chore of gathering the eggs. The act of gathering eggs is to reach under the chicken to get the still warm egg, without disturbing the hen.
Exiting the chicken coop I continue on my rounds. Pausing for a moment, I turn to gaze at the peaceful sight of the sheep grazing in the fields. The white sheep look like clouds against the background of dark green grass. As I walk up to the fence, several sheep come trotting over, hoping I might have a treat. As they nuzzle my hand I can feel their soft, velvety noses and their warm moist breath. They follow me for a short distance as I walk to the garden.
The earthy smell of tilled soil envelopes me as I reach the garden. The garden is a patchwork of color. As I look around I can see the orange of the carrots and pumpkins, the yellow of squash, and the light brown of the corn stalks. These colors stand in contrast against the dark soil.
In the field next to the garden there is freshly mowed hay. It gives off a pungent, sweet odor. This hay will soon be a tasty treat for the livestock during the cold winter months.
I come at last to a very quiet, but fragrant, place. The gentle mixture of the various fruits; the tangy smell of grapes, the luscious odor of the pears, and the sweet smell of plums and apples fills the air. The fruity fragrance reminds me of yummy treats such as pies, cobblers, jams and jellies that I enjoyed as a child. The orchard indeed was a special place.
As I conclude this memory walk, I circle back toward the house. Here the memories begin to fade and I open my eyes. I realize how much I miss the farm and I also realize how much living on a farm taught me about life and responsibilities.
I only wish I could visit more often
if only in my dreams.
MaryAnna was born in a small town in central Indiana. At the age of 5, her family moved to the farm described in her story. MaryAnna has always enjoyed writing whether poetry of short stories. She hopes one day to write a story of her life. MaryAnna now lives in Indiana with her beloved husband and best friend, Kermit. You may write to MaryAnna through the Letters page of this magazine.