Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I miss the old home I bought in the country. It was an old Montgomery Ward Catalogue, blueprint home, built in the 1920's. I miss those rolling acres of corn all around me and the turkey shoots in the fall. I owned a pole barn, a rubbarb patch and five acres of land that abutted a brook of fresh water. I hunted bunnies and pheasant in the fall, and in the winter, I ran in combat boots through the snow, to a park about five miles away...where I observed deer and winter flowers in bloom. The smell of moss and tree bark entered my lungs on these solitary jogs and I free floated with nature, my mind leaving my body as if I were some type of mystic...and I was young and strong...and I worked a twelve hour shift during that winter...from midnight to noon on a drill rig some sixty-miles from my farm. I worked with boys and men from all over America and we built many a derrick or tunnel or road or building...and it was good.

I believed in America and hard work. I read no newspapers and watched no tv and my politics were non-existent. I tore down engines and played with farm tractors and watched football games. I drank good beer and whiskey at a singular tavern in town where everybody knew everyone else. We came together for each other in play, in hard times, because it was the right thing to do. We had a sense of community. I worked inside my house putting in new sub-floors for hardwood, hanging cabinets, replacing old toilets and the monster boiler that originally came with the house. I bought a baby grand piano for my wife and Ethan Allen furniture to keep us locked into the traditional American home concept.

Back in these days there was no such thing as laziness or hopelessness for my kind. We worked at whatever we could get in hard times. Sometimes I started business which did pretty well, but would always go back to my heavy equipment trade when the spring crocus appeared. I loved the smell of the black dirt in the morning, whether I turned it over with a dozer blade or a farmer's disc. Dirt and perspiration meant prosperity. The sun was always shining in my world, and when it wasn't there was the warmth of tavern cheer through a shot-and-a-beer.

Now, I just mark my days. I watch the clock in the late afternoons, and one day bleeds into the next. I live in a townhome now where everything is done for me, and my body isn't what it used to be. I long for the hard work, but know that those days are over. I am grateful for my life. I have many memories and still work to keep my body and mind in shape, but I miss the old days, my old ways.

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