Though the farm may remain the same, a time-warped scene from a 1940’s movie, the people that encounter it are not. I’m not sure if it’s the land itself, or the people on it, or maybe even a combination of the two, but somehow they have a way of slowing things down and luring you into their ways. The change is relatively slow, but definite and perceptive. In fact, I’m not even sure when it began to occur in me. It’s almost as if I suddenly awoke and found that my wardrobe had replaced itself with t-shirts, jeans, and mud-covered boots. My pin-stripe suit is still there, but now it hibernates in the back of the closet under a gray cloak of dust. My stylish shag has grown out and spends most days wrapped up in a miss-matched ponytail holder to keep the stray hairs out of my eyes.
It’s not just my appearance that the farm has altered. My priorities and even ideas of fun have also been completely re-arranged. Oh, how my friends of yesterday would gape to see me covered in dust climbing down from the tractor or gladly spending my days working on the house and playing with the kids. I don’t think they would understand the pride I get from simple things, like having Chuck tell me that the blackberry cobbler that I just pulled from the oven (whose berries were picked not an hour before) was better than his mama’s. They would probably laugh in my face when I tried to convince them that the best times are had with friends close by cooking some crawfish or saddling up the mules for an evening ride.
Instead of dreaming about traveling the world, or becoming a famous writer, I now want nothing more than to see my daughter raised up on this farm. I want my daughter to learn the old-school ethics of hard work and keeping your word, not because she is told to but because she sees it every day. I want her to want to carry on the traditions of the farm, to see the rightness in being content with what you have and trusting in God to sort out the rest.
In comparison with the thousand acre farms that surround us, our little haven stands out like a mom and pop craft shop on Rodeo Drive (that fancy one in Beverly Hills). Still, I wouldn’t trade it for all the farms and their equipment combined. It is more than dirt and plants and trees. It is a symbol of contentment, pride, endurance and simplicity. It represents the ability to live, without lowering your standards. It gives evidence to the power of determination, grit, and hard work. It is my husband’s past, my daughter’s future, and all of our present lives. It is me. It is you. It is anyone who chooses stand for what they believe in, or not give in to the latest trend just because it is the latest trend. It is a return to family dinners and quality bonding time. It is America, as it was intended and as it could be once again.
“It” is a small farm in the flatlands of the Arkansas Delta. “It” is my home.