I remember well the Sunday afternoons under the shade trees enjoying watermelon or homemade peach ice cream. As children, we played like there was no tomorrow. It was a simpler time when people could actually talk politics without getting angry. There was nothing like an old fashioned chicken stew to bring families together in North Carolina’s rolling hills.
There were no chicken stews that I got to attend during my college years. Those were the especially turbulent late sixties and early seventies and I was far away from North Carolina in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As I finished my degree in the summer of 1971, I needed to get away from those strange-hued city-night skies where it was impossible to see the stars.
Just as people used to gather under shade trees in North Carolina, friends used to just drop by on Sunday afternoons at our farm for visit. It was a great excuse to stop working and spend some time catching up on the neighborhood news. It was the way people built relationships, established trust and found common ground. I cannot ever remember discussing politics.
Beyond the impromptu visits, there were community picnics, shared meals, church services (even burials) and work done for the good of the community. All these things made for richer shared lives. When we were on the farm, I never doubted that the community and friends helped us be successful. The support of their communities was essential to success of farming when we had our farm.
That was back in the seventies. The fifty years since then have not been kind to under the shade tree gatherings or any of the other ways that we connected and established relationships.
My mother spent her childhood up to her teenage years on a mill pond. In my mind’s eye I can see the mill pond, the mill and the house. I have certainly heard enough stories. My mother grew up there. As a very young child she got lost in the woods one night. She had tagged a long with her older brothers to play at the other end of the pond. Like older brothers will do, they got frustrated with their sister hanging around and told her to go home. She got lost on the way back. She was found by a black man who helped at the mill. She was found only after spending a long cold night in the woods with only one of the family’s dogs as company. Walter Styers, her father, was getting ready to drain the pond and start looking for her body just before she was found. (Read more)
It seems since my childhood that I have spent much of my life searching for a backyard. I have had hayfields and marshes as backyard but until this last move none were close to the one where I played ball with friends when I was in elementary school. I could plow up part of it for a huge garden but I have been there and enjoyed that when I was a lot younger. Read more.
Moving is never easy, but moving during a pandemic is a real challenge. However, we did and learned a lot – even some minor things like it makes sense to take paper towels and paper plates with you when you are huddled in the safe zone of your hotel room. Most of all, this move reaffirmed the value of working with a great real estate agent. While technology made the move possible. Our great realtors actually made it happen. Read more at this link.
I stumbled into a perfect beach evening. There was no shortage of warmth but I was not hot. The air was moving and it smelled of the beach. The humidity was not overpowering and I could imagine being on the beach….(read more)