I grew up on a farm and do not have idyllic memories of those early years. I couldn’t wait to leave the farm and live in a town or city. I wanted close neighbors that I could chat with when coming or going or working in the yard. I wanted to be able to walk to something—school, or church, or a grocery store. I wanted to be able to pick up Chinese carryout en route home from work. I wanted to walk on sidewalks and not the side of the road. From the time I got married, I have lived out that wish. With the exception of one year in the mountains of northwestern North Carolina, we have always lived in town.
And now the irony: I couldn’t wait to leave that farm and now I own it—or at least part of it. When my brothers and I divided up Mother’s property, I ended up with 16.31 acres of the farm my parents bought in 1953. It is all pastureland grazed by my brother’s cattle.
My 17.39 acres across the road are part of the “Tennessee Century Farm,” designated as having been in continuous agricultural production for over 200 years. Of course this cannot leave the family. Even though I still don’t want to live there, I treasure the history and the memories that go with that land. Corn was raised there this year—not by me, of course!—and I appreciate the conscientiousness of the farmer that works our land. Next year will be soybeans.
And there’s a barn. Who would ever expect me to own a barn? Not I! But there it is. The orchard that was adjacent to it is long gone, but my fond memories of picking apples and pears there—and getting a stomach ache from eating too many green apples—remain. I have to admit that I’m glad I own a farm as long as I don’t have to live there. I appreciate the comforts and convenience of living in our little town so close to the big city of Cincinnati. I really do have the best of both worlds.