Home. Here I am, standing in a field I have run through many times before. I am watching my dad steadily make his way over uneven clumps of dried grass and mud. He doesn’t remember who I am, but maybe it’s better that way. I can start over in some respect. I can enjoy the farm with him like I never could as a kid. I can remind him of the wonderful times I had, fill his head with memories of me that make him smile. We pass the corral he built…he remembers building it…says it was for sort of a sad reason. I tell him I remember. I remember yelling “yaw” as we herded the cows. I remember carrying a stick to lightly prod the cows. I remember being so brave. I tell him, “I was so brave back then.” He smiles.
We keep walking. He is moving faster now.
We pass the old barn he started building, but didn’t finish. I remember there was a nest in the barn with sweet little baby birds. I checked on them every day climbing up on an upside down 5 gallon bucket,tip-toeing to look over the edge. I kept tabs on them until the day when they just weren’t there anymore. A few feathers at the bottom of an empty nest.
I keep walking in his wake. He doesn’t even pause as we slide around the side of the well house. He built this too. It has a cellar that I was sure we would have to use someday to seek shelter during a tornado…it is Indiana.
He is headed towards the cabin, I can see that now. He says there is a something falling down up here. I say “you built this, Daddy…look you wrote our names in the concrete between the logs…see here is Priscilla…here is Jessica…my name was over there where the wall has fallen…do you remember putting our names there? That was a really nice idea.”
He asked me if I can find mine…”no Daddy, the wall has fallen, I think it is down there somewhere” and I point to the left wall that has collapsed into a jumbled heap of wood and concrete. He stands for a minute just looking straight at the cabin. “This is good wood, somebody could use this wood” he says.
We start back down the drive, walking away from this place. He has picked up two forlorn toys to carry back to the house. I am looking around, for anything and everything from my childhood spent here. My dad waits patiently as I crash around in the brush looking. Not sure what I am looking for…except that it is something I need to find. I am touching everything, old cars, the trees, old toys and glass jars left behind, and now I see it…the survey marker.
I crouch down and touch the metal marker. As a kid, I thought if I touched it, closed my eyes, and imagined really hard I could transport myself anywhere I wanted to go. Now, with eyes closed, I wish to… to be here.
I stand back up and follow my Dad back down the drive. I remember his old box camera. “Hey Daddy, you remember that old box camera you used to take pictures with? Those were some great pictures.” He remembers, “That was a good camera. I think it’s around somewhere.” I desperately want a picture with my dad at this point. We are having a wonderful day and I want this moment forever. “Hey Daddy…do you know what a selfie is?” When I tell him he laughs out loud. “So you want to take a selfie?”