It had been over twenty years since we drove down the country road at the edge of town. Rows of corn at full height and tasseled out followed the gentle slopes. Red barns flanked by large silos were surrounded by thick groves of hardwood trees, the perfect shelter against the harsh Midwest storms that blew in as fast as they blew out.
We were going to see the hobby farm we had lived on when my husband and I moved our small family from CA to Fergus Falls, MN over 30 years earlier.
After two years of living on the hobby farm, we sold it to Fish and Wildlife, who already had several acres of hunting and wildlife production property that surrounded us.
Since they were only interested in the land, they sold off the house, the old dairy barn, and the outbuildings. But, as we looked for where our home had been, I hadn’t anticipated that everything would be gone.
The woods that grew thick, entrapping old farming relics, left years ago, were nonexistent.
The yard where our dog chased any rabbit who dared to venture beyond the patch of peonies, and the area that had been tilled and planted with a garden, were now a field of thistles and prairie grass rippling in the breeze like water from the nearby lake.
I didn’t think I would cry, but I found myself wiping away tears and trying hard to ignore the knot that ached deep in my core.
The memory of raising fifty pigs and the distinct smell that clung to our hair and clothes every time we walked through the barn, the time my grandma visited and I took her around the property in our tractor, and the time a bat flew down the stairs, one after another they played like an old slideshow projected on an aged screen.
We had made a home down the old Wendell Road. Now, it was as if no one had ever been there.
The only thing I have of that little hobby farm in the Austead Township are a few pictures and plenty of stories.
If I don’t write them down, even the slideshow in my mind will fade.
Writing down moments, and memories might feel daunting.
If I wrote about our decade of living in Fergus Falls, MN, starting with our first experiences, I would not know where to start.
So I will just start with the words “I remember…”
I remember the time I shot the half-dead skunk who tangled with our dog and the way the deer slug made my shoulder ache. I remember the first time I saw a firefly in the summer and empty turtle shells near the pond. I remember how it sounded when geese flew so low you could hear the wind through their feathers.
Yes, where we lived is gone. But stories will help ensure that the moments are not forgotten.
Don’t let your memories fade.
Write them down. One story at a time.
And just in case you are wondering, pigs really do stink!
What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”
Not sure where to start?
Here is a page of prompts to help you get the conversation started.