As a child, I don’t think I ever considered what life as an adult was like. The main point that I understood as a child was that adults were in charge, and that I was not. So, I basically tried to do what I was told and stay out of trouble. I guess I was so ensconced in my own day-to-day activity that I didn’t really give it much thought. My childhood days were spent running around the family farm, visiting Grandma and Granddaddy Rieley who lived next door; and, of course, my favorite pastime….rescuing any willing barn cats that were need of some tender loving care.
I suppose if I really think about it, the thing that I most associated with being an adult was being busy. I grew up on a farm, and all of the adults around me were always busy doing something: Busy planting a garden, getting-up hay, watering the garden, mowing the grass, weeding the garden, picking vegetables, picking black raspberries, making jam or preserves, fixing a fence, painting the front porch or a shed roof, snapping beans, husking corn, canning beans, making a cobbler, repairing the tractor, planting flowers, pruning and grafting fruit trees, cleaning out the barn—-you get the picture. There is always something to do on a farm!
I have so many fond memories of watching as well as helping my parents and grandparents perform these everyday activities. I especially loved holding the colander on my lap as I sat with Grandma Rieley, helping her to break-up green beans in her sunny kitchen. I also looked forward to picking black raspberries and assisting her with making preserves. Grandma would always have a little left over that she didn’t need for her jam jars. So, she would spread some of the warm, freshly made preserves on a slice of bread for me to taste. It was like a little bit of heaven.
I think the impression I gained of adulthood when I was a child was that there is dignity and satisfaction in hard work. My parents and grandparents took pride in a day’s work: a neat lawn with pretty flower beds, a picture perfect vegetable garden overflowing with a bounty of beautiful vegetables to share and preserve for winter, and well-kept fields and barns.
Here’s the thing: I learned that work isn’t something to be dreaded, but something to be embraced. I realized that self-worth is developed through accomplishment—doing something, whatever it may be, and doing it well and with enthusiasm.
Categories: Green Hill Farm