Growing up, I lived in the country in an 1850’s farmhouse with cascading views of fields dotted with barns and homesteads. There was one home in which we would visit down by the tracks, we referred to it as Harry’s. My mom, sister, and I would take carrots down to the horses and spend time roaming around. I remember sitting in Harry’s kitchen one time and he shared with us those creamsicle colored circus peanuts. I’m not sure what was so special about that moment for me to remember it, but it’s one that I carry so fondly with me.
Across the street from Harry’s was another white farmhouse. While I had not visited their home as a kid, I will always remember two things about it. Their tidy garden that lined the side of the road near their house and the two men who were often found on the front porch. I vividly remember as a child sitting in the back seat of the car heading to town and being carried down the curvy country road and my parents waving to the brothers, Joe and Carl on their front porch. Little did I know it would take nearly 30 years to understand the value of those two brothers and their friendly waves.
As I grew older the farm next door was sold and the local fire department used the home for practice. It met its demise in a fiery blaze and soon the earth movers arrived to shape it into a neighborhood for hundreds of families. Not too long after the cattle, that once grazed across the street, followed suit and soon disappeared but the brothers by the tracks remained unchanged.
In high school I would drive by and wonder if they would be out, and I was always happy when I could roll my window down and give them a big wave. The brothers eventually passed and took with them the memories of the early 1900’s and their piece of the country with them, and we were gifted the memories of their friendly waves.
After their passing, I seemed to have tucked their memory away and it was not until two years ago they suddenly came to mind as I was on my way home from the nearby city. The drive took me through multiple traffic lights at every block, and the noise of buses and trucks echoed between the buildings. As I began to reach the outskirts of the city sounds grew from distant to non-existent. Traffic lights dwindled along with the cars and the roads began twisting and passing over rolling hills which lead to tunnels formed by trees which delivered me into the flat open fields of the humble countryside.
With every turn that drew me closer home I was greeted with friendly waves of those headed in the opposite direction or who were out in their yard working. In what had been a natural reaction from my childhood to wave to the neighbor, it was not until that very day my memory of Joe and Carl were unlocked and I was greeted with the most heartwarming feeling from my childhood. I was home.
Now out here in the middle, I have become the modern-day Joe/Carl who is waving to the farmers passing by in their combines and tractors, or to the neighbors who are on their way to town or headed home from work. They are a simplistic part of the rhythm of my day and a heartwarming gift from Joe and Carl that I have found that only country life can offer.