On Visiting Grant County

The farmhouse is gone now
          the foundation overtaken
          by weeds and honeysuckle…
               the scent of which
               fills this country air.

The old house
never was much
just lapboards and shingles
          miss matched and
          carried in by Granddaddy Carr.
But it kept out the cold
               in winter and
the storms of summer.
I can still see it
          even among shambles and brambles
of days gone by.

The yard is over run too and
rabbits hide
in the same places I once did
          when cousins
          tried to tag me
          in a game of hide and seek or
          kick the can.

Granny’s buttercups
have flourished
their yellow blooms
          peek out above
the burrs and briars.
They survived on their own
just like most of the grandkids did
          when they left this old farm.

Across the road
now pot holed, rutted and
nearly impassable
where once was a the garden.
The pride and plenty
          of my granddaddy.
Over there tomatoes and potatoes and
beans on poles
          grew abundantly
          in this fertile soil.
And gourds grew there too
          long handled dipper gourds
          basket gourds and
          little yellow and green ones.
The vines engulfed every inch
          they could find.
I drank cold well water
          from those gourds
          dried and cured and
          carved just right
for drinking.

On down the road
there’s a creek
          Eagle Creek…
Who knows where it springs up from
but it meanders its way
          completely around this farm.
There are shallow ripples and
deep holes where
Brim and Bass
live a fat life.
But many a cane pole and
worms have lured them out.

Somewhere down there
on a muddy bank
there is a big flat rock…
          Granny Carr’s favorite place
to tempt hungry fish.
She was a master fisherman
          with her straw hat
               cane pole
               red and white bobber and
               a few worms.
She could sit for hours
          waiting for a nibble.
I never had much patience
in those days.
I was many years
          learning that lesson
but I finally did.

The days of whittles on the porch and
kids running in the yard
          are past reduced
now to wild buttercups and
But the life of this farm
lives on.

It lives on in every kid
          who ever kicked a can i
n every Uncle
          who ever planted a seed
or every mother
          who woke to a rooster crowing.

It lives on in our memory and
          can never die
as long as there is one of us around to tell the story.

Tony Sexton