Friday, September 26, 2014


The house is beginning to take on an air of excitement normally found the week before Christmas. Packages are arriving. Food and drink to celebrate have been purchased. One week from tomorrow is "The Wedding." So far it looks as though the leaves will be close to peak color and the outdoor arrangements that have been set up in advance held up fairly well through some local weather.

Autumn colors
Photo by J. Harrington

After "The Wedding," the house will get a major makeover: new roof, windows and siding. We've been working with the bride- and groom-to-be on colors and options because they're planning on living with us and buying The Property in a few years. That's giving me a whole new perspective on the relationship between people and place. I grew up in New England, where there are houses that are several hundred years old and still in daily use. Living on some version of a family farm (not industrial) is about as sustainable a life as I can envision. I know that Minnesota has a number of Century Farms. I suppose I'm starting to grapple with the differences between real estate and home. I'm looking forward, I think, to following my reactions through this whole process. When a dad, that would be me, relates to his little girl as an adult and friend, the relationship grows. Change isn't always easy, but, so far, the changes we've been making on "The Property" and in our relationships with the place and each other, feel right. I think, I hope, that will continue. The prospect of leaving more than ashes and memories as a legacy has lots of appeal. Frank Steele seems to understand.

Misty Autumn morning
Photo by J. Harrington

Part of a Legacy

By Frank Steele 
I take pillows outdoors to sun them   
as my mother did.  “Keeps bedding fresh,”   
she said.  It was April then, too—   
buttercups fluffing their frail sails,   
one striped bee humming grudges, a crinkle   
of jonquils.  Weeds reclaimed bare ground.   
All of these leaked somehow   
into the pillows, looking odd where they   
simmered all day, the size of hams, out of place   
on grass.  And at night I could feel   
some part of my mother still with me   
in the warmth of my face as I dreamed   
baseball and honeysuckle, sleeping   
on sunlight.

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