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Merry Christmas. Thank God for all you have.

 
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 331609
United States
12/24/2007 09:27 AM
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Merry Christmas. Thank God for all you have.
I don't know why I am writing this, other than it got so cold in the bedrrom last night, I had to move out by the furnace where my computer is and maybe it would take my mind of the cold.

I'm a nobody living on a 3 acre path of land in a ramshackle farmhouse near a small town you never heard of 20 miles away from another town you never heard of which is 50 miles away from a small town you never heard of.

I had to turn the furnace down as I banged on the tank and it's getting low again. The trick is to keep the heat low enough so the pipes don't freeze. I don't know if I will have enough money to have it refilled soon.

I'd like to tell you a story. It's a story about America and about me.

I grew up in this farmhouse in the sixties. Dad had about 160 acres of land in the back of it, Mom would till the garden and can, my brother and I would tend a few cows, some pigs and some chickens. Dad would farm corn and soybeans, sometimes alfalfa for the cows.

Dad never had much money, but we all got by. We always had good meals and we always had a roof over our heads without much worry. I look back at those times as the happiest of my life. I know today a piece of toast will be my breakfast and I can almost smell the bacon and eggs Mom would cook up as I sit here. I look over to the kitchen area and I can almost feel her presence.

In 1969, my brother Tim got a letter from the selective service department. He had been drafted. I remember my Dad and Tim talking about. Dad told him to go to Canada but Tim didn't want to bring shame on the family being from this small town and such, so he went to war.

They sent Tim to Vietnam.

The day the news of Tim's death reached my Mom and Dad was one of the saddest of my life. It was in the fall and harvest was almost upon us. I thought I had heard Tim's voice in this old farmhouse last week, but it might just be the cold getting to me.

The rest of the area farmers all chipped in and helped Dad and I harvest the crop. I looked at my Dad a few days later and noticed how old he looked. I noticed my Mother didn't hum in the kitchen any more when she prepared meals.

In 1971, I got my letter. I told my Dad that I have to go and he almost begged me to go to Canada. I told him that after Tim had died, I would dishonour him to do so. Relunctantly, my Dad and Mom accepted my fate.

I got hit 7 months into my term and that's all I want to tell you about that.

I got back from the Army and Dad and Mom met me at the train station. I was shocked how old they looked, they were shocked, I believe, how my attitude about life had changed.

It took awhile to get used to sleeping in the farmhouse, Dad and Mom would say they could hear me yelling at night. I still might be doing the yelling, but there is no one else here but me, so I don't know if I do or not. The dreams are still there.

I started running around with a pretty young thing and one thing led to another and I wound up getting her pregnant. I did what I thought was the right thing and married her. We had a Son and we called him Andrew.

I got a job at a slaughter house, it was hard work, but it was a union job at $20 per hour and in 1978, you were doing well. My wife and I rented a house in town, we had a nice used car and food in the fridge. I was saving for Andy to go to college so he wouldn't be forced to go through what I had to. My wife would wake me up at night and tell me I was screaming again and to "knock it off". I would if only I could..If only I could.

Things were going well, but then came the 80's and the biggest agriculture depression this country had seen in a long time came. Land prices plummeted, Reagan busted the unions and the slaughterhouse I worked at closed down because they didn't want to pay union wages.

Things started to go bad for us then. My wife would constantly hound me about money. Andy was being subjected to those arguments and I was a basket case.

Mom was diagnosed with cancer in '82 and it took her quick. She was buried on a snowy March day. Sometimes I hear her humming in the kitchen. Dad would sit at the big oak kitchen table with his hands folded staring off into the distance.

Reagan "solved" the farm crisis by giving breaks to some of the largest farmers. It was too late for Dad. The bank repossesed his 160 acres. They let him keep the acerage I write to you from. Dad used to sit in this house and just think. During the bank sale they had, the newly rich farmers low bid all his equipment. These were some of the farmers who had helped Dad and I after Tim died. Only the greediest of them survived the 80's.

I went over to the farmhouse to see Dad and expected to see if in a morose mood. He was smiling. We talked awhile, my wife and I were not getting along over money matters and it was weighing on my mind. I started to go and my Dad said that he thought he heard my Mom humming in the kitchen last night. And then he told me he loved me with a smile on his face. I told him I loved him also.

I started driving down the road and went home for awhile. Something about my Dad's attitude was troubling me so I drove back.

I found my Dad on the floor. He had died of a massive heart attack. We buried him 3 days later.

About that time the term "agribusiness" and "coporate farmers" were terms being bandied about. Greed begat greed and the ag economy returned with a greedy boom in the form of factory farmed hogs. Buildings started going up to house these pathetic creatures 100's to a barn.

I worked on a construction crew helping build them.

About this time, me being gone and working so many hours, my wife left me for an aspiring greedy farmer. As luck would have it, I was on the crew that just finished one of his barns.

I moved into this old farmhouse with Andy. I decided he needed somebody home with him and got a job at an elevator in town. It didn't pay much, but at least I got to be home with him. His Mom lived thirty miles away and when she came to pick him up, it was always in a newer pickup.

I still drive my caprice. Like me, it is slowly decaying. Somedays, I can't drive down the lane as the snow plugs it and I am too old and crippled to shovel much.

The elevator, the slaughter house and a dose of agent orange have wore out my body now. I constantly ache in various places and I am sure the cold in here doesn't help much.

Andy went off to college on 2000. I didn't think the money I had saved up would help, but it did for awile. Andy got through 2000 semester. We couldn't afford next years semester, so Andy told me he wanted to join the service. Andy figured it would be helpful to get Government financing for schooling. I reluctantly agreed.

The Sept.11th 2001 happened.

Andy got sent over seas.

I knew it before it happened. I thought I heard Andy yell Dad help me in my sleep the day before I got the news, but maybe it was just me yelling again.

The news came. My Son is dead..My precious boy was killed.

This happened in 2004 and we buried him on a June day. I got his personal efeects back. I hold then now and then and think of my Son.

So many ghosts in this farmhouse.

To me, I hear the family calling me. I don't think I'll make it to next Christmas, Merry Christmas and thank the Lord for what you have.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 344694
United Kingdom
12/24/2007 09:39 AM
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Re: Merry Christmas. Thank God for all you have.
i think the bacon is whats killing you lot off
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 341319
United States
12/24/2007 09:48 AM
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Re: Merry Christmas. Thank God for all you have.
looking back, nothing makes much sense, does it? I feel your pain, brother. God Bless You and bring you peace.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 344694
United Kingdom
12/24/2007 09:49 AM
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Re: Merry Christmas. Thank God for all you have.
looking back, nothing makes much sense, does it? I feel your pain, brother. God Bless You and bring you peace.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 341319



it makes sense when you figure it out

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