Saturday, February 26, 2005

January 13, 2002

I've posted several pictures over the past few months that were taken on the farm where my dad grew up. The farm is located several miles southeast of Madrid, Nebraska in Perkins County. When I was much younger, I always looked forward to summer vacation where a kid from the Chicago suburbs could go out to a farm, chase pigs and chickens, play with his cousins and basically lose himself for awhile. I loved to walk along the treeline northwest of my grandparents house pretending I was an Indian scout searching for buffalo. I learned to shoot a rifle on the farm. I would climb onto the roof of the hog house, sit there for hours just looking at the land south of the farm. It was fun for me to sit in the pickup with my grandfather while we drove to the pasture to count his cattle. I enjoyed giving sugar cubes to his horse, Lady. Those are all great memories for a young boy to keep. Of course, we all grow up and those to whom we are close eventually pass on. My grandfather died in 1968 and my grandmother passed away in 1969. After they died, the farm was rented out to several tenants and the farm house fell on hard times. Fortunately, the land has stayed in the family and my uncle now farms the land. Sometime in the late '80s or early '90s, the decision was made to intentionally burn down the buildings. I had not been to the farmstead for over 20 years until my father passed away in January 2002. It was his wish to be buried in his hometown. A few months before he died, he told me that he never wanted to see the farm because it would hurt him too much to see his boyhood home destroyed. He accepted that it needed to be done, but he still would have been upset to see it. The day after Dad's funeral in Madrid, we drove out to the farm and I was shocked at what I saw. Nothing was as I remembered it. The house, the barn, "my" hog house and other outbuildings were all gone. The only remaining building was the grainery. It still has the farm name -- Fair Acres -- on the front. I took several pictures and this one shows it best.