Saturday, April 23, 2011

88 good years

If you were to offer me 88 good years of living right now, I would take that deal.

Let's say I could be raised on a farm, tall and strong, surrounded by a firm mother and two sisters.  I could go off to be part of history, island hopping across the Pacific.  And I would come home, unscarred on both body and mind, to the farmland of my youth.  But only for a while.

I could leave for the deserts and mountains of Mexico, staying long enough to help the rancheros through a difficult time, long enough to learn the language and long enough to meet a beautiful woman as she walked around the town square.  Then I could bring my bride back to my home in the farmlands.

We could raise children, two daughters, and I would work outdoors in the heat of sun and the bitter cold of the winter.  And I would help the people on the farms and in town, watch my daughters grow into young women and savor the land around me.  As the seasons changed my daughters would go off to school, marry and start their own families.

And should I lose my bride too early in life, I could meet and love another woman.  And we would live in a white house that my family lived in a century before, up a tree lined road on what passes for a small hill in the midwest.  I would watch the weather and talk about crops and cattle futures over breakfast down the road at the cafe.  I could be known for both a hat stained by sweat and a shirt stained by tobacco from the pipe I carry in my pocket.

Each day I could drive from the white house past the little town that to most people doesn't look like a town, past the band stand and past the cemetery to the stone pillars that mark the entrance to the farm that has been been in my family for generations.  And I would feed the cattle, check the crops and talk to the stray cats and dogs, calling out to each with the Spanish names I had given them.

I would be respected and loved.  And I would be known for more than a few eccentricities.

Then, after 88 years of good living, I could slip away, peacefully and quietly, in the still of the night.

If you offered me that deal I would take it right now.  It seems like it would be a very good life.


Baydog said...

Me too. Who was he? It seems almost too old-school to ever even happen these days, but I'd take the 88. A good bunch of my predecessors lived that long or longer, but I feel like the odds often are against me. I love good stories like that.

Who was he?

SandyBottom said...

A great eulogy (for lack of a better word), and a life worth celebrating.

Steve said...

That is my father-in-law, John Boone Simpson. He will be missed.


EyeInHand said...

If I could be remembered so well, regardless of age, that would be enough, too.

Baydog said...

Really nice job Steve. Very touching.

Kristen said...

Beautifully written, Steve, and thank you for sharing.