This Old Farm

this old farm

Summer 1995
Somwhere between Fargo, ND, and Moorhead, MN

I only remember one room of the cabin, but it's possible there were more. It was steps from the lake, and had no indoor plumbing at all. I had my period and wasn't inclined to use an outhouse when I hadn't been prepared for the presence of an outhouse, so Fuzzy drove me all the way back out to town so I could use the restroom.

I'd never experienced deep-fried fish before, except in the form of fish sticks, and those aren't real fish, right? But this was freshly-caught trout and there they were, breading it. Fuzzy told me, later, he'd never had fish any other way. Actually, if I pretended it wasn't fish they were breading, it wasn't bad.

(I love fish, just…unadulterated.)

His grandmother was sweet, funny, kind.
The boat ride was nice.
I really have no taste for places that lack modern conveniences. I mean, even beaches have real bathrooms, even if you do have to pay to use them.

Summer 1997
A farm outside Minot, ND.

Another reunion of Fuzzy's family, and I'm much more prepared this time. (Translation: I use the bathroom at the convenience store before we leave paved roads.) I arrive expecting a rustic cabin, but instead it was a fully fledged farmhouse. We met one of his cousins as we pulled into the driveway, “Everyone's in the main barn,” I was told.

Cautiously, I followed Fuzzy through the grass, trying not to flinch about all the crickets our feet crunched, and we peeked into the barn, finding the ultimate juxtaposition of then and now.

In one corner his aunt was teaching the little kids to make rope.
In the opposite corner – a power bar had eight laptops plugged into it, as the family 'elders' completed the geneology.

Itâ™s the sweetest thing I know of,
just spending time with you
Itâ™s the little things that make a house a home
Like a fire softly burninâ™ supper on the stove
The light in your eyes that makes me warm

Hey itâ™s good to be back home again
Sometimes this old farm feels like a long-lost friend
Yes â™nâ™ hey, itâ™s good to be back home again*

“Back Home Again,” John Denver

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CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 This Old Farm by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.