We have winter whipped. I have to say the recent stretch of cold gloomy
days has had me ricocheting off the walls. When the sun finally returned
this week, I sat out on the deck for a while to bleach some of the
water spots off my soul, left there by the rain. I found myself thinking, “I
can’t wait till it’s spring on the farm.”
spirits usually begin to lift in late
February when the buttercups and yellow
bells begin to bloom. By the time the
wild honeysuckles down behind the barn
begin their show, I will feel like have
a front row seat in heaven.
It was during the spring when I first set foot on the property where we
now live. I worked at The Community News at the time and someone had told
me that an elderly lady wanted to sell some land up on Phillipstown Road
I drove up during my lunch hour and walked around the place. It was a warm
day and I could see bees scurrying and butterflies fluttering around on
the warm breeze. The road to the barn wound under a lush canopy of oak,
hickory, and poplar trees. It felt ten degrees cooler under that shade.
I sat on the bank of a small spring-fed creek that runs through the hollow
and it felt like home. I knew immediately that I would own this place someday.
I wasn’t sure how we were going to swing it since my wife Jilda and
I were broke as the Ten Commandments. But the thought of owning this land
consumed my mind.
I could see all kinds of possibilities. “I will put our garden there,
and over here we’ll plant the apple and peach trees,” I envisioned.
I fretted that if someone else scooped it up, they would cut the timber,
scrape it flat, and this little piece of heaven would be lost forever.
A few days later, we had dinner with Jilda’s parents and mentioned
that the land with an old house and barn was for sale.
The next day, Jilda's dad drove up to have a look around and he fell in
love with the property too. The fortunate thing was, he had the money and
he bought it on the spot.
Ruby and Sharky lived here for a while, but as their health deteriorated,
they decided to move closer into town.
They deeded us a lot near the road where we built our house. And before
he passed away, he made arrangements for the remainder of the land be deeded
to us. We have lived here since 1980.
After I started to work with the phone company, I could easily have been
like many of my friends and co-workers and moved south of Birmingham but
it just didn't seem to fit.
With today’s economy and people struggling to keep a roof over their
heads, staying put here in Empire seems like the smartest move we ever
Our house is small by today's standards, but it is just right for two people
and a bunch of dogs. And when the wildflowers and dogwoods burst into bloom
in the spring of the year, there is no place on earth I’d rather