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January 6, 2011
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Sixteen years is not a very long time for a human life; it is actually considered a short time. Some people may say that you can’t have many truly extraordinary experiences in such a short amount of time. The reality is that every experience that occurs in such a short window of time is magnified and multiplied because each experience is so new and fresh. Then, when something is experienced repeatedly, its importance is amplified. I have experienced a single place so many times that it is now unforgettable and extraordinary, my grandparents farm.

Before it was their farm, my great grandparents on my father’s side of the family owned it. My grandparents, Bill and Mollie, moved to the little farm in Hillsboro, Texas, from Littleton, Colorado, to care for my great grandfather, Emmett, who had developed Parkinson’s disease. My grandparents made the executive decision to move to Texas and maintain this little farm and watch over Emmett.
One of the earliest memories I have of this cherished place is driving my first tractor. I looked out across the rustic landscape and watched the thousands of grasshoppers leap out from the worn yellow grass beneath my feet. I ran across the lifeless grass trying to catch the lively bugs while I waited for my grandfather to pull the tractor out from behind the corrugated metal farmhouse. Dust began to fly from the large opening in the farmhouse and my grandfather pulled around the corner in a rusty, puke colored, and small tractor. It was beautiful. I ran towards the old tractor and sat on the scratched, plastic seat in front of my grandpa. As we drove a quarter mile down the dirt road, the sun shone through the dirt in such a magnificent way that it made the entire landscaped brighten. The old, rusty, and grotesque water tower even looked gorgeously bucolic through the sunlit dust. This first tractor drive of mine was so entrancing that this became my favorite thing to do when I visited the farm.
My dad used to visit this little farm every summer, all summer long, from when he was one year old. He and Emmett were very close; so naturally when he was dying, my father took me down to visit him. I only saw him a few times in my entire life, but there is one moment that I will never forget with him.
My mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, great grandfather, and I all sat in the aged tin building that my family called the farmhouse. The earth upon which our feet stood was so prevalent that it engulfed everything, even our feet. My great grandfather sat at the center of a semi circle surrounded by us all. I spent my time running and climbing all over the worn down and corroded tractors and other vehicles. As I sprang from tractor to tractor, I paused and took a close look at why my grandfather was sitting and everyone else was standing. His back was arched over the four-legged stool upon which he sat. The small splintered circle seemed to contain him. The fact that such a small, insignificant and weak seat could hinder his movement and imprison him astounded me. The sun shone through the cracks in the corrugated tin wall behind him and shone brightly on his back, but his face was hidden in the darkness as he faced the cold, dusty, dirty, and uninteresting ground.

My great grandfather slowly looked up from his four-legged prison cell, held up the neon green and black football in his crooked old hand, and gestured vivaciously for me to move a farther distance away from him so he could show off his strength. I ran across the rugged, dusty dirt floor in the arena and stood waiting for the football to be launched into the air. I stood for what seemed to be an eternity, until I realized the football would not be coming towards me because it lay on the ground only a few feet from my great grandfather. I looked up at him and he gave me weak and very embarrassed smile. I sprinted over to where the football lay and picked it up and put it into his hands. I was three years old.

“Thanks, my boy,” he stated apologetically, “maybe next time, eh?”

This is the only real memory I have of Emmett and every time I visit the Texas farm I always have a flashback. This farm holds so many memories of mine that it is almost impossible for me to recall them all, but the landscape is unforgettable and almost impossible to describe.

Texas is usually considered a vast wasteland with no true scenic value; however, only people who may have never experienced the Hill Country of Texas right at sundown say that. There is really no better way to experience this beauty then at my farm. The way the sun reflects off the broken, rusty, wore down windmill creates a beauty that is rustic, unexpected, and truly wonderful. The shadow of this windmill on the blood red barn directly behind it looks as though it could be the cover for a suspenseful and peculiar book. Its eerie feeling is so wonderful and powerful that it is actually incredibly beautiful.

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