So Saturday turns into one of those really great days for a ride. Yes, I hadn't mowed the yard yet but there was still Sunday.
The wife was out with her mom doing the yard-sale thing so I decided to just take off on the scoot. I sent the wife a quick text to tell her where I was and took out on Stella. I have to admit I wasn't headed for where I wound up.
For those who ride, you know what I mean by just heading out to ride and test your sense of direction. AKA, just going to see where you would wind up. Today, I wound up RIGHT on memory lane. And I have to admit not all of them were good ones.
I decide to ride on the west side of town. Mainly due to the fact that that's where I am most familiar with the back roads, and second because hey who needs a second reason.
I head out one road, randomly take a left, randomly take a right, consider where I am, vaguely consider where I want to end up and head in that general direction. I usually have a pretty good internal compass so I was pretty sure where I was but then I round the corner and I'm on a farm out in the country that my Dad once farmed.
[ NOTE: For those of you who don't know my father passed away in 2005. I had the best Dad anyone could ever have, and I'll fight anyone thinks otherwise... ;-) .]
I know that he worked this farm because I too worked this farm. I think we started working it when I was in the sixth grade. I remember it being the first time I had ever worked in tobacco and remember being so short getting I would feel lost in the middle of the patch because I couldn't see over the tobacco (and will admit to being just a little scared about it).
I remember this being the place where my grandfather handed me his shotgun and told me to shoot it at this groundhog in the soybean field. That was the first time I had held a shotgun and remember being so pumped with adrenaline that I don't think I aimed very well. I remember my grandfathers smile and chuckle at my boyish exuberance. I still have that shotgun now even though I no longer hunt. It reminds me of him and of good times.
I remember when my father thought that the tobacco hands were not getting back from their break quick enough and what he did to speed them up. It was nothing mean, but it was humorous.
I remember the laughter, I remember the sweat, I remember the dirt in my teeth and hair and clothes. I remember how good it felt to take that long shower at the end of the day and how GOOD it felt to be clean after that good day's work.
I don't know who farms that land now. I do know there is a nice looking house there that wasn't before. The small empty house that we sat in the shade of to eat our lunch is still there, but barely. The barns that we hung tobacco in is no longer there. Several of the trees I remember are gone too. Time does still pass.
It's amazing how memory works. It amazes me how a memory is not just a picture in your mind, but smells and sounds and feelings. How no matter the distance you are from them some still sting. Some make you laugh uncontrollably. Some make you weep.
I'm sure this won't be the last time I ride into a memory like this. At least I hope not. I'll keep you posted.