It’s the time of year when a lot of city kids get their annual taste of the country life as they pack up and head to a pumpkin farm. They see tractors, people in overalls, crawl around on hay, go for a wagon ride.
Farms have always had a special meaning to me. For starters, my mom was raised on one. Actually, a couple. In my early years, our trips back to South Dakota to visit her side of the family always included a swing by Grandma & Grandpa Brandner’s farm, as well as a visit to a cousin’s farm. I got to sit on a tractor and ride around with Grandpa (and we have the home movies to prove it), ride in the back of a truck for the nightly round-up of cattle, feed the chickens, collect eggs and so on. When you grow up with that, you just assume everyone has relatives with farms and they get to go visit them.
Both relatives with farms didn’t just live on large chunks of land, but they were working it. Growing crops, raising hogs, cattle or chickens. My cousin Clay took over his family’s farm and still grows crops on it, but has to maintain a second job because farming is just not what it used to be. Not that it was ever easy.
I remember going back to South Dakota the year after my grandparents sold their farm and moved into town. During several visits, we’d take the sentimental drive out to their old place and remember. This past summer, we managed to pull off a swing back to South Dakota and we went to the site of the farm. But the home was long gone. There was a new structure, new barn and it was just not the same.
I was reminded of that farm this past week because my mom & sister visited from California, their first time up here in 9 years and mom brought along this flyer. It was something that was printed up before the auction, when everything on the farm was sold. You think about all those years of working sun up to sundown and then, one day, it’s all put up to the highest bidder. I thought you’d get a kick out of how they worded some of the items. For example, the location: “at the place two miles south of Roscoe.” To help encourage attendance, “Lunch will be served.”
There was a time. There was a farm. Then one day, there was an auction and the farm began its fade into history. Fortunately, someone in a plane managed to grab an aerial shot of it one time, so we’ll be able to look back and remember.
I also know that, if they ever figure out that time-travel thing, I’ve already got my first destination planned out.
Emma & Emil Brandner’s Farm 1942-1966