Good Friday morning ...
For some reason the season of autumn reminds me of home.
Home for me as a boy was a small family farm on Taylor Road located in the Hodges Ferry area of Norfolk County. A two-lane, tar-and-chip road took you from the main highway at Kirchimeier's Store straight west to our little plot of farm ... just before the road turned right across Drum Creek and to the railroad tracks and Pughsville beyond. The mailman delivered our mail to the large mailbox at the end of our lane marked Route 2 Box 292. To me it was simply home.
One of the things you learn at an early age on the farm is patience. The lesson comes about naturally, especially when you are one of seven children (I was number four).
When you are one of seven you learn to wait your turn. Patience was expected. Rites of passage came with age and until you had attained a certain age, you were not privileged to participate in certain activities.As you would expect, the oldest got the most privileges. One had to wait for his or her turn to benefit from those privileges.
Patience was an every day lesson. Before you could play or do the things you wanted to do ... there were chores that had to be done. There were animals to be fed and watered, eggs to be gathered, a cow to be milked, thundermugs to be emptied, trash to be burned ... and, before the day even got under way, beds to be made. There were tables to be set and cleared, dishes to be washed, clothes to be retrieved from the clothesline and later folded and put away. These were every-day, year-round chores ... even during the school year.
In season, there were more chores: weeds to be pulled, rows of vegetables to be hoed, vegetables to be picked, cleaned and processed for canning or freezing; there were berries to be picked, corn to be shucked and beans to be shelled; there were chicken coops to clean out, barns to muck, a hay and feed barn to keep clean and rat-free. There was grass to mow, fence rows to keep cut, barbed-wire fencing to repair and pine straw to be gathered for roosting hens.
Farm life, even on a small family farm, is busy. There is always something going on, but there is also plenty of time to have fun. That's why patience in that environment is such a virtue.
You get to grow up on the greatest playground there is, full of wide-open spaces as far as you can see from your front or back door. There are places to hide, secret paths to explore, and lots of space to let your imagination run wild ... plotting military maneuvers against an approaching "enemy," planning a surprise attack on an adjacent farm, or just chasing birds by yourself in one of the fenced-in pastures.
With patience in your back pocket, you got to do all these things and more ... after the chores were completed, of course.
It was a blessing to be raised in a home were parental expectations were simple but high. My parents, both of whom were raised on farms in southern Alabama, never expected more of you than you could handle, but they always expected your compliance. And generally, they got it ... once the lesson on patience was learned.
One of the things you learn at an early age on the farm is patience. That lesson has served me well through the years. Even in retirement ... when my chores are done, I get to play.
"I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. " [Ephesians 4:1-3]
Have a blessed weekend in the Lord ... practicing patience while you complete your weekend chores.