Friday

The Times They Are A Changing (411 words)


The rumble of thunder echoing across the valley reminds me of the old man. "There's a storm a coming son." That's what he used to say, claimed he could smell it coming. I never doubted him for a minute.

He lived in these fields, used to say he had been in them since before he could walk, played in them when he were a boy and worked them relentlessly after leaving school at fifteen. The longest he had been away from them, the only time he had been away from them, was during the war.

He never spoke about his time overseas, but sometimes, when the poppies came through in the hedgerows you would catch him staring out to the horizon, tears streaming down his face.

He was a product of a different age, preferred the old ways, working the harrow by horse, harvesting by scythe. "Hard work'll keep you honest son." That's what he always told me. He was a man of few words, never claimed to be a thinker but he always had a piece of advice for you. I liked that about him.

I miss the old boy, sure he infuriated me at times but he taught me a lot over the years and I've tried to pass that down to my son. I guess he looks at his old dad the same way I did mine, a relic, a fossil, an antique, surplus to requirements.

He talks at me about gps, crop yields and long term forecasts, and all I can think is "Them clouds look awful heavy."  Maybe the old man had it right; we don't even got a horse anymore. I shouldn't have let that happen, the harrow is at the back of the barn. The kid reckons to sell it, says it'll make a fortune on ebay. People don't even go to real life auctions these days, how do they meet folk?

I can't even remember the last time there were a dance round these parts. That's where the old man met ma and that's where I met Lily, god rest her soul. The kid met his wife at college. Proudest day of my life was when he graduated, I know it hurt him to come back and work the fields with me but that's what we do and that's what his boy'll do as well.

God only knows what the future holds but the farm will always be here one way or another.


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