Sunday, August 23, 2015

"Why, yes. Yes, I am," I always say.

These photos are taken each over a decade apart.
Lucas Grocery was a defining part of Lincoln county, West Virginia for half a century. Off Rt. 10, no one could have driven that route and failed to know his store.
Tiny Lucas, my father, and his sister, Peep, are characters generations to come will talk about: always remembered fondly and missed deeply and never understood completely.
The person I am, the person I feel satisfied with and am happy to be, is partly shaped because this little block building exists.
I miss it, everything it stood for and those who worked inside: I miss the patrons, the signs that covered it, the bread and milk men, the lady who brought "illegal" buttermilk to sell and the fellows delivering newspapers.
I miss the "Tarpin" man (who rescued turtles from the road), "Clydee" and my uncle Virgil.
I miss the time we knew where such a store could thrive and be loved. A store that somehow survived without running water or air conditioning.
I miss the man inside who made Lucas Grocery what we knew it to be. The man who found whatever a customer needed for 50 years. The man who was grouchy and didn't like people, who failed to laugh at much beyond a kitten or guinea fowl now and again, who taped his shoes and had exceptionally wild white hair he let grow too long more often than not. . . who said, "My, my. . .you see?" more than anything else and had "no high days". . . who passed on 50% of the genetics that make me fair on the eyes with a decided wrinkle between the brows I can do little about. . .
No matter where I go, someone stops to say, "You're a girl of Tiny's, aren't you."
He had a lot of those. I'm glad to be one, and really, in a line up, you'd know where I belong.

"Why, yes. Yes, I am," I always say.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

There is really no room for any one else's sadness here. There is simply no room whatsoever.

As you fine folks know, this page has always been about far more than farming. . .it is about everything that led me to "Lucas Farm," to living as it is now, to livestock, to rescue, everything that has saved me and given me purpose. It has been about deep sadness and remarkable change. 

So it is no surprise I share so many stories that have nothing to do with farming but everything to do with Lucas Farm.

This snippet was written in a blog on July 7, 2009 during what had been several very dark years for me. Really, for a long time, I was quite sure I'd never escape the grasp. It nearly swallowed me up, and while I dealt with it quietly and very alone, in the end, I am able to look back from the other side. I don't know the person that was before it all, and that is something I miss, but I thankful I do not know the person who wrote this note anymore, either.

I'm more than a little grateful to be where I am today, but I am hardly the only person that has reached a point of such bleak sadness, and so many of you, knowing my story, reach out so often via email and messaging, so I am aware how important the sharing of this journey is to those who are still out there wading through as best they are able.

So saying there is light at the end of the tunnel is a little cliche, but. . .it seems so,

I preface this with a bit of a backstory. I was in my mid 20's when I wrote this below. My father had passed away at 86 years old. This came on the heels of the deaths of my sister and two younger brothers. The store in question was very much the center of my childhood and was my father's entire mid to latter life's work. The store sat in Lincoln county, WV off Rt. 10 for over 5 decades. It sets there still. . . empty.

"The Store"

My Daddy's store closed forever on the 4th. I went in and got some things today, everything else I left for his sister to sell, to render it empty.

I felt like I was stealing his things, things he'd rather I leave in his store and simply board up. . . but there I was, carrying them, loading them and driving away like a thief in the night. There I was. . . taking my father's things, things he wanted to sell in his store, however long it took. Facts were trumped by feelings. I wish he'd bought the place so many years ago, then everything could have stayed how he left it, covered up, untouched forever, however long "that" proves. How sad it was to take his merchandise, items he had in there for sale, some things for years before I was born, before my mother was born. Some things I had to take for myself, to remember him. . . his old cash registers, his old pet Myna bird mounted when it passed away that hung there above his bed behind his store for nearly 50 years. I took it down for the first time since it was placed there, dusted it. Boxed up. How could I leave it for the people he had leased from for all this time to come in and simply throw away? It hung over his bed for half a century. I took it down. I took it away, along with so many things. . . knowing he'd never have moved them, never approved of the change, and it was almost more than I could bear after everything. It feels like not a soul has any idea what this has been like. How could a single soul imagine it all in its scope, its entirety? Feeling trumpets fact, again. Really, it is just as well I believe that because the truth is I cannot stand anyone else's grief and sadness, even if it is over the same things. I loathe it because I have so much of my own, there is really no room for any one else's sadness here. There is simply no room whatsoever.



Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens

- Proverbs 27:23-27

"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman's cares."

- George Washington