Sunday, August 22, 2010

Canned Time

My son got back from a summer spent with family in Kansas on Thursday the 19th of August. I'm glad he's home. He brought me something very, very important..... two jars i'd left behind in April of 2009 on my first trip back to Kansas after a 4+ year hiatus. I'd stayed away since my grandfather "Papa" passed away in 2005. The farm had gotten claimed by the state of Kansas for eminent domain so they could expand a highway prior to my grandfather being diagnosed with terminal cancer. It was hard for me to not hate the state of Kansas and want to storm Topeka with molotov coctails in hand. I'm just glad Papa got to spend his last days on that farm. Anyhow, back to the jars....I couldn't bring those jars with me when it was time to go home to California. My luggage was overweight as it was already, and so I left them in an upstairs room of my parents old house, tucked away in a drawer of an antique dresser. You may be wondering what is in these jars, well i'll tell you now. One jar is packed full of rich, dark, wet Kansas earth from the family farm...from "Goombie" and "Papa's" farm. (Goombie is my grandma, it's what we call her). In the other jar, there is a good amount of rocks and pebbles from the driveway that swooped out to rural route #1, highway 61 from the farmhouse. Rocks and pebbles i'd played in for years growing up. I made roads for my "Buddy L" trucks and "Matchbox" cars with a flat shovel, driving cars all day in the hot summer sun, taking frequent kool-aid breaks inside with Goombie. I played G.I. joes out there too....all day long. Rocks and Dirt, yup.
 I opened up that jar of dirt today, and it was still wet, strong with the smells that i remember. Fragrant. Strong. Rich. Pure. I grew up in that dirt. I saw Papa work in it, farm wheat in it, grow an amazing garden in it, chase grandkids out of it, lay dogs to rest in it, and most of all grow a family out of it. I could smell the thunderstorm rain in that jar. I was overwhelmed and tears welled up in my eyes as soon as that sweet smell hit my lungs and filled the whole of me with it's magic contents.
 I realized that as far as possessions are concerned, these two jars are the most valuable things I have to my name. I could lose all other earthly possessions, and wouldn't be nearly as upset as i'd be if I lost these jars.
 They are my time capsules, my snow-globes. I took that dirt out and held it, and it was as if Papa was holding my hands. For a time, all of my family was mended as i squished it between my fingers. For a time, my family had no loss, no disease, no hurt, no death, no divorce, no distance. That dirt bore witness to better times, but maintained even in sad times, even today, on this good day. I thank God for these memories, and for my family, and for the chance that I was born into this farm experience. It has changed my life for the better. I'll chase fireflies outside at night on that farm again. I'll climb the front yard tree on that farm again. I'll turn on that hand well and cool myself down on that farm again. Someday.....


  1. Amazing. I can't even tell you how much I enjoy reading this. I've read it a ocuple times already... <3

  2. Thank you John for sharing that, it was very touching.
    I myself have a jar of memories. My grandfather used diesel soaked woodchips as firestarter for the woodburning stove in their house in Wyoming. After he passed I collected a jar of those woodchips and every time I smell them I remember him, my grandmother and that house. :]