the prodigal processes

Posted: April 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

I never did like growing up on the farm.  Dirt, plants, animals.  Such a slow, simple life.  Where was the adventure in it?  Where was my opportunity to know more of the world than the family acreage?  My friends whose parents were merchants had more exciting lives.  The world  came to their doorstep – people from all walks of life.  The stories they heard – and shared with me – were the highlights of my days.  The world was not this small, ordinary place – the only place I had ever known.  It was big!  Full of life and music and color!  There were other ideas out there – not the same old plodding logic that I heard at the dinner table every night.  How could I stay on the farm and never experience any of those things? 

I tried to make my parents understand.  Shared with them my visions, my passion for something greater than farm life.  Dad was quiet and stern.  Mom’s mouth always drew down into a tight, small line when I started.  She would look away and sigh.  And if I kept talking, pushing past those warnings?  She’d burst out abruptly, changing the subject with her eyebrows furrowed.  She just didn’t want to hear it.  She didn’t understand me at all. 

And then there was my brother.  The “good” brother.  No imagination at all.  So satisfied living the same old cycle, day in, day out.  So content to sit at dinner talking about the day’s work or the health of the heard or next summer’s crops.   Always talking down to me about my dreams – he had given up on dreaming before he had ever gotten started.  He was a nice enough guy, but…no vision.  No zest for life.  No desire to find something new in life.  Boring.

As I got closer to being of age, I got desperate.  This little rural place felt like walls closing in around me.  Surely there was more to life than working the land and marrying the neighbor’s daughter?  Surely.  I left Mom alone about it – I wasn’t out to upset her.  But I talked to Dad, quietly, every chance I got.  I would never see ANYTHING but these fields, without his help.  I needed funds for the adventure.  I wanted – NEEDED – to do this thing.  Needed to live life a little before settling down into the chains of ordinary existence. 

I didn’t think the old man would ever change his mind.  Sure, I talked to him about it, but really?  He was so impassive.  So unmoving.  I was probably sentenced for life already.  Adventure was probably beyond my grasp.  Still, I pushed.  And pushed. And pushed.  Just in case, you know?  Anything could happen!  Maybe he would relent. 

Still, the day he started selling off animals to raise the funds for my half of the inheritance – that was weird.  I almost couldn’t bring myself to hope that it was true.  It took me all afternoon to work up the nerve to ask.  When I did, he just shook his head curtly.  “Yeah, boy, you’re gonna get your adventure.”  He turned and walked away and I was left reeling.  There was no one to celebrate with – everyone else around this place WANTED to be here.  They couldn’t see what I saw.  They didn’t know how to dream.  Still, freedom was on the horizon!  

The irony of eventually ending up working on a pig farm…meh.  Just too much. 

  1. laurie says:

    such a good story teller – love this and the details, angles, viewpoints – thank you!! Enjoy your weekend.

    • karen says:

      Thanks, Laurie, for the encouragement. It is great fun, watching it unfold. Each time that I sit down to write, I have no idea who is going to be speaking!

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