Yep, that's me on what used to be my family farm. That was the first time I had seen that piece of my family history in over a decade, but it no longer belongs to our family.
This last minute road trip to Huntsville, Alabama is what challenged me to ask some difficult questions and come up with some even more difficult answers; confirming some of my already existing thoughts, leading me to some new perspectives, and igniting my fire to take on the huge task of leaving the city life of Chicago to acquire my piece of paradise on the countryside.
It was early August of 2017, and after an 8-hour drive to drop off a relative at Alabama A&M, I wasted no time heading down the street, just west of campus, to the farm that I had grown up visiting my Great Aunt Mattie and Uncle Joe, who have gone on to be with The Lord for some time now. Although I didn't know the address, I didn't have much trouble finding it. That long driveway, leading up to the homestead and the church on the left has been forever etched in my mind. (That church owns the property now, by the way).
I walked around a bit to see what remained, and tried to envision how it all looked the last time I was there. I even tried to image how it looked at the turn of the 20th century. I could picture my forefathers getting up at the break of dawn to tend to their daily chores around the farm. (I'd trade that commute for Chicago's any day). I could even remember Uncle Joe sitting on the porch twiddling wood; the chicken coop, cows, and fruit trees to the west of the house. And who could forget the infamous tire swing in the back?
The house had been torn down the previous year. The fencing which used to contain the cows, now held some horses, and the old garage in the back was still standing. I didn't expect the old tire swing to be there, but, it was worth a look.... NO LUCK!!
After taking it all in, knowing that I was legally trespassing, I headed across the field to the church to introduce myself, and insure that nobody felt the need to call the cops or pull out their shotgun. What happened once I got to the church was something that I had not anticipated at all.