A letter from my dad

Dad sent an email explaining his decision to sell the family farmstead. I think some of the insight into decision making, life, the passage of time and a glimpse of what matters is worth sharing. Hope you all enjoy. There is a bit I left out — but it was more personal and unique to just his kids. However, I did want to include the respect that the new owners of the home appear to have. I think it makes a tough transition less painful and their consideration of the past and the importance this bit of land has to my family is one of the kindest and most human gestures I’ve heard of lately. It’s a nice reminder to me that warmth and understanding defeats almost any doubt. (non-italicized parts are dad, ellipsis means I omitted something).

It’s impossible for me to begin explaining why I decided to sell the place of my youth without mulling over in my mind why I moved back in the first place.  I believe I was always “going home” ever since I left to work for Lockheed and retirement and a little financial success finally made it easy to do.  But there were lots of other reasons too, like:  wanting my family to better understand me and my history and my absolute respect for folks who work the land; wanting to build a place that my Mama would be really proud of; wanting to build a place that your Mama would be proud to live in and wanting my children to love the same kinda things that I love.  But the biggest reason was probably to come back and do the things that I loved when I was growing up and be closer to family and old time friends.
….
However, like everywhere and with everybody, things change – friends die, family changes, and age creeps in behind our skin and changes the way we view and are viewed.  I woke up one morning and discovered that I no longer LOVED to work the garden and keep up the fences or clean around the pond – it was a depressingly painful chore.  Keeping up my little Shangri-La was no longer what I wanted to do and certainly not what my family wanted to do.  What to do, what to do – I could just let it go back to nature and plant everything in trees, I could do a pissy job of keeping it up for a few more years or I could sell it to someone who thought it was a thing of beauty, a work of art, and let them live here and love it and keep it up.
…..
I was lucky – I sold the place of my youth to a family who Love’s it and will take care of Mama and Daddy’s home and my work of art.  The new family has a plaque on the front door that says “Padgett Homestead – Circa 1948” and the pond will be called  “Ray’s Pond”.  I believe their respect for our history and love of this place will be something that my grandparents, my parents, and my family would be proud of.

(Me too, dad, and I know that what you’ve created would make your mama and your daddy proud. Thanks for sharing your dreams and your struggles. The road goes ever on — enjoy the adventure.)

4 responses to “A letter from my dad

  1. Wow! Your Dad makes everything better. I so appreciate your family sharing with me and my family this sanctuary. My memories of the farm will forever give me a place to go for quiet and rest. Ray and Sandra will no doubt create a new space filled with warmth and welcome. I look forward to falling in love all over again. Thanks for sharing Julia.

  2. People sometimes said that you were a wordsmith because of me. (I do talk a lot). But it is clear that your Dad’s genes came through. You certainly got his sensitivity and heart. What a man! What a daughter! I am the luckiest girl (woman) in the world!

  3. Yes, he does write beautifully, and like Julia is good at telling a story and giving a sense himself through his words. You are very lucky to have both your parents, Julia. They sound like lovely people. I wish I could have been on the Padgett farm to visit since I feel that I have come to know this place through the descriptive writing and pictures you have shared.

  4. Kimbre, I wish you had visited the farm. You will love Mentone. Also to all my girls. We are moved into Duncan’s house which is 2 blocks from the circle in DeFuniak Springs where 3 million lights decorate the lake with Christmas themes. Ray and I had very expensive scotch with the new farm owner last evening. He would welcome any of Julia’s friends. He is a magnificent wonderful man. 55 and single.

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