Old Farm House
By Jacob Hatcher
It’s a simple little house on the outskirts of town. Like so many little houses on the outskirts of so many towns. This afternoon I pulled over and just sat there looking at it for a few minutes. As I sat there, I could have sworn I heard the farmers that once lived there working the land.
Over the rumble of my idling truck motor, I heard a pick axe scraping across a boulder buried by centuries of dirt. Between songs playing on the radio, I heard a rail thin man hollarin’, “whoa mule!” as he turned the plow at the end of a row.
I sat there and saw through what once were windows a mother preparing a hearty lunch. I saw little kids in bare feet and overalls chasing each other around the house. I imagined there once was a porch on the front of that house on which hardworking folks would rock in the cool of the evening and under which dogs would hide from the heat of the day.
For a split second, I thought I saw my own family milling around outside that house. I thought I saw Grandpa Hatcher walking out from behind the house with a milk bucket. I thought I saw Papa bringing the wagon around as he got ready to hang his tobacco crop out to dry.
As much as I love an old two story Greek Revival with kudzu climbing through the second story window, that’s not the kind of house my people haunt. No, my ghosts linger around the simpler things.
The whispers floating on the wind that call my name don’t come from the grand old plantation homes that litter my beloved South; they come from the simple two room sharecropper homes that really built this place. They come from the cotton patches where so many of my people broke their backs and shredded their hands.
And these little houses serve as a reminder to me that, no matter what I do or how far I make it in life, everything I am is because of the blood, sweat, and tears that were shed on farms just like this one.