Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Alpha and Omega Boys - Part Three

Adele continued to weave through the potholes by memory as she gazed across the field to her old house. It had been closed up last fall when Adele finally convinced Gracie to move into the farmhouse. Gracie, her husband and their son lived there for quite a few years after Adele had moved back into the farmhouse. It felt fitting for Gracie to live there as she and her husband had been coming to help at the farm for almost thirty years.

At nineteen years young, Gracie had arrived at the Baker’s Indiana farm with her new husband, fresh excitement and ready to work for the summer before moving on to the next farm that needed them, most likely farther south. They followed that routine for several years before the Baker’s asked if they would stay over into the fall and winter months.

The makeshift shacks that the farm workers usually stayed in wouldn’t suffice for the colder months, as many didn’t have any heating or cooling systems. Running water and clean toilets were maintained by the Baker’s, and many of the workers didn’t mind the fresh farm air flowing in the windows of the temporary homes. Some worked hard, others had to be asked to leave before the season was done because they weren’t working well enough or getting along with the other workers.

Adele and her growing family had just moved into their new house on the east end of the field, and so Gracie and her husband got the trailer. During the colder months, they helped keep up with the barns and update the machinery. They worked hard during that time, too, having grown to care for the Baker’s like a part of their own family. One fall, Gracie invited some of her relatives to come and see their new home in the States. The parties were loud and joyful, filled with children, music and interesting foods. The Baker’s were only able to let them stay awhile in the worker’s shacks, but Gracie’s family didn’t mind. They talked about that week for years afterwards.

Gracie had one son. He was a strong boy and her husband was proud of him. The boy inherited his father’s knack for mechanics and was often found “fixing” something from the barn’s piles of forgotten machinery. The boy was able to attend the local public school and easily received a scholarship to a nearby college. The day he left for college, Gracie and her husband wept. He was the first from their family to even go to college. He lasted two years, but soon found his real passion in mechanics. After leaving school, his family’s work ethic was seen as he worked days and went to trade school at night, quickly making a name for himself in a city about an hour away. The boy opened his own shop and named it “Gracie’s Gears” out of respect for his family. He took some ribbing for it, but knew that if it weren’t for his family’s life choices, he would have never had such an amazing opportunity.

Then just last fall, Gracie’s husband died after a sudden heart attack, Adele and Gracie had grown to be very close over the years and now, with their husbands passing in similar ways, they found even more comfort in each other’s friendship. Adele asked many times if Gracie would like to move into the farmhouse but Gracie needed to stay at the ranch house for a while yet. It wasn’t until the boys came to live there when Gracie changed her mind.

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