• Cara Van Leuven

Pride Please, Not Prejudice

I once slept on my dining room table for six months in the middle of winter into spring in a sunroom in Albuquerque, NM. Yes, my past is colored, but that’s not what this blog is about. It’s about doing absolutely nothing but learning about boats on Saturday when the farmhouse was begging for chores.

When Tom and I returned from our boat excursion in Grafton, Illinois we were exhausted. The sun had been beating down on us and spending time on a 50-foot mini yacht will take it out of you. I was ready to curl up on the couch to take a nap, but Tom was already sprawled out on our picnic table – a table that eerily resembles my dining room table.

So we slept. On a picnic table. In the shade from a big maple.

And a lazy Saturday rolled into Sunday. After working out, we shared breakfast with Pops and Dottye, then I had to hustle to make it to my lesson at East Lake with Paula. Penny was a wild woman – she was asked to temporarily leave the lesson to work some snot out of her. Once we were invited back, the horse was a doll, yet I was exhausted and knew the farmhouse was calling for those forgotten.

How does a house get so dirty? Seriously? This thing is like a magnet for dust and god-knows-what-the-dog-was-doing. As I was scrubbing, dusting and mopping Tom was in the garden shed pulling out lumber and replacing it with cabinets and potter’s soil and tools and shovels.

I’ve started a shade garden with some ferns a friend gave me. Hosta plants will be next and potters will host miniature flower gardens. I’m not interested in the whole vegetable gardening thing. I romanticize it, but know the reality is I just don’t have time. I’m on the fence about chickens. I love the idea of having my own eggs and maybe a robust dinner … maybe I can start a bed & breakfast for city folks who want the country experience.

What I’m discovering, for not just Tom, but myself as well, is that pride is developing in our tasks and devotion to making the farm just right. Although Tom carries a lot of prejudice toward this “project” (I can’t even begin to express how terrible the rehab was. Call it a painted pig), his view is slowly turning.

In six months from now, at summer’s end, what will this story tell? Will there be a horse on the property? Will the barn be erected? Will I have formed close friendships with my neighbors? What will Tom be thinking? I don’t want much – just for us both to be proud of our home and land and decisions.