This is the first summer in my entire life that I haven't spent a significant amount of time at my grandparent's farm. It's one of my favorite places in the world. There is no sense of time there. No stress.
In fact, I have only been back once since the beginning of last August. I was there briefly at the beginning of last December when my parents and I stopped to see my Uncle, cousin and goddaughters on the way to my other uncle's funeral.
Growing up, my bother and I would spend a week at the farm "working" for my grandparents. And while we did a lot of work, we also had plenty of time to play. We spent many days in the bean fields, the garden, the grove, a few adventures in the Boyer River and mowing.
Mowing their place has always been something I've loved to do. As kids, my grandparents had 3 riding lawn mowers...one for each of the grand kids, so we could all mow at once. Then, we would undoubtedly end up chasing each other on them. As I grew older, I loved to mow because it was just you on the mower and it was a great place to think. For hours on end. One of my grandpa's favorite stories to tell was how he looked out one night and I was mowing the apple orchard with the head lights on the mower, because it had gotten too dark out. He'd never seen anyone use the head lights on the mower before and it made him laugh. Really, I was leaving the next morning(to drive back to Chicago) and I was far too stubborn to not finish mowing the yard before I left. But stubbornness, that's a trait I got from him.
As he got older and my grandma was in a nursing home, I always told him I was going to get him a puppy to keep him company. After pestering him about this for a long time, I asked him what he'd name the dog if I brought one home to him. Without a moment's thought, he responded "Nuisance, because that's what it'd be." I died laughing.
Maybe it's the farm. Maybe it's him that I miss. Maybe it's a combination. He was not a perfect man, but he is the person I often have in my mind when making decisions. His approval always meant the world to me. And it still does.