So, my father called yesterday to tell me that my Grandparents would be having their 70th wedding Anniversary this June 29th. They are amazing. In their 90's, my Grandfather continues to get up at 3:00 in the morning, to feed cattle, and run a full sized ranch. He traded his horse and saddle in about 10 years ago, for a four wheel ATV that was easier to climb up on. Everything to keep his ranch and the only way of life he's ever known. My Grandmother still gardens and cans enough food to feed her family and all our extended families through a Nuclear Holocaust. She has a root cellar that is packed, and feeds the cowboys when they come out of the pastures for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She helps in the hayfields at the end of summer when temperatures can get to 110 degrees. Tough, but still as feminine and ladylike as a woman can be. This has been my families way of life for as long as I can remember. My father ranched, my grandfather, and his father's father before him. My Great, great, grandfather used to drive cattle down to Kansas City then hop the train home. He'd toss a colt revolver in his suitcase, one that still hangs over my grandfathers fireplace. I have an old photo of him, in Angora chaps and a ten gallon hat. My heritage. My Great-great Grandmother's name was Nellie Boone. Going back generations, you can trace our history to the famous frontiersman Daniel Boone. I guess you could say this way of life runs in our blood.
Why does my heart ache?
When I left to go into the Army, I left my home, my family, the only way of life I ever knew, behind. But I was okay with that, I knew there would always be a home to come home to.
During that conversation with my father, I discovered that my Grandparents have been approached about selling the ranch. And with rising taxes and age, it is turning into their only alternative. They could live out their lives comfortably, travel where they want when they want. But to be truthful, it is the ranch that has kept them alive. Not just alive, but living...
My heart aches for them, because the only way of life they understand, is disappearing...
My heart aches for the other ranchers and farmers, some who never finished school, but chose to be what their fathers were, chose to raise their families where kids can run free and be kids, and understand the meaning of a hard days work. My heart aches for the neighbor who is always there to lend a hand and was as close to family as your own brother. I hate to see this way of life disappear, slowly one ranch, one farm at a time, giving way to condos and industry. I hate to see the peace and beauty of a land unscarred by construction, stripped away to make room for factories, housing, highways, and vacation resorts.
Most of all, I hate to see my history for sale.