2008-02-10

Reddyville


This house above belonged to my great great grandfather. (Specifically: my mother's father's mother's father.) He was a dry farmer in southeast Idaho. My grandpa spent his childhood summers at this house. Every year, soon after Salt Lake schools let out, grandpa's dad would take the whole family up, and they would spend the summer living there on the farm.

It's hard to imagine what it looked like back in those days. Grandpa reports that It was probably 20 feet by 30 feet altogether. They stayed up in the attic, which was divided into two rooms by blankets hung from a line: boys on one side, girls on the other. They played in the creek, despite the admonitions of their aunt. They searched for lost cows and occasionally milked some. They rode the plow team with long willow switches at the ready to keep the team working together.

Sounds idyllic, doesn't it? Though I dearly love my modern amenities: plumbing, electricity, internet, a big part of me yearns to have spent my summers on a farm like that.

The very real irony for me is that I've driven past this house hundreds and hundreds of times, barely cognizant of its existence. My extended family mostly resides in Salt Lake, while I grew up and consider myself from southeast Idaho. Every single time I've made the trip from Idaho to Salt Lake and back (and in my adult years, the reverse trip), I've passed that house at 75 miles an hour without any thought.

I suppose that intellectually I was aware of its presence, as my mom told me about it on more than one trip while I was engrossed in my GameBoy or some book. It wasn't until I actually sat down with Grandpa and saw this picture that I really thought about the connection of this land to my own life. Driving past it now, you'd think it was unremarkable; the farmland lies fallow and desolate along perhaps the straightest 30 mile section of interstate you've ever seen. And yet, this very land kept my grandpa entertained for months on end.

You can never overestimate the value of knowing where you come from.