Not For Sale
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They fled the city because of its violence and inhumanity. No one cared for anyone else. Children gunned down by gang bangers. Women attacked and raped. Theft rampant. With the government in thrall to special interests and the police focused on confiscating firearms from law-abiding citizens, the broken windows theory prevailed.
In that first year in the country they realized they had no idea what they’d gotten themselves into. Mother, Father, their two little girls under six: they only knew life had to be better than before.
They’d scraped money together to purchase a small farm in foreclosure and found the funds to buy several cows and a brood of chickens. The property sat at the dead end of a dirt road far removed from their rural neighbors.
Their attempt at farming that initial season proved futile, as they’d begun too late. Plants grew but yielded no fruit. The cows gave little milk and the chickens laid only a couple eggs a week. The family was forced to spend their meager reserves on food – a major setback in their plans.
After discussing the situation Mother got a job in town that fall while Father continued to work the farm and care for the children. With gas prices high the ten-mile commute each way drained much of Mother’s wages.
In contrast to their economic fortunes the children thrived. The sun and fresh air, romping with the cats in the open fields, learning how to tend the animals, the peace and lack of any external threat, all contributed to a pleasing attitude in the children that Mother and Father had never witnessed. The time was bittersweet given the dynamics of their situation.
Winter came early with snow falling heavily before Thanksgiving. Father kept their long gravel drive cleared with the used snowblower he bought, but the county often lagged behind in clearing their access road. It began causing Mother to arrive late to work.
When January arrived the worst of the snows hit. Day after day the grey clouds pressed down and winter closed in. A big snow hit on Wednesday night. That next morning Father struggled to make a path for the car, but when he got to the road he knew it was useless. Drifts from the blowing wind covered the road far higher than their vehicle could manage. The mailman couldn’t get through and the family huddled through the weekend watching the trees whip back and forth. Missing church was the worst part for them, as they loved to gather with others and worship the Lord. Finally late Monday morning the plow came. Their call and complaint to the county road commission fell on deaf ears. The county had priorities and their road wasn’t one of them.
That very same week, Thursday night this time, another blizzard came roaring through. Same problem. No mail. No church. No work for Mother. No plow until Monday. Same deaf county response. It was getting old.
The next Sunday on which they were able to attend church, they mentioned their dilemma to one of their new friends. He nodded, said he’d been in that very same situation, and told them what to do.
Two weeks later another snow came down as though dumped from the storehouses of heaven. They weren’t going anywhere this weekend either apparently, and Mother’s employer wasn’t helping any. His lack of understanding had led him to put Mother on probation. Any more missed days that winter and she was gone.
They had nothing to lose and immediately called the county. The clerk answering the phone gave Father the same runaround answer. She was about to cut him off when Father said, “We have livestock.”
The change in the clerk’s attitude was nothing short of miraculous. She immediately apologized, said he should have told her earlier, and promised a plow within the hour. Forty-five minutes later, there it was, clearing their little dead end road.
That was the key. It seemed that animals were more important than humans.
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