Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Season(s) of a year or life (01/13/11)
TITLE: GIVING HONOR
By Lisa Fowler
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It was in fall, when maple trees blazed and geese set for migration; when wood smoke played in circles high above the river rock chimney and wafted to the valley below, and mommy pulled tattered quilts from the weather-beaten cupboard, that pop strung a heavy rope from the corner of the house to the top of the old barn door. One of the earliest memories I have of my dear father is during a blinding snow storm, one of the largest in recorded history.
No matter the weather, stock must be fed, an understood and accepted hardship of farming life. Pop never grumbled. He gripped the rope, trudging through a waist deep snow blanket in a blinding whiteout, to reach the barn. After a time, mommy called to him from the window, the only way he knew he was close to the house. This particular day, pop did not appear, nor did he answer mommy’s shouts.
Mommy frantic, bundled in layers and set out to find him. Rope in one hand, shovel in the other, hollering as she went. After a while they returned, frostbitten and weary, pop suffering a broken leg. He recovered but endured repercussions the remainder of his days.
Pop and I were tight and the lessons he taught stuck like pine rosin to dry skin. I learned to be a man not through his words, but by his actions. He nurtured and protected well into the summer of my days. I left the farm, convinced there must be an easier way of life. Years past and as usual, well traveled roads have a way of leading home again.
Time was not a friend to pop, especially in the years after mommy passed. Livestock long gone, his days were now spent in a wooden rocker on the tin roofed porch of the old farmhouse, the company of his aging coon dog at his feet. With eyesight and hearing fading, noticeably thin and disheveled, pop was but a shell of the mighty mountain man I remembered.
The winter of his life turning like tattered pages in the final chapters of a beloved novel, I nurtured and cared for him as he had for me in happier days. By daylight we laughed and reminisced. In evenings I memorized his rhythmic breathing and listened for him to cry out in the night.
As the seasons of a year, so are the seasons of our lives. The springtime of our youth is spent playing and exploring our world. Summer, the summit of our lives, brings budding growth and education. It is during autumn that we propagate and pen our history, and in the brevity of winter, we reap the harvest of our labors and recall the strengths of our youth.
Surely, in light of the seasons of our lives it is easy to understand why the Scripture commands: Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12 (NKJV)
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