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Another Day in the Country

Words for remembering

© Another Day in the Country

Often I find myself without pen and paper when I hear some words that resonate with me.

They have a certain wisdom that I want to remember. I could just take them to heart by listening attentively, but as years progress, I find that I forget the exact wording, and wording is so important to a writer — and a reader.

The gist just isn’t good enough, so what do I do? I send myself a text. I’ve been doing this kind of note-taking since I got my intelligent phone. (Smart can be such an overused word.) 

Actually I’ve decided to pass on some of those wise words, just in case they are useful to others — like readers of this column, for instance.

I’ve recently gone through those texts to see whether the words are still useful — in my opinion, of course.

I decided to share one of those texts in this week’s column. Something to ponder: “Dreaming is truth that happened only to the soul.” 

Maybe those words, that idea, grabbed my attention because we’re in an era in which “truth” often is difficult to ferret out and shows up more often as opinion. 

Then again, maybe what actually resonated so strongly was the word “dreaming” because I’ve been contemplating the nature of dreaming — not the kind that happens when you sleep at night (although that could be the kind of dreaming that sentence refers to), but the kind of dreaming that occurs when one is planning ahead, dreaming of what could be. 

Rather suddenly, I realized that I don’t do that kind of dreaming very much anymore. I’m not doing 10-year goals, for instance.

If someone asked, “Where do you want to be in five years?” I’d probably grin and say, “Alive!” But even that goal has a caveat — “if I’m healthy.” 

I’m sure this lack of goal-setting dreaming comes because of my age. I’ve pretty much decided that my dreaming days are over, or at least immensely curtailed by time available.

It’s also because of my dad. Much to my frustration, Dad didn’t let age, lack of time, or even lack of mobility stop him from dreaming.

For many years, he had this dream of a little house in the country, a mini farm, where he and Mom could live out their years in retirement.

That dream came true, and then it became quite clear, at least to us, that his health was declining. We’d always known that without him in the picture, Mom would never stay out in the country alone.

It always amazed me that he’d lived with her for 60-plus years and hadn’t figured that out.

Beyond not liking to be alone on the farm, she also wouldn’t like living alone in a town without one of her daughters nearby.

So, debilitated by heart disease, coming to the end of his life, Dad decided to pursue his dream of building a house in town for Mom.

He’d evidently been mulling over his plan for a long time and didn’t want anyone to stop him.

“No women allowed,” he demanded when he contacted a local contractor to visit him on the farm.

We started objecting, but Mom would never buck him. He dismissed our concerns and proceeded.

We had tried through the years to talk Mom and Dad into moving closer to where we lived.

Dad would act halfway interested, send me on all kinds of expeditions to find out the facts — “wild goose chases,” I dubbed them after a while.

Nothing was ever right, so we said, “I guess we’ll have to wait until the tents fold.”

The tents were folding when Dad commissioned a new house — and then, when hospitalized, he couldn’t come home without extra care hired. The tents had folded.

By necessity, we brought them to Ramona to care for them, and I vowed that I never would dream impossible dreams when I was 80, creating havoc for my kids.

We had to sell that newly completed house in Silverton, Oregon, along with a farm where they were living in the country — a lot of long-distance work from Ramona. It took months.

We arranged for the sale of the house in town through the contractor. We finally, and sadly, sold the farm, and on the day it was done, Dad died.

So I’ve tried to be what I call realistic with anything approximating long-term plans. But am I? Perhaps I’m short-changing myself by not dreaming.

This is why I’ve been pondering dreams. No, not building more houses, but for years I’ve been dreaming of turning the garage at our house in California into an apartment.

We started, then stalled. The house is small, and the garage always has been a storage shed.

Perhaps there are more realistic dreams I can discover — truths for my soul, and mine alone, that I could still pursue, on another day in the country.

Last modified Feb. 9, 2023

 

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