Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Honor Your Father

Recently I spent 3 days in southern Missouri with my friend Jill and her sister, Nancy.  The purpose of the trip was  to finalize their dad's estate and settle the trust that he left to the 4 siblings. My only purpose in going along was to keep Jill company on the long drive. 

Upon his death, their dad left 1000 acres of pristine farm land to his children.  Their initial thought was to keep the land and the farmhouse and make it a family retreat.  But as the years went on, they realized that traveling from Colorado and Chicago to an area without a commercial  airport was just a dream.  Their children were adults now, and not interested in traveling to such a remote area of the country----especially without Internet, GPS, and cell phones.  Yet, heart strings were  tugged and the fact that this land had been in the family for over three generations stayed on their minds. Their father spent his life buying property adjacent to the farm, just so it would remain pristine and untouched.  So what was the solution- how to honor their father and his wishes, yet be practical in this day and time.  Finally, a solution was found.  The state purchased much of the land to maintain because of a relatively rare species of plant growing on it.  A local business man purchased some of the land to run cattle on, as it was also adjacent to his land.  And the sister that really wanted to keep the farm, inherited  a  portion of land and the farmhouse. 
After  all this was finalized, we cooked dinner at the farmhouse and talked about family memories.  ( how rare to chat for 4 hours !!!  No TV, no Internet, no cell phone).  Drawing upon my own experience from growing up in a rural area, I asked the sisters what foods and recipes were family favorites?? I didn't get a lot of answers from them- possibly chicken and dumplings and custard pie.  I  just couldn't figure it out- my family gathered every Sunday just to eat and my aunts fought over who made the best fried chicken!!.  So what drew their family together - here in such a beautiful rural part of the country??? And I finally figured it out- it was simply "the love of the land". Their father was an architect and loved to design. He designed many of the buildings in town.  All of his children inherited some of his talent.   Jill's sister and brother are both landscape architects. Her sister, Patty, a designer,   has created a beautiful garden at her home  in Colorado. While Jill's career has been in retail, she has a keen eye for design and loves gardening and home design. 

Jill's father constantly reminded his children that "there is not a more beautiful spot in the world" than this part of Missouri.  And I have to agree-----

Sunrise from the back porch

Early morning fog

The old rose growing on the fence

The patch of irises that Jill's mother planted years ago.

The old swimming hole

The old mill where their grandparents took their wheat to be ground.

The state park where they played and picnicked as kids


                       The commemorative garden planted for their mother - in town by the library.

Two close sisters digging up a few of their mother's irises to plant in their gardens back home.

Closing and locking that fence for the last time-

Back down that gravel road to the paved road- for the last time------

Life moves on whether we want it to or not.  Yet our core values are formed from our past experiences.  And their dad left them a strong legacy- A deep seated  love of the land and home.

Jill is starting to plan her new home in South Carolina- and the landscaping and design is a major part of the project.  Nancy is returning back to Colorado- ready to tackle a remodel project on her home- just so she doesn't have to leave her beautiful gardens.  She has created these breathtaking gardens  and I would never leave them either.  

Absolutely a work of love- wouldn't you say! Awesome job Nancy!  I can't believe the amount of love that you put into that garden.

After three hard years of dealing with lots of unexpected issues, the estate is finally settled.
I think their dad would say they did a great job of honoring his wishes. 



MarmePurl said...

The Love of the Land casts a strong hold.
Beautiful place. Both the farm and the garden.

Christy said...

Loved this story! Heartwarming and meaningful!

Peggy said...

Let me first say that I love your beautiful blog and check it often...while looking a your pictures this evening, I came to the old mill...took a second and third look thinking it had to be Alley Springs...went back and read about your trip to Missouri...isn't it a beautiful place? We go there quite husband is from the Ozarks and the mill was actually started by some of his family. How nice of you to accompany your friend on such an emotional trip to such a gorgeous part of the country...and thanks for a lovely blog.

Anonymous said...


At Rivercrest Cottage said...

I love all your posts, but this one was especially moving. Those gardens are an inspiration to all of us with newly built houses and just lawns. We are slowly removing the grass and hoping to have just half the yard she does!