Change can be good

Of late, I am reminded of the Irish motto, “You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.”
Grandpa Drennan wasn’t known for his height, but he did have a mighty soul stocked with discipline and work ethics that measured hands above any draft horse of his day.
And if 13 months ago, an Irishman had bet that by now I’d be leaning towards changing the face of this old farm—no matter how tall my grandfather was—I’d surely have flat-stared the bloke to under the ruins of Blarney Castle, shaking my head in disbelief that I would ever consider such nonsense.
After all, I was living at the gathering place of my childhood. What possible reason would possess me to change it?
Like a page from an old storybook, I wanted to leave things the way they were—albeit more organized and with new paint.
For a long time I adamantly preached preservations of countless details . . . believing many things should look and be as they always were in all those years.
Then in March, I wrote in my column that I’d moved on and stepped over the threshold of accountability to a place where I could be a lantern to the past and know that it was still okay to forge my own path.
But I didn’t really do that.
Sure, I spent the summer cleaning up farm debris and clearing more area where grass could grow and make work for the grass-cutter. But I didn’t want to make any major changes.
I would rather old, dilapidated buildings be left as they were, much to the disappointment of my husband, whose patience was exemplary in the face of such a stalemate.
I was afraid if things really changed, my past would fade away, lose its identity, and I would forget.
When a loved one dies, we keep all sorts of things close to our hearts for memories’ sake.
You keep an old shirt, he a ball cap, another a favourite piece of jewellery. Sometimes you just leave their bedroom alone for a very long time because if you keep the door closed, yesterday remains.
Or, like me, you want to keep the farm status quo and, therefore, do what we’ve always done and get what we’ve always gotten.
Then, in mid-August, the winds of change stepped in and left Pete with a foot injury and a short-term disability that—by mid-October—will have totalled 10 weeks off of work.
Having him home for more than 55 days so far has had its challenges for the wife and some of those days—complete with tickets to the moon—are best left for another story.
Today, I want to thank him for all he’s done around here since he’s been home. And I want him to know that I am glad for his insistence that some things must change and we must grow on into our own design—no matter how tall my grandfather was.
Pete’s vision for this old farm often has met with more resistance from me than he deserves, and building on his own dream of improvements here is long overdue without so much interference from the peanut gallery living for yesteryear.
I’m always going to have a soft spot for leaving old barn doors on rickety hinges and 60-year old windows intact in the porch. But change is a good idea and—no matter the change—I will never forget.
As for a clear line of sight to the creek from the kitchen window, free of light poles that resemble railway crossing lights, I win.
And I will call on Oscar Wilde’s saying, “What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise,” when I am standing in the basement, surveying with a scowl the piles of upended boxes of nails, countless scattered tools, and the like, and grumbling under my breath, “Once upon a time, I had this place so neat and tidy.
“And then came Man.”
I’ll also remember that on his way to the barn is my husband, who is building me a stairway so that I may climb safely to the hayloft.
Thanks Pete.

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