After her Daddy came back home, she was changed. More mature in ways. Thankful he was back. They became more of a family on that hill. Her mother had grown up only 50 miles away, on a farm in the countryside. Her grandparents were still there. She and her parents visited them often on the weekends, sometimes spending the entire weekend. Sometimes just the day. The other family on the hill, her aunt and uncle, would join them. She was in the fourth grade.
Spending time on the farm was one of the best parts of her childhood. Her grandfather was the most fair and forgiving man. He taught her what men should be like. Her grandmother was a woman before her time. Liberated even then. Calling the shots. She probably got some of her fire and independence from her. But, it was her grandfather she identified with and who she talked with the most.
She was one of the middle cousins in age. Her older cousins were a lot older. She didn’t see them very much or when she did, they saw her as a child. Her younger cousins were either not born yet or still babies. Except for her uncle’s family and he was away in the military. She only saw them once a year. She was most often on the farm alone.
Some mornings, she got up early and went with her grandfather to milk the cows. Other days, he took her in his wagon, pulled by his mules, to his parents farm which seemed far away. It was a beautiful place with the old log cabin still standing. During those times with him, he talked to her about life, people, politics, and most of all, education. Lessons that helped form the rest of her life.
When she stops to think even now, she can see him and hear his laugh. Why do the most important people have to die and leave you?