Apr 29th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Originally published in March 1998, this article was authored by Mary Ficklen who was a free lance writer.  To the best I can conjure, it appeared in a paper in Dallas, Texas.  She, at the time, lived near Desdemona. She titled the column “The Land has Powerful Pull.”

“Old Dr. Snodgrass did not learn my name.  I was the last of the baby Browns he delivered.

Among old family papers was his note to A.C. Brown for a “girl delivered, 1885′ and a “boy delivered, 1888, $5 each.

He delivered my father, and my father insisted  that he deliver his first child, me.  My mother was still angry about that when I carried my first child.

‘Get a young doctor,’ she told me. ‘ Mine was too old to be delivering babies.’

The bill for my delivery has long since disappeared.  My parents were slow to name me, and the doctor failed to record my birth.

When I was 22, I filed the notarized statements of two women who testified that I was born May 24, and they remembered the year.  In time, I received a birth certificate from the state.  That allowed me to get a passport, and I traveled.

For years, I lived in the city.  Now I’ve come full circle; I live about a mile from my birthplace, two miles from the resting place of my grandparents, parents, husband and Dr Snodgrass.

Why did I return?  Mainly, I suppose, because of the land.  As a child I dug in it, made mud pies of it, wandered on it, watched it change from season to season.  I inherited it, and I was taught not to sell it.  With the land comes the big, ever-changing sky, the thunderstorms, the mother moon.  And My neighbors.  Many of them, too, belong with the land. We’ve neighbored for a hundred years, in some instances longer.

Why do I stay?  So I can walk on the land, smell it, see it, and get turned around on it.

The time will come when I can no longer live alone.  When I join my husband, the land will go to my children.  My younger son played Daniel Boone when he came here to visit his grandparents.  Welcome, Daniel Boone, and your siblings!

I’ve told the Boones that the acreage will come without strings.  If they decide to sell part or all of it, so be it.  Their children are the stuff of the 21st, not the 19th century.  Few of their generation value the look of dawn on a heavy-dew morning or the tickle of dry clods on bare feet in July.

Most of our clan expected to join me fo a party on a Memorial Day weekend.  My sister and her boys, my brother and his family, my children and theirs.  Scattered from Amarillo to Port Mansfield, near Brownsville, we hadn’t shared birthday cake in many years.  The cake had rows of candles, each a symbol of a busy year.  Some have been great years, some were wasted by any standard but mine, some lie heavy on my heart.  All of them were busy, but I’ve survived, even thrived.  And that’s reason enough for celebration.”

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