The flood of memories from Spring Hill Farm inspired me to introduce you to Fred. I don’t know his last name,(and he has since passed on) my parents cannot remember either. But he was the inspiration for many of your memories,…and he was Deaf. He was tall and thin and my memories consist of him in faded Levis…working in the stable with sunlight tossing up pieces of hay over the saddles and bridles that lined a small room to the right of the barn entrance. Even though he could not hear, or speak, he played the radio; which even as a child I thought interesting.
One day Fred approached my father with a piece of paper telling him that there was “water under the ground, and to dig for it”. According to the most dramatic story teller I know who happens to be my mother their was a lot of hand flailing and gesticulating but who knows…. I can imagine my practical father holding the paper, looking up and to the side and making the mistake of presenting it to my ever hopeful and magical mother; Who then with a nine year old boy on her hip insisted that they dig, until they hit water….which became the basis for so many of our memories. Weeks later my mother was watching back hoes dig deep into the rich soil, turning over Arrowheads and other Indian artifacts that now line her China Cabinet. And just as Fred said…gentle springs of water began to flow from the sides of the dark clay and fill up what today we recall as the magical place we spent our days. That pond was where I caught my first fish, learned to ice skate, and learned that if you shine a flashlight into a frog’s eye it freezes him long enough to swipe him with a net and make it your pet.
The moral of the story (that is dedicated to my mother who made all these memories) is three parts. First; sometimes the best ideas come from the most silent of places. Secondly; if you dig deep enough it is inevitable that you are going to strike some sort of treasure that lies below the surface. Thirdly; finding faith in the absurd and sharing it with those you love and who believe in you despite stacked odds creates memories and a bond that ripples out like water into how you create your own future.