The Ottumwa Courier


May 22, 2013


The names so familiar. The faces so easily recalled. Those people who were part of my life, growing up in a small town.

My daughter wanders through the cemetery, pointing out names, commenting on the many beautiful stones that mark that small rural patch of memories.

I wander, too, thinking about the people I once knew. They are a collective part of me, a part of my life I always want to remember.

I drive through my hometown, recognizing so many places, remembering the whole of Mt. Union, my little area of childhood. I have always had this great love for my little town and the people in it.

It gave me pause when I finally realized that I love the memory of that part of Henry County. That even though the town is still there, many of the places I knew so well are gone. And most of the people I knew who lived there are gone, too.

So, I keep in my heart this cherished memory of a childhood that seemed to last so long. Oh, the freedoms we had, to be riding around on the paved streets long after dark or far out in the country during the golden days of summer, back when there were houses in every mile.

On Saturday, as I sat in the shade with my daughter and grandson, I gazed at those beautiful black fields where corn was starting to sprout. I could look forever.

I was in Canaan Township, the flat lands so rich in giving farmers working the land a good crop. My senses filled with the song of the country birds, the occasional truck going by, the puffy white clouds in a sky that went on forever, the sun so warm on our skins, making little Max’s fair hair shine with a golden hue.

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