Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How I Got Over

Forward: I was really surprised and happy to see that Grandpa gave me an award - especially since it was started by a writer! So I wanted to say thanks to him. I'll talk more about the award but for now this one's for you, friend. Thank you for your acknowledgment. 

The very real fact in this fiction is that this past week has been very difficult for us. Our dear old friend and matriarch of The Insane Cat Posse gently passed away in her sleep. She lived a glorious 20 years, six months, and one day with me. I am gutted. But life on this farm continues and about 100 other critters need my attention.  In fact, they are pulling me forward and do not allow me to rest in my grief. I call this "How I Got Over."
The scene:  OFG alone in the woods after three days, face down on a rubbish heap, garments rent, ashes of mourning on her head, the snow lightly falling around her.

From far away she barely hears a deep base voice singing “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” thinks she is hallucinating but finally looks up when it gets louder. Shakes head, unable to tell if its a vision... but then realizes that she really is seeing a great company approaching. An enormous carriage is being pulled by the hard workin' farm dogs, little Kai is holding a lead – not really doing much but happy to be along.

The top of the carriage, an enormous stage,  is full of ducks and geese, all wearing old timey gospel choir robes and slowing swaying in time as OD's voice, deep as the night, intones the last few words,

“....His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”

OD in top hat and tails leaps down to the ground and asks the congregation for an amen.

“Amen!” Yell the hens as they come running from behind the carriage, holding tambourines high and wearing choir robes. They form a half circle around the carriage and the turkeys fill in behind them as a giant staircase is lowered to the ground from the top of the stage.

Suddenly the piped organ on the back of the stage roars to life as Nibbles, dressed in a pink suit, a matching pillbox hat with veil, and clutching a pocketbook under her arm, plays a welcome chord. The congregation all cheer and shake their tambourines as Penny, our momma goose, steps into the spotlight...

“Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeellllllllllllll.......” She sings the opening note, starting low, then rising thru the scales three octaves, then back down again and begins,

“How I got over
How did I make it over
You know my soul look back and wonder
How did I make it over”

OFG's mouth falls open at the sound because Penny the goose sounds exactly like a young Mahalia Jackson.

Penny continues as the hens swing and sway and join in to sing the chorus “How I got over”

“How I made it over
Going on over all these years
You know my soul look back and wonder
How did I make it over”

Now Penny moves to the top of the stairs and like a diva begins her decent, wings stretched wide, and she tosses her head back, as only a big woman can rightly do, and she belts out the next verses...

“..And I want to thank him for how he brought me
And I want to thank God for how he taught me
Oh thank my God how he kept me
I'm gonna thank him 'cause he never left me”

Seeing that OFG's head is still hung low, Penny glad claps for emphasis and strengthens her already powerful voice.  Nibbles pounds the organ keys from up on the stage sharpening the notes to match Penny's claps.

“Then I'm gonna thank God for 'ole time religion...”


..”and I'm gonna thank God for giving me a vision..”


With each clap OFG starts, her eye's open wider, and she lifts her head a little more.

“One day I'm gonna join the heavenly choir (CLAP!)
I'm gonna sing and never get tired” (CLAP!)

Now the geese have descended the stairs and move toward OFG, surround her and use their white angels wings to gently brush the ashes off her head.

“And I'm gonna shout all my troubles over
You know I've gotta thank God and thank him for being
so good to me. 'Lord yeah!'”

The ducks have formed into two columns and glide down the stairs, each with one wing outstretched to her partner in the other column. On top of this tableau of feathers are OFG's barn boots which are gently placed at her feet.

“Coming from the north, south, east, and west
On their way to a land of rest
and their gonna join the heavenly choir
You know we're gonna sing and never get tired”

Now TurkZilla and Turkey Bob march forth in full spectacular array, OFG's beatin' stick raised on their shoulders, stretched between them. They approach slowly and lower the stock cane.  Penny has hit her stride and her voice soars...

“I 'rose this morning, I 'rose this morning
I 'rose this morning, I feel like shouting
I feel like shouting, I feel like shouting
I feel like shouting, I feel like shouting”

All the poultry now are singing and swaying and clapping and shouting, “Hallelujah!”

Then Henrietta, the oldest of the hens, makes her way down the stairs. She has the feed scoop. It takes a while but she slowly gets to OFG and puts the scoop gently in her hands.

The choir has swelled into an impossible crescendo and end with “A-meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!”

Then something truly unexpected happens. Debbie steps to the stage, pulls out a trumpet and merrily blasts the first notes of “Oh when the saints go marching in.”

Suddenly the congregation has pulled off their choir robes and changed them for glad rags as they sing and dance in dixieland style. OD spins and wheels and cavorts, pumping his umbrella in the air as he makes a joyful noise and leads the procession back to the barnyard. The dogs high step – jauntily pulling the carriage –  as one of the big drakes blasts away on a tuba and another on a trombone.

Stunned OFG stands and watches the parade as it moves off. Suddenly she notices little Kai at her feet looking up hopefully, wagging her curly tail.

“Are you coming, Momma?” She asks.

“Yes sweetheart, I'm coming.”

OFG pulls on her barn boots, picks up her stick and her feed scoop and walks out of the wilderness back to the barn yard.



Grandpa said...

Dear OFG, I shed a tear reading that...so sad
I've been wondering of your whereabouts the past few days...

I know it's hard, but life goes on...When you get over it I hope you'll find happiness...

Reading what you wrote the Award is even more appropriate, for there's a writer in you!

Take care, my friend

Rachael Harrie said...

Hey Ohiofarmgirl, I'm sorry to hear about your cat :(

Congrats on your award, Grandpa is so sweet isn't he!!!


Mr. H. said...

Thank you for sharing your sorrow, your story was beautiful. I could clearly see the whole scene unfold before me as I read the words...wow. So sorry about the loss of your friend.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Thanks Grandpa. I'm marching forward and getting my feet under me. And I still don't think I'm a writer! Before this the only thing I ever wrote were terse business emails. Who knew? Thank you, again.

Hi Rachel and thanks! I love the writing challenges on your site, I'll definitely be hanging around. And yes, Grandpa is the best!

Mr. H, I knew that you would understand. Thank you for your kind words. Onward and upward, right? (sigh)

Mama Mess said...

Oh such a beautiful post. I could see it all in my mind!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

hi GW and thanks!

Chai Chai said...

OFG, Sorry for your loss. Good cats love their servants and it seems Penny thought highly of you.

All that was missing from your post was a vision of Fred (assuming he made it of course) welcoming Penny home.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Thanks CC - and I was sorry to hear about your guineas. Thats a tough find - the sad feathers. With as loud as guinea are you'd think they woulda made a huge hubbub. But we had the same experience when foxy brown snatched up our hens off their nests. Not a peep. And yeah, whatever got them is coming back. Tell your man to get the gun.

basicliving@backtobasicliving.com said...

What a beautiful post. You are indeed a writer. I pray your heart is healing. It is so painfully sad to lose these critters that take up residence inside our hearts. I pray your heart finds comfort.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Thank you, B2B, I appreciate your kind words.

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