The Apple Orchard
The ground was covered in what appeared to be white diamonds as the sun shone on the snow. Trees stood in silent sentries as if to guard the field of precious stones. As I looked out of my door, I felt a peace that comes from knowing all is going to be well. My name is Jim Baldwin and I live in a two room shack on my grandparent's farm.
As I looked upon the serenity of still life, I became aware of the beauty and my loneliness which I shared with the quiet world that surrounded me. Tears came to my eyes as I reflect on how I came to be living on my grandparent's farm. I remembered the morning when my life changed.
"Mom, I need to tell you something. I'm gay." From the look my mother gave me, I knew that she wasn't going to accept this. What I didn't realize the degree of hatred I had wrought.
She looked at me with so much hatred in her eyes I knew I made a grave mistake in telling her. "You vile creature, you're no son of mine! Pack your clothes and get out! I never want to see you again!"
I quickly went to my room and packed what I could in a knapsack, pocketed what money I had. With tears, I left the only home I've ever known for 19 years. I was a little confused as to what I was going to do, but I knew I just had to leave. Riding my motorcycle, that dad had bought me for my 18th birthday; I remembered that my grandparents had a farm about 30 miles from my home. It was a shot in the dark, but it was the only place I could think of going. If they wouldn't let me stay there, I wasn't sure what I'd do.
I arrived at their farm at noon. When I approached the door, my grandfather opened the door before I had a chance to knock. My face must have shown that I was scared. He quickly grabbed me in a hug and whispered, "Its ok. Everything will be alright."
I was shocked to be greeted this way; it's certainly not what I expected. "Come on in, your grandmother has lunch ready. I bet you're hungry."
When I went into the kitchen, my grandmother had a smile and I got another hug. I was completely perplexed. During lunch my grandmother explained that my mother had called her to tell her what happened and to not let me stay with them. She said that wasn't going to happen because my dad wouldn't let it.
After lunch my grandfather said that there was a shack on the property that was used by the pickers during apple picking season. It hasn't been used for a few years, but if I wanted I could fix it up and stay there.
I remembered that shack from when we visited, it was a nice place and surrounded by apple trees. My grandfather and I walked to the shack. It was two rooms, one was a bunk room and the other was a kitchen/dining area. They needed a good cleaning and the fireplace needed to be checked to be sure the chimney was cleaned. The kitchen had a sink and wood stove.
For the next 3 months I worked on making the shack my home. My dad, thankfully, wasn't in agreement with my mother. He brought the rest of my clothes and personal things to my grandparent's home. Over the three month period, he bought bedroom furniture, a refrigerator that ran on propane, a table for the kitchen and helped me clean the chimneys. My grandparents provided kitchen dishes, pots and cutlery.
I worked hard on cleaning and painting. There were some carpentry repairs to the outside of the shack and some of the roof tiles needed to be replaced. My dad came on week-ends to help and my grandfather helped by giving me directions and teaching me about making the repairs. When I was done and ready to move in, I felt a sense of pride.
Now as I look at the serene setting, I'm at peace. I guess there needs to be some unhappiness in your life in order to appreciate and understand the joy that comes after. But I was lonely. I visited my grandparents often, enjoying a home cooked meal. My dad stopped by often always bringing something for the shack. But the bottom line is, I was missing something or someone.
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