Blast From The Past

I went for a walk the other day and about two blocks from our house I saw an old fella sitting outside in the shade of his house. I knew there was an old man living in that building, but I had never seen him before. The yard is overgrown and what's not filled with knee-high grass and weeds is cluttered with strange-looking sculptures made from stove pipe and other weird materials. All the windows in the house are closed up with cardboard from the inside. It's the kind of place that gives kids the heebie jeebies, and it also creeps out grown 50-year-old women like me.


He asked me if I was looking for a job, and I laughed and said no, thanks, fully intending to just keep walking. He wasn't having it, and kept talking, asking me if I knew what a scythe is. That stopped me in my tracks and I looked at him. He looked a lot more like my grandpa than the grim reaper, so I told him that yes, I knew what a scythe is but had not seen one used since watching my grandpa mow his pasture with one when I was a kid. That seemed to make him happy, and we chatted for a bit about pastures, goats, and wooden vs. aluminum handles on a scythe. He was trying to cut the weeds and grass in his yard and had to sit down to take a break. I told him that unfortunately, I did not know how to use a scythe - otherwise I would have helped him - and went on my merry way. On the way home I took the long way around because he still creeped me out a bit, but the conversation I had with him brought back some memories.


Good childhood memories {most of the memories that involve my grandpa are excellent childhood memories). We lived in a small town that had two castles, one from the 15th and one from the 16th century. The older one was more like a fortress, and the one that was only 500 years or so old had been donated by the count who owned it to be the local old folks home. My grandma worked there as a nurse, and I would sometimes take my bike, ride into the meadows, across the bridge, the push my bike up a narrow path with stairs to end up on the backside of the castle, where I would wait for her to get off work. We would always take the long way home because there was a paved road, but I always took the shortcut across the meadows because it was pretty magical.


Along that shortcut was the meadow that my grandpa looked after, he leased it from the count. It was a very small piece of land along the river, and he would cut the grass and wildflowers with his scythe, let it dry to become hay, and bring it back home to feed to his goats and rabbits. After talking to the old man I had all the sounds, sights, and smells of that little meadow in Germany back in my mind and I'm glad I'm able to preserve that memory by writing it down.