Fields of My Youth

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story about a person, while on a walk, who is reminded of a lesson learned in his youth.

Submitted: May 20, 2008

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Submitted: May 20, 2008

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Fields of My Youth
By: Eric Andersen

The sun slowly crept up onto the horizon, like an infant taking its first steps. I slowly woke up from my dreamless sleep, and shakily got to my feet. Most of the things I did now were done shakily but when you are seventy-seven years old, that should expected. Like most days, my joints ached a bit and the pain in my left knee from that fall painting the house so many years ago was there. Aches and pains were now my constant companions and at best I could come to a compromise with them.
It was about seven o’clock, and the sky was beginning to brighten up. I decided it was a perfect time to take a walk. These days I used any excuse to get out of the care facility I now called home. The smells and the cries of those in pain or just battling loneliness made me sad so I looked for ways to escape if even for a few moments. I got my glasses on, shakily got dressed, took hold of my cane, and slowly walked out the door and into the main corridor.
The nursing home was quiet at the moment, almost as if you had pressed the “mute” button on the world. A nurse walked by me, and I waved. She was young, about twenty-six years old with blonde hair and brown eyes. It seemed she had a lot on her mind, so I walked past her without asking her what was troubling her. I headed toward the door of the nursing home, and spoke to the receptionist.
“Tell my assistant that I’m out taking a walk, Gina.”
“Okay, Jacob.” Gina said with a wave. “Have fun!”
I was still considered able enough to be able to walk around on my own. Most residents of the home were not as luckily as I and were confined to there wheel chairs or beds and could not escape unless their families took them away for a short time. I intended to keep this privilege for as long as I could and therefore the increasing pain in my knee bothered me a great deal. What would I do without the ability to see the outside world?
It was a beautiful summer morning, the sky so blue it hurt my eyes just to look at it. The intense blue reminded me of my Hazel’s eyes. When we began dating her eyes had captured me and kept me a prisoner until she had passed away two years ago. We had been married for fifty-two wonderful years. My heart had ached as bad as my knee did now and on some days it still did.
I looked at the sky again. The clouds looked like you could just reach out and touch them from the ground. I heard a fat red-breasted robin singing in a tree in the island in the middle of the parking lot. I paused to look at it, and I was suddenly was reminded of something that happened when I was five years old.
It was a beautiful summer day then too, the sky the color of a freshly laid robin’s egg. The clouds stuck out of their pretty blue background like steps on a stairway. The grass was as green as an emerald. I was playing outside with my favorite toy, a red truck. Suddenly, a deep voice sounded behind me. Turning around, I spied my dad, wearing a green t-shirt and jeans. Speaking again, he repeated his question.
“Hey, Jake! What are you doing?”
“I’m playing with my fire truck, daddy,” I said. “But why are you here? Aren’t you supposed to be at work?”
“No, son, I’ve got the day off. Isn’t that great?”
“Yay!” my young self cheered. “What are you doing here?”
“I wanted to show you something I saw out my bedroom window. Come with me, Jake.”
I followed him to the field behind our house. It was a grassy plain, the grass the color of an unripe apple, with a few lonely trees in it. He led me to one of them, and picked me up onto his shoulders. I started to speak, but my dad put a finger to his lips and motioned me to be quiet. He slowly came near the tree’s lowest branch. That was when I saw it.
There was a bird nest with pink-skinned baby robins in it. They were cheeping in unison, almost like they were saying, “Feed us! Feed us!” Just then, my dad pulled me down, and motioned for me to hide. I did so, and then I saw a brown mother robin fly back into the nest. She took one look around, and then bent down to start feeding her children. I saw them, and whispered to my dad.
“Is that a birdie, daddy?”
“Yes, Jake. It’s a mother robin. Seems like the babies have just came out of their eggs.”
“Will they be here forever?”
“I hope they will, Jake,” my dad said longingly. “I hope they will, but you need to know that nothing lasts forever.”
Those words came back to me now. And suddenly I had the urge to see that field of my youth again. Maybe revisiting a memory would bring a shot of youth back to me know when I needed it most. So I changed directions and headed toward my old family home. Despite its closeness, it had been years since I had been back.
I shuffled along the pavement, feeling aches and pains as I walked. Seeing the houses along the way made me reminisce about growing up here and the memories began to creep into my mind like the morning sunlight as it brightens my bedroom.
I saw a fancy coffee shop, the kind that charges three dollars for a simple cup of black coffee. But wasn’t that where old Mr. Gregor used to live? He had a big lawn that he asked me to mow once in awhile and would treat me to icy glass of lemonade after I got done. I can still taste that lemonade and how good it was after the sweaty job!
Across the street, where a busy gas station now sat was here my old friend Kevin used to live. We used to play baseball in the vacant lot next to his house. I had hit the longest home run in neighborhood history but much to my dismay the ball would have now landed in a fast food restaurant that now stood beyond left field. My dad’s words about nothing lasting forever seemed to grow louder in my head. He had been right.
I needed to see that grassy field so I walked as fast as I could around the corner. Some things need to stay the same to stabilize a life. For me it would be that grassy field.
Once I arrived my joints ached from the effort. But I was rewarded with a view of that grassy field. It was not the emerald green that I remembered as trash from the nearby road now littered the field. But it was there. I felt better, every thing had not changed.
As I caught my breath, I noticed large white sign in the field. I got closer and read it aloud…“Future Site of Silver Pines Shopping Complex.”
My father’s words again made sense. Perhaps it is too much to expect that things stay permanent. Times change, and we must change with them. But my father had been wrong in one sense. The green field will always be there the way it was in my youth. But it will only be that way in my memory. And I can keep them and bring them out whenever I need them.
I turned and headed back to the nursing home. The field, green as ever, fresh in my mind.


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