I got a picture of you in my locket
I keep it close to my heart
A light shining in my breast
Leading me through the dark . . .
The fog outside the window glows in the moments before dawn. The sun will soon rise, but I won’t be able to see it. The fog is so thick that the river, 80 yards or so from me, is lost in the mist. I laid my sleeping bag here last night so I could watch the sunrise through the floor-to-ceiling windows, but now I might as well get up.
The cold air draws me out of my slumber as I head for the basement. I know the sound every stair will make before my foot touches it, though each groans with greater intensity these days, a function of their age and mine. Grandpa descended these stairs every day to shave and to shower in the downstairs bathroom, even when the years and his hereditary bowleggedness had made it hard to do so. The two bathrooms upstairs had their uses, but in the morning this one was his.
He designed this house and built it 51 years ago, on 25 acres of the best farmland in the entire Midwest. Nestled in curves of the Grand River, the soil enriched by centuries of silt, his small farm brought forth a cornucopia of food that fed children and grandchildren nearly every Sunday, and visitors throughout the year, and during harvest time everyone...