For as long as I can remember, this old tree stood guard over the driveway at the farm. As kids, we would have races from the house to the tree. It was our guidepost, when we saw that tree by the road, we knew we were almost there.
Time stands still for no one. This tree, for so long, was “the farm”. All of a sudden, we drive to the farm to see the tree laying down in the yard. A high wind came through and took advantage of the weekend, hollow trunk, forever changing the landscape. We now wait to see the buildings on the horizon. Not the same, but still a reassuring sign that a good day is about to happen…
Our Uncle Jim lived life to the fullest. I am not sure that I ever saw him that he wasn’t laughing or had a big smile on his face. He also was very adventurous.
As it turns out, our love of balloons may have been inherited. Except that Jim used to jump out of them. Yep he would travel with a team, and parachute out of (may have been gas ) balloons. if memory serves me, he said they had a trap door in the floor of the basket, and once they got to altitude, he would open the door and make his descent back to terra firma. I loved to hear his stories.
Uncle Jim was also a painter. He worked for a local paint shop, and he painted gold leaf on the ceilings of several old churches in the Springfield area. He had a lot of stories to tell about that too. Again, he enjoyed life, and what ever it was that he had to do, including farming.
One of Jim’s other loves, was his pipe. It was rare to see him without it. Corn cob pipes to be precise. He would smoke them until he burned a hole in it, then go buy him another one. The new ones, he had to smoke them a lot to get them broke in. He didn’t care for the taste of a new pipe. Kentucky Club Tobacco was his choice of tobacco”s, pretty strong stuff from what I remember. Even in his final days, he had to have his pipe, to hell with the Emphysema.
One of a few times Uncle Jim didn’t have his corn cob pipe. Looks like the dog “Star” and my brother Jim were hanging with him . This is in the back yard of the house, I think that the cinder block building/garage is about where the current metal shed is located, and the old outhouse in the background is about where the apple tree used to be.