When my grandfather passed away in 2006, the natural estate dispersal ensued. However, when we were about to leave for the last time, I noticed this little piece of fabric sitting behind the electric outlet mechanism in the basement. It was dusty and covered in cobwebs, but when I picked it up the memories flooded over me quite suddenly. I knew that my grandmother had placed this little bundle of leftover corn seeds in the basement, in hopes of using them in another season. But the fabric she used to keep these little seeds inside was no ordinary piece of fabric. It was a pocket she had recycled from one of grandfather's old work shirts.
Long before the days of Ziploc or even recycled 35mm film canisters, families used whatever they could think of as containers or receptacles. This was a small piece of that left over farm life that I remembered, and I knew I could not throw it away. Not only did the memories associated with this little bundle involve planting the vegetable garden with both grandparents each summer, but it also involved the shirt that provided the pocket. Growing up, my favorite place in the world was my grandparents farm in Bourbon County Kentucky. At 165+ acres, I could roam as much as I wanted and each visit included some new farm related adventure. Each summer, I watched 'Pappa' (pronounced Pah-Paw) go out to the dairy or out to the field in one of these light blue cotton work shirts. It is remarkable how holding something tactile in your hand can bring back the memories so clearly. In this case the seemingly unimportant little piece of fabric is a much larger representation of the first environmentalists. "Waste not want not" was the order of each day. Life was a bit tougher, but the rewards for a days work were felt even more as the day drew to a close.....complete with iced tea and a homemade desert.....ah, those cool summer evenings on the porch looking out over the fields.....how I miss those, and the loved ones who sat next to me.