September 15, 2004

Mr. Upchurch

I don't know what my problem is, but I've been kinda depressed lately. I'm not usually that way. Hell, almost never that way. I have no real idea why I'm that way now, but have been for a couple of weeks. That may be part of what broke me today.

The phone call started it. My cousin called me at work, and asked if I had heard that my old neighbour, Mr. Upchurch, had died. I knew he had been fighting cancer, but hadn't heard anything in a while. I started to ask when the visitation was, but I got beat to it. Call at 7:30 pm, visitation was at 5. Great timing. Funeral tomorrow, rather today now. I thanked him for the call, and hung up. Developed a nagging tear that just hung in the corner of my eye. Tried working, and that did help for awhile, but after a bit, I started to lose track of what I was doing. So, I sat for a minute. Damn tear finally dripped. Got rid of it, and started trying to work again. Yeah, I sound like a baby. A good friend stopped by to give me some crap about something, and I just barely kept from losing it. Damn waterworks were trying to run uncontrollably. Unfortunately, I put him in an awkward spot, while trying to fight off my unwanted guests. Thanks for being cool, Mr. Bagg.

Here's the kicker: my misery was not just about losing an old neighbour. There is so much more to it, but I have a hard time finding the right description. I'm frickin horrible when it comes to sharing. But right now, I feel I have to try. Not for you to understand, but for me. I'm one who usually keeps things inside. For the most part, I'm pretty good at it, but lately, it's a little hard to do. Maybe it's part of what's bumming me. Things eating at me for too long.

My dad died in '76. I was nine. Yep, long time ago, should be over it. Never over it. We were a farming family, and that was how Pa died. I'm not going into that right now. Our neighbours played a huge role in our lives for awhile after Pa was gone. Helped my mom through some hard times. She had four kids, and while, not demons, we weren't angels. Forgive me for rambling. The Upchurch's were across the road. Mr. Upchurch (I can't call him by his given name ... just doesn't seem right) came over quite a bit to help around the farm, until Ma sold off a lot of the animals. I personally don't think he thought that my mom was doing things the right way, but if she asked, he would help. Winters, he plowed out the drive. We had a 1/4 mile drive, and theirs was 1/2 mile. The plow had been bought from some county vehicle by my dad, and fitted to a tractor. After Pa died, Ma gave Mr. Upchurch the plow to keep, as long as our drive was kept clean. Three years later, we moved away.

We still would see the Upchurch's once a year, at the county fair. Every time I saw them, I thought of my dad, and how he and Mr. Upchurch got along. They didn't always think that the other was doing the right thing, but if you needed help, they were there. Neighbours ... the way they are supposed to be. Need help during harvest? If possible, help was lent. Cattle out? They'd be right over. I'll never say that they were the best of friends, but friends they were.

When I saw Mr. Upchurch, I thought of him coming over to help at the harvest bee that was held after my dad's death, even though he had two broken arms. (Farm accident for him, too.) I thought of his nervous offer to buy the farm from my mom. (She wouldn't do it.) I thought of two scared boys watching from the haymow door, while he and my mother were trying to work out a deal for the once new hog feeder, that now had countless holes from a .22. Watching him point out the holes, and seeing the sorrow on my mom's face. He did take the feeder, and gave my mom a reasonable price.

There are so many things that I used to associate with the farm and my dad. And now, I think I realize why this has upset me so. I do mourn Mr. Upchurch. I mourn not a perfect man, but one of the best you could find. But, selfishly, I fear that I mourn "what was" even more. And I mourn for the gates to the past that are being torn down.

I know I haven't uncovered all that is affecting me, but I do feel a little better now. Thanks for listening.

Posted by That 1 Guy at September 15, 2004 02:11 AM | TrackBack