The Filling Fields

 

Abby's father Hershel Shoffner with his wife of nearly 20 years Ethel today. Hershel's first wife, Agness, Abby's mother, died in 1986 at the age of 60.
Abby's father Hershel Shoffner with his wife of nearly 20 years Ethel today. Hershel's first wife, Agness, Abby's mother, died in 1986 at the age of 60.

We spent yesterday and today working like mules at Abby’s dad’s place in the country outside of Ryan, Oklahoma, trimming the yard with the weed whacker, cutting down dead branches from the trees, and hauling yard and other debris down to the brush pile. As I made one trip after another on the four-wheeler with a flat-bed trailer, in the scalding sun, to dump branches into a ravine, I kept noticing how much old stuff had accumulated on the property. Oddly, the same is true for our little patch of country two hours northwest. I imagine it’s like that throughout rural America; years and years and years of old tractors, old plows, old Chevy pickups, old washing machines, old tires, old things made out of steel or wood that are now unrecognizable. I suppose there is more accumulation of that kind of stuff now than when I was growing up simply because more time has passed since the benchmarks of American life; the industrial revolution, the automotive revolution, the availability of electricity, the use of mechanized farm equipment instead of livestock like oxen. As we rode past it again and again, I thought about how none of this old stuff would likely be moved in my lifetime.

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