When I was younger, happiness for me was living on a 600 +acre farm and having my own horse to ride whenever I wanted.I was happiest riding over the land,searching for lost cows hiding and giving birth to their calves,finding our bulls that crossed the river to mate with the neighbor's heifers and herding our cattle to new pastures. I loved my stepfather with all the passion and possessiveness a twelve year old girl could generate.Let me tell you,I could and did generate a lot.
He loved me back with the possessive pride of a proud father watching his daughter master the skills needed to ride a cutting horse that was running,dodging and herding a large herd of cattle who did not want to be separated from another herd or leave the pasture they were in.
I was so proud of the bragging he did to our hands,his friends and other farmers and ranchers in the surrounding farms and ranches. He called me a natural at working with horses and cattle.My heart swelled with love and pride.My mother liked horses,but was afraid of them and was terrified of getting too close to the cattle.
She watched my stepfather and me work the cattle at first, later she refused to watch when my stepfather and I worked the cattle on foot and horseback. She closed her eyes at my riding at breakneck speeds to herd errant cattle. She finally stopped coming with us after she watched me ride my horse in front of a thundering herd to stop them from going across the river.
I was fearless. If the men could do it so could I,and for the most part I did. The only thing two things pertaining to the farm I wasn't allowed to do or help with was help with castrating the young bull calves and driving our huge road grade, Daddy(I started calling him Daddy,as soon as he and Momma were married). I was furious when our foreman told me I couldn't watch or help with the calves or learn to grade the roads on the monstrous machine. I learned later, momma was the traitor. She had firmly put her foot down on those two jobs.I was not happy, and I stayed mad at her for weeks.
as they say(whoever they are)all good things must come to an end.
During my junior year in high school,I met a gorgeous twenty year old guy.He was a dead ringer for a young Elvis Presley and he drove a brand new,red,Chevy Impala.He was a freshman in college and a member of Kappa Alpha Fraternity. My stepfather(Daddy) hated him the moment they met and did everything he could to break us up.
But, I was sixteen and thunderstruck and at the time I thought it was love at first sight.Now I realize,it was lust at first sight. He was my first real boyfriend. We dated for two years and he proposed and gave me an engagement ring the night of my senior prom. I was eighteen.
My stepfather ranted and raved and tried to change my mind about getting married and refusing to go to L.S.U. School of Veterinary Medicine,on an all expenses paid Governor's Scholarship, because I didn't want to be separated from the love of my life for a measly two years until he could join me in Baton Rouge,La.
He walked me down the aisle,but refused to speak to my new husband or congratulate us.
I went to college one semester,quitting after I found out I was pregnant. My new husband refused to work for my stepfather or accept his offer to build us a house on the farm.
I didn't realize at the time .how jealous they were over me and how much they hated each other and competed with each other or how heartbroken my stepfather was that I chose to leave him and the farm behind and follow my husband. he sold the farm at momma's insistence and they built a new home in town.
Six years later I had two children, a lying cheating husband who told me he no longer loved me and wanted a divorce to marry his latest girlfriend. I was stuck in a tiny apartment in a horrible little town in Alabama.
Devastated and heartbroken,I called my mother, my stepfather took the phone and told me to come home. To pack up what we needed and go to the airport, our tickets would be waiting for us.
I arrived the next day with a dollar in my pocket from my generous husband, a four year old son,a six month old baby, three suitcases,a broken heart, and all of my dreams and plans a pile of ashes.
The place where I had spent the happiest years of my life was gone,but the people who loved me the most and made me the happiest,were right here with me. My sister,my mother,my two babies and my stepfather, the man who loved me the most years ago and still did. I
It took time,a divorce and a good hard look at who I had become< vs> who I really was. The farm wasn't the same,but there were a small herd of cattle and I had two horse and two ponies within a year. Daddy and I talked a lot about my failed marriage and the mistakes I had made. We rode together occasionally to look over the cattle,but nothing was the same. Those days were gone,I had missed my chance to have a life on the old farm. We couldn't go back,no matter how much we both wanted to.
Life was good. We were all together again. I had my own house (Daddy built it for me and the babies)on two acres of his new farm. Momma had her new fancy house closer to town.Daddy's business was prosperous and he was even richer now. I was home again,had horses and land to ride over. But ,oh how I missed the other farm, the wild rides, herding cattle with my Daddy, and his pride in a young wild step-daughter.
Nothing could bring back those days or bring back the old farm he and I loved so much and I felt the weight of responsibility squarely on my shoulders for the loss of a dream and the life we once had.
I knew without a shadow of doubt,Daddy would have never sold the farm and we would still be there,working side by side as we had planned if love for an undeserving ass hadn't blinded me to everything I did have for something I only thought I would have.
Here I am forty-two years later,retired and working at becoming a published,successful author.
I am happiest when I see my granddaughter and when I know I have written a really good scene in one of the three novels I am working on.
Sadly I no longer live on a farm,work with cattle, or own and ride horses. Essentially I am no longer the me I was.I have had to invent a new me. I am still coming to terms with her.
My stepfather died two years after my mother,my only sister a few years later. Daddy never talked about all the good times we had working the cattle, riding horses and the work we did together.He never once mentioned the farm or why he sold it. I never talked to him about those times or mentioned the farm either.
He never told me and I knew I didn't have to ask why he sold it? Neither of us mentioned our life there,it was too painful. Up until the day he died, I wanted to ask him why he sold it and why he didn't try harder to convince my husband to accept a house on the farm and a job in his company.
I knew he was dying and I wanted with all my heart to ask him why he sold it and why he didn't keep it for me. I didn't because I knew what his answer would be and why. Mother knew,my stepfather knew and deep in my heart I knew.But, it was a shadow and never a reality,that we never looked at or acknowledged.
Even today,I still regret my decisions. I don't regret my children,but I wish I had known how things would turn out.I would have never agreed to leave the only place ,where I was completely myself. The only place I was really happy. Hindsight is truly a BITCH!