Monday, October 27, 2008

A trip..and trip down memory lane

A few weeks ago I posted how I had been horribly nostalgic as of late. So, a few days after that post I did something about it. I called my dad and asked if he'd take me down to Connecticut, to the area he grew up and just "show me around". Sort of an odd request my father thought but he was game.

The day arrived and I put the kids on the bus and off we went. It was just my dad and I so we talked about everything. Sports to traffic to the sky. It didn't matter we were on the open road.

My grandfather passed away when I was one. I don't remember a thing about him, and my grandmother (who remarried) passed away in 1986 when I was about 15 1/2 years old. That was the last time I was in the area. My grandfather was a tobacco farmer. He grew the wrappers for Dutch Masters Cigars and over the course of the day my father would tell stories of "working the fields". Mind you, my father couldn't "work" for his father until a certain age, but he could work for other farmers.

We drove past his school, and his brother and sisters school. Past the school my grandmother taught at. Sort of all "boring" stuff to some, but it was neat. He'd tell me where they'd skate, or swim. Where dances were held..and yes..where a still was to make moonshine.

We didn't stop to get out much. I am not a "camera" person much, but there were a few moments I wished I had one. The first was when we pulled into a field and there was 3-4 tobacco sheds that were a little run down. There was graffiti on the side and it read things like "INXS" and "U2", but next to this was something like "Tom 88!" That was some old work!

We headed towards the house my grandmother moved in to (the one I knew far better). It had not changed much, and I remember the small store a few houses down and a the church at the intersection. We went to the cemetery and cleaned up their grave site. The odd part, backed up to the cemetery...a tobacco field.

We ate lunch and headed to see his Uncle. We just "dropped in" and barring being very hard of hearing his Uncle was very excited for us to drop in. He still lives in the same house he grew up and the house is well kept on 15 acres.

After we chatted some he took us out to a tobacco shed on his property. He is renting it out and it was "almost time" for the tobacco to come down so we timed it right.

We went to the shed and opened the door. Tobacco hanging from the rafters as far as you can see. The barn was probably 80 feel long and a good 40 feet high that the peak. It looked like the inside of a cave with the tobacco hanging down. Here is at least the second time I wish I had a camera. My dad and his uncle went on and on about how to cut, hang, dry, name it. I am not sure my dad was happy or sad to talk about it..but it was amazing to hear how they did it all. Cut here, hand it this way, hang 6 at a time etc. The amazing thing, is a lot of it is still done by hand.

His uncle took us to another barn that had a 1938 tractor inside, that still ran. It was a like a farmers museum. It was neat and surprisingly clean and in order for its age. After walking around some more it was time to hit the road.

We drove the back way (basically we did a big loop) to the highway and headed home.

It was a blast. 100% worth "bagging work" for. I am not sure what my dad thought. He commented a few times (in a kidding tone) it was odd to be back and things had changed (of course). He lived in a few houses and one was "gone" too so I am not sure how that hit him.

I talked to my mom the other night and asked if he said anything about it. She said barring saying what we did he didn't elaborate.

I said, well if it comes up again, tell him I loved it.


At Tuesday, October 28, 2008 5:52:00 PM , Blogger Jenny G said...

That sounds like such a nice day! I didn't know tobacco was big anywhere up north.

At Thursday, October 30, 2008 1:57:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Pioneer valley of CT is/was the premeir area to grow the toughest tabacco specificaly for wrapping cigars.


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