July 18, 2002
At the beginning of every summer it's natural to fantasize about all the wonderful experiences that await. As a boy, mine revolved around baseball. As a teen-ager, baseball was still the fantasy but the girls who came to the games became part of it. Nothing is quite as exquisite for an innocent teen-age boy as the ache the beauty of girls can cause.
Fantasies change with age, of course, and perhaps become more prosaic.
For the past 10 years, my summer fantasy has been to play golf every day. That fantasy has never been realized, but some summers it has almost seemed possible. If I wasn't playing I was practicing.
I have played very little golf this summer. My old foursomes have disintegrated because of illnesses and new responsibilities and alliances, some of them mine.
I also have a case of tendentious that produces a grimace on my back swing. Fifty is when parts of your body start going haywire, my new 25-year-old doctor warned as she ordered tests for this and that. I only went to see her because my elbow hurt.
I do notice a certain creakiness now on awakening, but it disappears as soon as the yoga starts. The women in my yoga class flow into the postures much more easily than I do, though. I wonder if they took dance as children. Children who dance stretch their ligaments and tendons permanently, so yoga is easier for them as adults.
Instead of playing golf this summer I've been spending most of our extra time at Amity Hills Farm. Friends visited one evening last weekend. The little boys chased the baby donkey and lit multi-colored smoke bombs DC provided. You do what you want in the country.
George played his guitar, and everyone sang "We all live in a yellow submarine ..." until the sun vanished.
DC and I have a disagreement. She counted 10 puppies after Mickey, one of the Great Pyrenees, gave birth last week. I only saw six.
Admittedly, they were hard to count. Mickey is a big dog who tends to sit on top of her puppies. That, we fear, is one reason their numbers have dwindled.
However many there were in the beginning, the litter is down to four now. Thankfully, Mickey buries the puppies herself. DC probably wouldn't go to the farm knowing she might have to face another dead puppy.
From Santa Fe, Edwin the owner of the farm reassured her that Mickey is a good mother.
"Let Nature take its course," he said.
Actually, my summer farm fantasy originally had nothing to do with puppies or donkeys. It involved me hitting unlimited golf balls in one of the pastures. The reality is, most of those balls would have been lost if I had. The lie in a pasture is the roughest rough you've ever seen.
I drive by the Jaycee Municipal Golf Course on my way to the farm and look longingly up the second fairway. If no one is there I wince. I could be playing the second hole if I had the time and could find someone else who could play and if I didn't have a bum elbow.
We've almost forgotten what life was like before Amity Hills Farm. We hung out at the bookstore, went to movies, mowed our lawn and had dinner with our parents once in awhile.
The responsibilities of the farm are formidable but play to the heart, a new fantasy taking shape.
Sam Blackwell is a staff writer for the Southeast Missourian.