My daughters stayed with my mother while my wife, infant son and I flew to Syracuse. The entire day was spent traveling. As we drove from the Syracuse airport to our hotel, we were struck by the beauty of the city. There were so many very old buildings with amazing architecture. We saw it in office buildings, churches, homes and businesses. There’s a lot of history in Syracuse. We arrived at our hotel at 11:45 pm. It was just in time to drop off our bags and head out in search of the latest Harry Potter book which was to be released at midnight. After finding a store that carried the book and an open drive thru for a late dinner, we got some sleep and prepared for the next day.
Saturday morning we drove to LaFayette to see the farm I last saw in 1996. I had also visited the farm on my 4th birthday years earlier. We celebrated with a square pink birthday cake. I don’t have many memories of visiting the farm, but it has always felt like a very special place. I never dreamed that I would ever move to the farm or even visit more than a couple of times, but I knew there was a good spirit there. It was last lived in by my Great Uncle Ed and Aunt Carol until 2004 when Ed passed away. Ed took over the farm from his father, my great grandfather who acquired it from his wife’s family. My grandfather and all of his siblings were born in the farmhouse. Needless to say, there is a lot of history in the walls of the farmhouse, after more than a century in the family.
My personal memories are limited, but I do remember catching frogs at the pond at age 4 and I could remember a little of what it was like around Uncle Ed and Aunt Carol. Uncle Ed produced maple syrup from sugar maples on the property. It’s been a long time since I tasted it, but I can still remember how good it was and how much better it tasted than any maple syrup in the stores. Aunt Carol was blind but still very independent. When Ed passed away, Carol moved to North Carolina to live with her son. The farmhouse and the property has been maintained, but not lived in.
A family member met my wife and I at the farmhouse to let us in. Before entering, we gazed up the hill to see if we could determine the proper location for us to build a new home. We had felt that if we did move here, we would maintain the farmhouse but not alter it too much. We would keep anything of historical significance intact and live in a separate home on a different part of the property. It would be our opportunity to build our dream home exactly to our specifications. While looking across the parcel that the existing farmhouse stood on, we saw places where a home could be built, but it wouldn’t fit. We walked towards a shelter that had been used in many family gatherings and reunions. We peered down from the shelter at the creek which cut right through the property. From there we were able to catch a glimpse of the pond I had remembered as a young child. We sat on a swing that hung from the branches of a tree near the house. It had been there for many years.
Upon entering the farmhouse, we walked first through the entry room, built by Uncle Ed decades earlier. Many improvements and additions have been made over the years by Ed and by his father while still retaining the original look and flavor of the home. We walked through the kitchen, living room and bedrooms. The home seemed very familiar to me but at the same time it felt strange walking through it, now that it was deserted.
From the farmhouse, we walked through the garage and sugar shack, both built by Ed. It was great walking through everything, but I expected an overwhelming feeling to tell me that I was to put an offer on the house and property. I didn’t get that feeling. My feeling the whole week was that I needed to go with my wife to the farm. What I was now feeling was that there was no place to build our home and that it wasn’t appropriate for us to customize the farmhouse to our tastes to live in it. So why was I even there?
We made a significant sacrifice running off to New York on short notice. We had an incredibly spiritual week preparing to come to view the property. Over and over everything lined up perfectly in our travel plans to get the right flights, hotel, and to get my mom to watch the kids. We even had picked out the perfect floorplan for our dream home and found a builder in the area to build it for us. We had faith promoting experiences while reading scriptures, pondering and praying all week but now things weren’t clicking like I expected they should. What was I missing?