Today, I actually felt like I was a part of something important in Auburn, Alabama. Not because of anything that has to do with me, specifically, but because a group of student’s brought their rakes, shovels, laughter and giving spirit to an old piece of Lee County, Alabama where I currently reside. I feel blessed to have met them all and been treated with such love and respect by all pf them today. Boy, don’t we all need that to be our best day in any place, and for me – I think this day will go in the books as my favorite in Auburn.
The farm once covered quite a space – local historians and genaeology researchers are helping pull together some history for me – but is now down to two small parcels – about six acres – with the dilapidated structures representing a family farm all that remain. That, and the wonderful trees (walnuts, pecans, pomegranates) and tiny artifacts spanning nearly 100 years of residency that we uncovered today. The deer, fortunately, still have some space to run. Growing up around it is a subdivision.
Alabama Lt. Governor Kay Ivey was the first to arrive at our big event – greeted (unfortunately) by my loud and boisterous dog Murphy and his equally loud and boisterous (if considerably smaller) friend Billy. I’m sorry, Lt. Governor Ivey, for the ruckus. Thank you for your kindness and hard work.
Shortly after the Lt. Governor arrived, a caravan of collegians rolled in. They, too, were greeted by the dogs – who found a ball he liked inside one of the young men’s cars. Sorry, but if you want it back, you’ll need to take that up with Murphy.
The students representing Auburn’s Big Event were enthusiastic and eager to see what we could find in our treasure hunt/clean-up. They recognized that generations of folks passed this property down from one to another until it was ultimately sold to its current owners, no doubt. I am just renting, so being here with the students to clean out the old horse barn, shed, and green house was my way of giving back. that’s what the kids form the Big Event said they were doing, too. As these things go, I was more on the receiving end. The spirit of the students, their respect, their laughter, their determination and their positive attitudes will not be forgotten.
Perhaps that is what our education should always be about – the people, and the necessarily loosely defined definition of family. Some times the family is “nuclear”, some times it has branches… Other times, it lasts a few hours, but is shared by men and women with a like purpose and collectively loving heart. And in education – as in life – we are all both teachers and students, made up of history and forging the future. Teachers become students, students become teachers, history is a marvel – and the future is in good hands.
P.S. When we find more information about the Pittman Family Farm’s history (I believe those are the folks who founded the place), I will post it here.