Jennifer is a senior at Shawnee Mission East. She enjoys country music, cowboy boots and cowboys. Mainly the last one. She is also a vital member of the Broadcasting Dream Team. Read Full »
I’ve spent most of my summer weekends at the place where I can be me. I don’t have to do my make-up. I don’t have to fix my hair. I can wear what I want, and it doesn’t matter to anyone else at all. I can be relaxed and free of stress unlike when I’m at home. I can just calm down and unwind from my normal busy life. It’s not like at school where it seems everyone is so materialistic and obsessed with how they look and what others think of them.
I’m a country girl. I love the idea of riding horses, working on the farm and living a slower pace of life. Don’t get me wrong, I love conveniently living only a mile away from Target, and I love being able to run to the grocery store if I’m missing an ingredient for dinner. Sure, my Target may turn into a Walmart 18 miles away from the farm, but that’s good enough for me.
My family’s farm is two and a half hours northeast of Kansas City in a small town called New Cambria. It’s my favorite place in the world. My ancestors built the white three story giant house 120 years ago. The house has five bedrooms, so with all 15 members of my family there it gets a bit tight. Since then the beloved home, and land around it, has been in my family for generations. Both my mom and I have spent our childhood summers there.
The things about the farm that would bother others, like having one bathroom, are what I like most about it. It’s old and rustic but it’s like my home. The house has five bedrooms, so with all 15 members of my family there it gets a bit tight. Yes, there are spiders and snakes, which I don’t like, but there’s also the deer in the field at sunset and the thousands of fireflies on hot summer nights. It’s wonderful waking up in the morning to the smell of my grandma’s Krusteaz pancakes.
My favorite thing to do at the farm is lay in the hammock overlooking the soy bean field. Sometimes I take a much needed nap, or sometimes I will push my little cousins back and forth on the hammock. Often I lay there and read relaxing the day away. And I’m OK with that. My time will come to find projects to do, just like my parents, but for right now, lying in the hammock and playing with my cousins is the best thing I could do.
One night, eight years ago we got the call from my grandma. Mike, the man who runs our farm called and said a tornado hit the small town of 222 people where the house is and there was debris everywhere. We didn’t know what was left of the house or anything else on the property. The next morning my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles left for New Cambria at six in the morning. They spent the whole day there cleaning up, and brought back videos for my older brother, Alex, and I to watch. Most of the windows were blown out of the house. Three of the five outbuildings were just piles of weathered wood. My favorite place in the whole world was crumbling down right before my eyes.
Paper was literally swirled off the walls inside the house. Glass was everywhere. The asbestos roof was blown off and all over the yard. Everything was sopping wet. It was bad, but it could have been worse. At least we still had a relatively intact house.
The tornado ended up being a blessing in disguise. It gave us the kick in the butt we needed to start redoing and fixing up the inside of the house. My back bedroom and the front hall are the last ones that need to still get done. My favorite place is becoming normal again. I can play with my little cousins and hang out with my brother and not worry about glass. I can do whatever I want and not feel bad that I’m not helping clean up the tornado.
Being at the farm gives me freedom to just be whoever I want to be. I don’t have to be on my best behavior like when I’m in school or out and about at home. I don’t care if I walk into Walmart wearing my lake swimming suit and shorts with my hair all messy and wet. When I’m there it feels like people don’t judge me on superficial things. I’m at my best when I’m with my family. They know the true kind and loving person that I am. I know that they will love me unconditionally so I can be silly or hyper or be feeling down and they don’t care. That’s the beauty of the farm for me.
I love the farm, some of my favorite childhood memories come from there. Telling old family tall tales while roasting s’mores around the campfire; playing spades around the kitchen table when we don’t. Going on hayrides in the fields and lying on the trailer staring up at the stars. Nobody’s watching me, nobody’s judging me. I can really truly be me.