Friday, August 8, 2008

Maple Hill Farm

My very favorite book as a child was “Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm”. I know I read it a thousand times. I didn’t own a copy of it when I first fell in love with the story so I checked it out of the library over and over. I read it to everyone that I could hold captive long enough to read it to. I just loved this book.

My Favorite Book

My favorite characters in this book was Max the Cat, Pearl the Pig and the pages at the end of the book that were devoted to former animals of Maple Hill Farm.

I remember I checked this book out of the public library so many times that the name card was filled up on both sides with only my name. The librarian suggested that I ask Mom buy me the book since I loved it so much. When I got home that evening I tried and tried to talk Mom into getting me that book. What I didn’t know at the time was Mom and Dad had been trying to find me the book for quite a while and had went all the way to Harrisonburg, VA to order it from a bookstore. The book was on back order and would take a few weeks for them to get it. Talk about excited, I was one happy boy when Mom and Dad gave me my very own copy of “Our Animals Friends at Maple Hill Farm” for my 7th birthday. It quickly became my most cherished possession.

My school picture when I was 7 or 8 years old.

I had hopes and dreams of owning a farm exactly like Maple Hill Farm one day. In fact, when I was young when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always told them, “I'm gonna be a farmer”. One time, my grandmaw Mary heard me say that and she said, “Oh honey, you can’t be a farmer when you grow up, only rich men can be farmers these days, my Daddy was a farmer and we was a poor man all of his life. You've gotta be born into money to be able to do something like that these days, a poor boy like you ain't got a chance. Why don’t you go on to school and get an education and use your brain to make your living?”

Following the saged advice of my sainted grandmother, I put my dreams of being a farmer on the back burner and went on to college. But even to this day, in the forefront of my mind is the desire to buy a piece of land so I can be a farmer, no matter where I am in life or what I am doing, I find myself longing to till the soil and to make new life sprout from the sweet ground. I may be a poor man all of my life, but I truly think that is my key to a fulfilled life.

By the way, I still have the copy of "Our Animals Friends at Maple Hill Farm" that Mom and Dad bought me all those years ago, complete with my old notes and drawings on the page margins. I still read it every few months and I even corner Shirley some nights at bedtime to read her my favorite book. What can I say, it is a riveting read!! Some things just never grow old.


tipper said...

Well I've never read it-but looks like I'm going to have to now. I too dream of having my own little farm.

Shirley Stewart Burns, Ph.D. said...

This is a great book. Just read it to my little feller last night.

Granny Sue said...

This one was always popular at my library too. When I was young, I drew pictures of the farm I would own one day. My place isn't exactly like my drawings, but close enough. Keep dreaming, Matthew and it will happen.

And by the way, I do have a few acres for sale...

Shirley Stewart Burns, Ph.D. said...

My little feller liked this so much, that I had to read it (along with Cynthia Rylant's "When I was Young in the Mountain") to him again last night. Maple Hill Farm is a good read!