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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Stories Along the Back Roads & Dead Ends

We recently celebrated our two year wedding anniversary.

A lot has happened in two years and a lot will happen in the next two years.
Sometimes I can't get over how time flies when you are living life and creating your story.

For our anniversary we stayed in Story, Indiana at the Story Inn.
There's not much in Story, and honestly I think it really only has 2 residents--the owners of the inn.

I had been there a few times for their annual wine festival, for drinks with my once boyfriend now husband and for brunch after delivering a bull in Freetown, Indiana which isn't far from Story.

However, after staying there a few nights and spending days on the front porch of our rented house, there is a lot in Story.  There are lots of stories--ones created from the first settlers back in the early 1800s to the once thriving community that later never recovered from the Great Depression.

Today, Story seems like a paradise at a dead end along the back roads of Indiana.
Hoosiers that know the area, and other guests that have visited Story, understand that dead ends are sometimes the best places to continue your journey and your story.  Bikers, horseback riders, lovers of Indiana history, out-for-a-Sunday drive folks and those that enjoy a quiet, dead end know that Story is the place to visit.

My husband and I had finished our brunch and were wandering around the garden when he turns to me and says, "Let's go on a drive."  My immediate response was, "No, I drive all the time.  I'm sick of the road."

"No" he says, "I want to show you something."  
And that he did.

We hopped in the truck and down the gravel roads to "The Town That Was", Elkinsville, Indiana.  
I wanted to read the sign from the truck but he said, "Get out.  Just believe me."
He knows me pretty well, except that he didn't bring tissues so he must still be learning.

These families had to leave their little town so the federal government could build a reservoir 
for other families and other towns.  

I bawled.  I couldn't handle it.  
Tears were dripping down my face and he was laughing because he knew that I would love to see this and honor these people at this dead end.

I loved this memorial for the people that had to move so other families could have water and now enjoy what many of us in the area know as Lake Monroe.  But what's worse is that they actually didn't really have to move.  Someone miscalculated the elevation levels and the little town didn't need to be evacuated after all!

What I realized on this trip down another dead end road is that we are all a part of each other's story.
These people had to leave their town and so did so many others so that the reservoir could be built.  As a kid and a teenager, I went boating and swimming there and didn't even think about the families that had to leave their homes.  Even though without their stories, those memories wouldn't be a part of my story.

We headed down the road and came upon this house.  
I was staring at this once beautiful home with this fence and the open gate when I heard, "Those flowers are annuals.  Someone had to come and plant those and probably does every year." 
Again, I lost it, realizing that someone was trying to continue 
to honor the story of the residents that once lived here.

We turned down another road, and yet another dead end. 
An abandoned bridge that once connected one town to another and neighbors to neighbors.

There were stories on one side and on the other.  
And I wondered how many stories were created on that bridge too.

When I was in D.C. last week, I sat in a meeting room of the National Museum of American History discussing the new exhibit American Enterprise.  My fellow farmers and agriculture advocates were meeting with the exhibit curator about incorporating agriculture into the exhibit today and what it may look like in the next 20 years (the length of the exhibit).  I realized that my conversations were going to influence him to tell our story, the farmer and agriculture story, for generations to come just like those featured in the exhibit have influenced my life, my story.

I was also advocating for agriculture and our farm businesses and way of life while I was in D.C.
Two days later, I was at county 4-H livestock auction realizing my story, my advocating, was going to affect the kids in the arena and the way they live out their stories.

As I reflect on the past two years and appreciate all those memories and stories, I always try to remember where it all started.  It was the day when we signed on the line and committed to a lifetime of stories together while my grandma looked on, her story leading to mine and mine to the next.

And I have always known that each one of us is connected to each other through some story.
Sometimes we just need a reminder so we remember to not forget "The Town That Was" and the lives that were.

So here we are, starting our adventures down the back roads of the next two years of our story together.  While he drives us, I'll write it all down.  And I think he has learned to bring plenty of tissues along, especially to the dead ends with all the great stories. 

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