Old Roads {and making room for the new ones}

Dinner was on the table at the farm and my children were nowhere to be found.

My brother obligingly set off to find them.

I also went out to check on their progress of pulling themselves away from the freedom and wonder of the farm….to obey.

All three of them were running down the country lane.

I rushed back into the house to grab my camera and quickly capture them, the setting sun, the light on the golden cornstalks.

It is just a plain ‘ol country road…but with the right light it appeared magical.

We are now home  from our two week trip to see my mom and then some.

We are tired, there is a lot of laundry to do and even more work that needs to be tackled.

This morning I woke up early (body still on the eastern time zone).

The house was quiet, dark, coffee in hand and talking to my husband.

I have really missed this routine that we do each morning when he works from home.

On my trip home I caught myself down roads I haven’t traveled in a long time.

Some literal and some figuratively.

I was trying to be more intentional this trip home….not knowing really when the next time I will be in the area.

I saw friends from junior high and high school, drove past old schools, photographed the houses I grew up in…

One of the old roads I drove down was a long lane to the house of an old boyfriend’s parent.

The father of this boyfriend had lost his wife last year.

I wanted to tell him personally how sorry I was and just hug him.

As I was driving down that long lane a flood of memories that I honestly hadn’t thought about for over 18 years came rushing back.

Funny how those memories are always there…just waiting…wondering if you will choose to remember.

I had loved that boy so many years ago.

I don’t even remember now how long we had dated.

I think it was almost two years.

We drove each other nuts, fought all of the time…and I was crazy for him.


Even though I now know true, real love…those early loves were the most I had known and so they were real too.

I knocked on the old farmhouse door.

A voice from inside called out, “Come on in”.

Only in a small town would a person say that.

I cracked open the door and said, “Mr. ….., I don’t know if you remember me but I am….

He interrupted…..”Blue eyes”!

I hadn’t seen him for 18 years.

“Remember that is what we used to call you”?

With a smile on my face, “Yes, I remember”.

I sat in his kitchen for the next 45 minutes talking about his wife that is now gone, his family and all his grandchildren.

We talked briefly about the boy I had loved such a long time ago.

You don’t always get the chance to know that someone that you cared about is good.  Happy.  Loved.

That alone made me smile.

As I  headed back down that long lane I knew I would never be back.

I was thankful for that road.

That family.

That boy.

That chance to tell the father how sorry I was and hug him.

I appreciate all of those old roads from my past more and more these days.

With the old roads in my rear view mirror I am driving on….but I will never forget them.




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  1. jen@thecottagenest

    That’s beautiful Jeanne. You brought tears to my eyes this morning. What a kind thing to do for that sweet man. I hope your visit home brought you some peace. I thought you were so brave to share what is going on with your parents. I’m hoping for strength for all of you.

  2. Lisa

    This post is why I Love reading your blog! You captured that feeling of being back to a place with many memories and how you’re reminded of that girl you once were. Struck a chord with me as I’m not able to get back to those old roads very often but think about it a lot. Love the line, “You don’t always get the chance to know that someone that you cared about is good.” So true.

  3. kolleen


    this gave me goosebumps … what a beautiful, beautiful story.

    i so relate to the country roads, the corn fields, the “returning with intention”.

    you have inspired me for my next visit back home to Illinois to be more intentional, to take pictures of some of my old stomping grounds, to pay closer attention to things i may have taken for granted.

    thank you.
    you are such a special soul


  4. Stacy ~ Sweet Life Farm

    Beautiful view… heart-felt post… loved traveling along those old roads with you. Blessings!

  5. Leah C

    One of the prettiest, most profound posts ever!! Beautiful words, Jeanne…yours is a beautiful soul:)
    P.S. I agree with Paige;)

  6. cathy

    Oh that touched me this morning…My daughter is 18 and been going out with a boy for over 2 years…. This morning she cried because on some level she knows it has to end (he is so clingy he doesn’t like her to do anything with any one other then him) but on the other hand she thinks he is the love her life….She is studying to be an early childhood teacher and it is her last day of prac today. She said mum its all about my babies today (she is in a centre with 8 little ones under 18 months)…We smiled and she got out of the car and my heart just broke… Watching your children go through it seems so much harder then going through it yourself….Thank you for touching our hearts and souls and making us remember all the joys and sometime hard times of life…You are a wonderful writer…take care cathy xo

  7. carlanda

    oh jeanne, your story so touched my heart. what a wonderful adventure and what a generous thing you did to stop and hug your old loves father. i love the way you write. thank you so much for sharing this with us. xo

  8. Jo

    Your post made me cry. My husband passed away in Feb so I can relate to the father. I can also tell you that your visit meant the world to him and it was one he will never, ever forget. I promise you that. Some of the simplest things that people do for us are the ones that mean the most and we cherish them in our hearts. He will do that. He will tell people about that visit and it will always mean the world to him. Thank you for giving that gift to him. You are a good person.

  9. Jeannie-JB

    When you write from your heart it’s always moving – today you led us all down the road to our “first love” and most of us are married to our true love (or have moved on in some other way). They aren’t usually the same the first and the true. Thanks for the memories.

  10. Lori

    What a great thing to do Jeanne ~ we never forget our firsts do we? I love that he remembered his pet name for you ~ made me feel all mushy inside. Have a great week-end.

  11. LuLu

    You touch my heart in this post…I pictured it clearly, and thought of the boy I onced loved, the roads I traveled and to say hello, hugg the parents of the boy I loved too.

  12. Therese FitzRandolph

    Your story brought tears to my eyes this morning. What a beautiful thing to seek him out and share your time with him. I couldn’t read your post without traveling down some old roads myself. This is my favorite post that you’ve ever written. Thank you for sharing your heart with your readers.

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