barrington farm - recollections
Don Mason's recollections about the farm:
When my brother Russ and I were growing up on the ‘Fun Farm’ (our name for it when we were teen-agers; and what we call it to this day) - the farm in Barrington that Sarah remembers for the summer weekend afternoons she spent riding her buckskin, Bourbon, in those beloved wide-open fields that flowed out from behind the barn – we were in kid heaven. We had our own orchard to play ‘army’ in (with lots of apples, pears, and cherries mom would can for winter use), fields to explore, a barn to play in, a tractor that we would drive to mow various parts of the yard and orchard, with its sicle-bar chopper and its gang mover that dragged behind. (That was my favorite chore as a kid. Made me feel so grown up.) In the fall, a dozen pheasant hunters could sometimes be seen advancing across the fields from the south, behind the barn. One fall, our fun-loving husky mix, who we called ‘Sarge’, came back to the yard with a big pheasant, full of buckshot, between his teeth. A hunter was, no doubt, hot under the collar over losing his bird.
I would go on long walks out in those fields with my dad; and he would tell me the names of the different kinds of grass and the other plants as we walked and talked (well, it was mostly dad talking. But I was listening.), and we would sometimes talk about family memories from the past, such as our car trip out to Colorado when Russ and I were young. But, mostly, we just walked in blissful silence; except, of course, for me asking lots of questions. I appreciate now how lucky I was to have a father, for however short a time, who had done and seen so much in his life; and so generously shared his gentle wisdom and wry sense of humor with us.
I explored those fields pretty thoroughly on my own in those idyllic years when the world was still somewhat innocent and not as fast-paced as it is now. We had a slough full of pussy willows and a creek with mysterious-looking mounds – five or six all the same size, all in a row - that we were convinced must be Indian burial mounds. And we had yet another orchard of gnarled and twisted trees about a quarter mile away we called ‘Italy’, because those trees reminded us of trees in the ‘Italy’ that we’d seen in movies. These places weren’t on our property, but they were part of our world. And what a great world it was. The Fun Farm was such a wonderful place to grow up. I am so grateful to our dad for moving us out there from Park Ridge in 1958. Those were some magical years.