Kind words from a visitor

Thank you Ms. Carlson. We hope to see you again soon!

I have had the delight and privilege of visiting several of the Land Grant universities and have seen quite a few educational displays attempting to connect today’s suburban residents to their agricultural roots.  The artists and educators connected with the Reece Farm have done an exceptional job in illustrating the life that was common to almost all rural folks in the first half of the last century.  The displays are approachable, understandable and present a fair balance of the challenges of rural life and how those challenges were met day in and day out with hard work.  School and adult groups will benefit for many years to come.  Today, spinning, weaving, crochet and knitting skills are relegated to the “Arts and Crafts” category, but in those days, these winter and lamplight skills were taught early and considered a responsibility as well as artistic expression.  Thank you for recognizing this aspect of that era.  Mr. Reece’s personal items also lend insight to his quiet and too short life.

 How fitting that his words are inscribed in the pillars arranged on the farm’s grounds, within the sound of Wolf Creek and the shadow of Georgia’s beloved mountains. Please give my regards to the planners and architects of such a welcoming and peaceful site.

 

Becky Carlson

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Kind words from a visitor

  1. Ethelene Dyer Jones

    As a long-time advocate for Byron Herbert Reece, my neighbor in Choestoe, exceptional writer who, in his own words said he was “a farmer first and then a writer,” I greatly appreciate M s. Becky Carlson’s evaluation of the Reece Farm and Heritage Center. We are grateful that visitors to the site see something of the life and times of poet/novelist/farmer/teacher/ (and I might add genius) Byron Herbert Reece. In her comments she mentioned “his quiet life.”
    Life on an early twentieth century farm, in retrospect, might have seemed “quiet” by today’s too-busy pace, but I can say as one who was a child/teenager when Mr. Reece “came into his own” with his first publications, that life on a mountain farm was not exactly quiet, nor did it lend itself to leisure and a slow-moving pace. Life and work on a mountain farm never could be termed “easy”. Always, always there were jobs to be done, “With fence to mend and fields to tend,/And care of wheat and corn” (from his poem “The Stay-at-Home). Many jobs were pressing, calling for his attention on the farm. To balance time to write with necessary farm work was ever a challenge for him. But even as he cultivated what was planted, gathered the harvest, and kept the jobs done, then late, late into the nights he would write in his attic room or later in the small “Mulberry Hall” he built for his writing studio. Was he slyly referring to his dual work–farmer/writer–when he wrote the 8-line poem “The Country Guest”? He ended that double quatrain thus: “But pages gossip their contempt/In corridors of tile.” I believe the words pounded at the parameters of his mind for release, even as the multiple jobs of his mountain farm cried out for his energies, attention and time. His was not an easy life. How he answered to both his callings for as long as his “ailing heart” and disease-ravished body allowed him to keep his pace is a measure of amazement to me. Sheer determination dogged both his nights and days; work of manual farm labor and of creative urge both got done–and well–by Byron Herbert Reece
    .
    -Ethelene Dyer Jones

  2. Spoken so graciously about a scene which MUST be viewed to fully appreciated.

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