It was born from a desire to “get back out there.” To do something to make the world a better place as part of my post-COVID reentry. Over someone’s firepit, six of us Old Town neighbors brainstormed ideas of a camping trip turned service project.
And so, on this Memorial Day weekend of 2021, we set out to High Hope Farm, an organic, sustainable farm in the Golden Triangle region of Mississippi, offering a dozen eager hands and six willing hearts. This fit perfectly into my plan of returning to a normal that was kinder, more aware and inclusive, willing. And, as the rules of the Universe go, when one gives, she receives so much more.
As we had requested, owners Johnny and Debbie prepared a punch list, but made it perfectly clear, if at anytime we had a hankering to slip off and play with their precious dogs, swing on a swing, or sit on the floor and thumb through their amazing book collection, we were welcome. Debbie told us during our initial tour, “around here, ‘porching’ is a verb.”
Johnny made sure we each got our turn to drive the tractor and the four-wheeler, and both he and Debbie were generous with all they’ve learned from mentors and gurus regarding sustainable farming, where the health of the soil, composted horse manure, root length of grasses, and where the animals will get their next drink and gift the land with their next poop is of utmost importance.
We feasted on the bounty from their meticulous garden. When I asked Debbie if she’d tutor me in the art of biscuit making, she immediately lay before me the ingredients and recipe; she guided. Although I felt the joy, I didn’t realize at the time, I was back in my grandma’s kitchen, standing on a stool, covered in flour. What a gift.
I don’t know if it was the incredibly fresh air, the bucolic setting, the sense of community with like-minded people and gorgeous, well-loved animals, the sense of accomplishment, sipping bourbon and making new friends, or the sum of the adventure, but I’m fulfilled. Hungry for more. Ready.
On the drive home, BF asked, “What was the highlight for you?”
After some deliberation, I answered, “When we all gathered for dinner.”
He said, “Yeah. me too.”
Those dinners, those people who have a heart for the less fortunate, the energy of gratefulness, generosity, and hope that permeate the well-named farm, netted me much hope as I look forward to my next adventure.