It is also the birthday of Grant Wood the artist who painted " American Gothic" So the final assignment was to imagine what happens next in the painting.
"It's been a hard year made even harder by the deadly illness that has been sweeping the land. Homer is not a young man and ever since our son abandoned us and the farm to go out west, he just works sunrise to sunset and hardly speaks at all. He never takes a rest except for Sundays when he puts on a clean white shirt and his only black suit coat and solemnly walks to the old church. Reverend Johns has aged poorly in this harsh country and has been beset with frequent ailments so Homer, as head deacon, often is the one who delivers the sermon to our shrinking community of worshipers. Today though is NOT Sunday--- but he got up and put on his clean white shirt and black coat. Today, we are going over to the Christenson's, our closest neighbors and friends. Hans and Homer came to this land together as young men. Their eyes filled with dreams of "amber waves of grain" and two story clapboard houses filled with children and surrounded by spacious green fields punctuated by the flowers and trees planted with their own hands, grown from the seeds ordered in the dead of winter after pouring over all the pages and choices in the seed catalog. Some of those dreams came true but the house was a humble one story and the children struggled to arrive and then much too soon slipped away to Jubilee carried on the wings of angels. All except one, our son George. He grew into a handsome lad with sun kissed curls with a quick laugh and a twinkle in his eye. And then on to be a tall broad shouldered man with bigger dreams than a back breaking life toiling in the hard earth year after year. So he left.... But I digress, today we are going over to the Christenson's. Homer is going to give the eulogy, then he and the other few able body men will lower Hans into the all consuming earth---"dust to dust". Then, they will see to pitching the last load of hay that Hans had brought in from the field before he was struck ill into the rafters of the barn. I will be helping Rebecca, she is consumed with grief and has been in poor health herself, I'm afraid she may soon follow Hans though the veil. Well, Homer has started walking, his head hanging, his shoulders rounded and using his pitchfork like and old man's walking stick. What a different picture than when we were first married he'd kiss me goodbye and then set out his head held high, the pitchfork swaying jauntily on his shoulder and with a sharp whistle invite Old Shep to join him..... Enough of looking to the past, "for suffient unto the day is the 'work' thereof" and He needs my shoulder to the wheel.