Excerpt: Chapter 2 – Stolen Dreams

Dreams do come true. My father lived his dream on his parents’ farmstead near Bremen in Northern Indiana. My mother’s dream became real when she married and joined my father… But without warning, in the light of day, their dream was ripped from their grasp, and their lives were uprooted. You see, nightmares come true, too.

… I have an image in my mind of my grandfather walking up the lane, the gravel crunching beneath his feet. The sun was rising above the corncrib and the rooster alerted his flock to the start of a new beginning. His expression was serious, a bit more than usual. My father emerged from the barn after milking and the two men stood face to face.

“Mick,” he said. He turned away momentarily, unable to look my father in the eye. “I know I told you that you would one day own this farm. And I know you’ve bought all this equipment and your animals…and you’ve been workin’ hard and looking forward to that day….” He glanced at his boots before continuing. “But that isn’t going to happen. I’ve decided to give the farm to your brother and his wife—to Omer, and Mabel. I need you to move out in three months.”

Then he turned, put his hands in his pockets, and stared at the ground as he ambled slowly back down the lane to his house. The dirty deed was done. There would be no more nonconformity on the Stevens’ farm.

My father must have lost his breath like he’d been kicked in the gut. Maybe for once his tearless eyes streamed with warm salty water. Maybe he squeezed his weather-worn hands tightly together so he wouldn’t pass out. Maybe if he thought no one was looking, he would have stared skyward before collapsing to his knees onto the earth on which his life depended.

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