Monday started off in the normal fashion.  As we finished breakfast in Sarah’s kitchen, we couldn’t have guessed what Mike was thinking.  That is, unless, we had polled some of the folks he’d been talking to at the party the day before.  What Mike wanted to do, what he suddenly felt compelled to do on our last day in Minnesota was to visit Northfield—a good two-hour drive from the farm.

               “Mike, we’ve got to get organized for our trip home,” I explained to a flat fixed expression. “If we go to Northfield, that will take the entire day and the cooperation of the whole family.” He stared straight out the window at the red barn across the driveway.  He was sadly determined.  I was stumped. Mike was not going to capitulate and I was frustrated.

            Sarah, a trained counselor and very effective mediator, sat down beside Mike.  She held his hand for a minute and then calmly asked him, “What do you want to do in Northfield, Mike?”

            “I want to see our house.”  I couldn’t have been more surprised. The house that he, the children and I built almost thirty years ago.  He’d never talked about going back, instead for years he adamantly resisted the idea. Might be nice to visit with friends we’d had for so many years, but not back to all the memories, the buildings, the plants, the trees.  I imagined he might fear having some regrets about leaving that huge chunk of our history in the hands of another owner. 

            “It sounds like you’ve thought about this,” Sarah asked, as her children gathered around to see what the drama at the kitchen table was all about.

            “I have. Bill said he’d take me, if I needed a ride.”  Mike was serious about making this trip, especially if he’d asked his friend Bill to drive from Minneapolis to take him.

            “I called the owners this morning and they said ‘You’re welcome anytime.’” Mike knew what he needed to do all that was missing was transportation.

            “Now is the time,” he said with tears in his eyes, “because I may never get another chance.”

With that final statement Sarah whipped into action. “Okay kiddos get your shoes on, we’re going to Northfield.”