Featured Journal

The signature that shaped our lives

Written by Leslie Means

Thirty nine years ago today, a very important paper was signed.  I’ve never seen it, I wasn’t even alive when the ink dried, but its significance defined my entire life. 

Thirty nine years ago today, my father purchased land and a house in which to raise his growing family.  It was the same land and house he called “home” during his childhood.    It was the same land and house his father called “home.”  It was the same land and house his father’s father helped create when he planted roots in 1901.  That guy, who also happens to be my great grandfather, saw potential in the land on the 14 mile corner in Webster County. 

That guy started a tradition 113 years in the making.

I always thought it was cool that my older sister, Lindsay got to sleep in the same bedroom where my father and grandfather slept as boys.  Maybe that room was meant for boys, although it didn’t quite turn out that way for dad. 

He had 4 girls.

I was the youngest of the four.  My mom received two baby blankets when she was pregnant with me – both blue.  I’ve heard jokes that most people wanted me to be a boy.  And while we know everyone was thrilled to have me enter the world – I can’t help but wonder if there was a sense of concern from the older generation.

Who will take over the farm?

We didn’t let that thought trouble our minds.  As kids – the farm was our haven.  We had miles upon miles to roam.  At night during the warm Nebraska months, my sister Lindsay and I would lie under the stars and ponder the world.  You could see for miles out there.  I’m pretty sure we got to see some of the brightest night sky.  At least that’s how I always felt. 

Maybe that’s what the house did – I just made me feel special.  My sisters would agree.  If I asked my Dad, he would likely same the same thing.  And while I never got the chance to ask my grandpa or great grandpa – I’m sure they would agree.  There’s something about that place; something that’s hard to explain unless you were one of the lucky ones to experience it. 

You might know what I’m talking about.  Those of us that grow up on a family farm get to experience a magic and tradition like no other.  But that tradition is quickly fading.  Rural Nebraska gets smaller each year. 

That’s why a document signed just a few days ago, could be one of the most important documents our family has ever received.  It’s significant for the lives and tradition of farm families across this great nation.  It’s a signature of hope and strength and courage. 

As of March 28, 2014, my sister Lindsay and her husband officially own the house and much of the land our family has called home for so many years.  We know they didn’t have to sign those papers.  We know it’s a choice, just like the choice my father, my grandfather and great grandfather made all those years prior.

And that’s what makes it so incredible.

Their signature means my niece and nephew get to roam the farm and stare up at a night sky brighter than most kids get to see.  They don’t know – yet – how lucky they are.   

Their signature means my kids and their kids get to experience the magic held on that land.    

Their signature means I, most likely, will never have to see the family tradition leave the family.

Their signature is shaping the lives of generations we may never know. 

Their signature saves a 113 year tradition. 

Last Friday – I wasn’t there to see the papers being signed.  To my knowledge, no photos were taken – no fuss was made.  It was just a simple transaction between my parents, my sister and her husband; a simple signature that will shape the lives of generations to come. 

I am forever grateful. 

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About the author

Leslie Means

Leslie is the co-founder and owner of Her View From Home.com. She is also a former news anchor, published children’s book author, weekly columnist, and has several published short stories as well.

She is married to a very patient man. Together they have two pretty fantastic little girls ages 8 and 6 and one little dude born March 2017!

When she’s not sharing too much personal information online and in the newspaper – you’ll find Leslie somewhere in Nebraska hanging out with family and friends. There’s also a 75% chance at any given time, you’ll spot her in the aisles at Target.

8 Comments

  • I too was the youngest of four girls! My mom said she saved the best for last 🙂
    It’s so good to hear your story. So many families are so greedy and will fight over who gets the family farm. Or so many times everyone moves away to a city and the farm becomes abandoned, or sold for farm ground. What a humble person you are to be so grateful that it is staying in your family. I have wondered myself what will happen to my family’s farm that also goes generations back. Will one of my sisters or myself be willing to move there and do the upkeep? Or will it be just an open field someday with a pivot taking it’s place? I hope that Linsey’s family has as much joy as you and her did as kids.

  • I don’t even like to drive by our family farm as there is nothing there anymore – just farm ground with a pivot on it. It is so sad! You are so lucky to keep your home in the family!