On Thanksgiving Day, my father stood in our living room, looking out the picture window at his grandchildren and great-grandchildren playing on the front lawn.
I remember, he said, stooped over, arthritic hands shoved deep in his pockets, I remember when life was like that. Simple. Joyful. Even the early days on the farm. Hard, hard work. But each day, we smelled the sweetness of hay and touched cows who had names.
He paused for a moment, never taking his eyes off the kids. By the time I sold the place ten years ago, it had all changed. Every cow and calf had an ear tag with a number on it. Never smelled the hay anymore because I was cooped up in an air-conditioned tractor cab. Everything was focused on the numbers in the account books your mother kept.
He came back to the dining room table and sat down. All different. All different now.
new factory in town
staffed by robots
that work day and night
down the street
a vacant diner for sale