CHAPTER 4 On the Chopping Block

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copyright 2017 Chris Smith  All Rights Reserved.

Strangers were going to auction off OUR Farm, and there was nothing we could do. People I had never met and wouldn't know if I saw them on the street could take our land and sell it.

It boggled my mind as I paced the stained carpet of my shanty shack. Part of me wanted to eliminate the scarce breakfast that was churning in my stomach. I thought it would make me feel better. Maybe all would be right in my world if I could just expel the toast.

But it wasn't the toast. I wanted to vomit up my whole life. I wonder if that's possible.

Can I vomit up my whole life?

Would it burn my throat like normal vomit and have that bitter aftertaste that won't go away?

The two parcels of our Farm, Parcel A and B, were the very last properties to be auctioned off. We had come down to it. The truth of the reaper's scythe would scrape across our little slice of heaven and there would be a bloodletting all over the earth.

The auctioneer read off the first of our Parcels. The crowd was quiet. There were no takers. The killer in the business suit holding the cellphone looked at my Dad with her steely eyes, waiting perhaps for him to bid. He said nothing. He stood facing the storm, in total silence.

Dad was powerless without the money. All the family history, all the blood and sweat he'd left on that land, and there was nothing he could do. All his vast experience, the years he'd spent in support and service to our country, and all his wishes and hopes couldn't stop what was happening.

No one bid on the first Parcel. The auctioneer went on to the last property on her list, our second Parcel. The crowd was silent again. There were no bids for either Parcel. Just like that, we'd lost our Farm.

The Farm had always been a part of my life. It consisted of four parcels that comprised close to one hundred acres. Most of the land was forest but it had a small old apple orchard on it, and an overgrown Christmas tree farm.

My Grandparents had used the Farm as a weekend retreat. They'd allow loved ones to come up and stay from time to time too. There was a large hotel style guestbook in the front parlor for visitors to sign and leave comments. I remember countless times as a child going through the guestbook of stories.

During the Holiday Season my Grandparents would have Christmas Tree parties. They would invite a small group of people to come up to the Farm, pick out, and cut down their own Christmas tree. It was like a preholiday picnic and party.

We'd even lived on the Farm too when I was very young. Years later, my Parents had decided to move back to the area and into the Glass House on Parcel B. My Mom wanted to be closer to my Grandmother who was diagnosed with Cancer.

The Farm had been in my life so long, I couldn't imagine a future without it. Everywhere I looked there were pieces of me stained into the history of the land. The earth I walked upon was filled with memories of relatives long since dead.

Can you track the destruction of your known life back to minute decisions?

Can you look back and know the moment it changed?

We were riddled with shame. So we told no one. We carried the weight of it strapped to our own backs. It cut into our flesh. It tormented our dreams. But we bore it alone.

I was raised under the guise that we didn't share our woes with people on the outside. Most people, if not all, fell under the category of "outside". So I'd developed the skills of smiling, nodding, and telling outsiders everything was "fine". I learned how to lock things up and shove them way down deep. I learned how to cut conversations short and how to evade. The outsiders got the clue and simply moved on to badger someone else who'd play along with their stupid social script.

I felt like an outcast for most of my life. Judged for reasons I knew not, and condemned in silence for crimes I wasn't even aware I'd committed. As a child I adjusted to the reality that I was presented with. I adjusted and found a way to survive in spite of it.


"The FDIC reiterates the guarantee of federal deposit insurance in the event of a bank failure."

U.S. FDIC Press Release

December 2008

Fact: "The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) preserves and promotes public confidence in the U.S. financial system by insuring deposits in banks and thrift institutions for at least $250,000; by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to the deposit insurance funds; and by limiting the effect on the economy and the financial system when a bank or thrift institution fails. An independent agency of the federal government, the FDIC was created in 1933 in response to the thousands of bank failures that occurred in the 1920s and early 1930s. Since the start of FDIC insurance on January 1, 1934, no depositor has lost a single cent of insured funds as a result of a failure. The FDIC receives no Congressional appropriations – it is funded by premiums that banks and thrift institutions pay for deposit insurance coverage and from earnings on investments in U.S. Treasury securities. The FDIC insures more than $7 trillion of deposits in U.S. banks and thrifts – deposits in virtually every bank and thrift in the country."


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