Skip to main content

A Special Place

By August 31, 2011Family, Travel



Do you have a special place? A place that brings instant comfort and a feeling of security?  For my family, that place is my grandparents farm.



With all the moves and changes in our lives over the years, this is the one place that has remained constant. It smells of hundreds of family get-togethers, my late grandma’s cooking, and polka parties in the basement.


Everything, right down to the furniture in my grandpa’s wood shop is the same.


My grandpa is in ailing health, so our last-minute trip up north to Minnesota was brief and bittersweet. I knew going in that it might be the last time I sleep in my room, run along the dirt roads through the corn, and sneak green apples from the tree in the backyard without my grandpa noticing.


My brother brought his new girlfriend Maddy “home,” too meet my grandpa. He loved her and went all-out and took us on a tour of tiny New Ulm. I’ve been on his tours dozens of times, but I always see something new every time.

We took her to the brewery to look for the peacocks and deer.

We didn’t find any (too hot!) so we moved on to the all-famous Hermann the German monument…

He took us through neighboring Essig and showed us my great-grandfather’s farm and then to Sleepy Eye for a short visit with my great-aunt and uncle. He took us out for ice cream and like the total rebel he is, Grandpa requested pizza for dinner since it was just us kids. A pig and pineapple (topping preference must be genetic) and an all-veggie with kraut on top.

We spent the evenings showing Grandpa the Internet. He was enthralled by Google Earth and that you could find almost anything on EBay. Neil helped him look up all his tractors and the satellite view of where our family came from in Germany. I’m pretty sure he thinks Neil invented it.

Time went by so quickly, and it was so painful to leave. How do you say goodbye knowing the chance is very real you might never see someone again? How can this place be special without him in it?

Do you have a special place?


  • FishMama says:

    Brought tears to my eyes. So hard.

    On a side note, my German great-grandparents emigrated to Minnesota. My dad was the first to leave the farm. Maybe we’re related. 😉

  • Lissa says:

    I can’t seem to swallow the lump in my throat. Thanks so much for sharing your special place. Mine? Well mine isn’t there any more. My grandparents golf course was an endless playground for my brother, sister & cousins. I’m so glad you got to go.

  • Scott says:

    Agreed, great post Jessica. I moved around a lot too, so my grandparents ranch was always the touchstone. They sold it about ten years ago but I still miss it. Grandpa too, as he died in 2005. We just have to get to work creating those new special places, you know?

    • Jessica says:

      I think that was one of the biggest reasons behind buying. I know a big part of that stability and touchstone is going to be gone soon, and I need to recreate it in my own home. We’ve purposely not bought a lot because we want as much room for familiar things we know we’re inheriting as possible. I’m planting all the flowers my grandmother liked and building little areas around the yard for paths and stone walkways. After moving so much for so long, I just need “home” however I can get it.

  • Liz says:

    Oh, I know this must have been a hard trip for you. A few years ago, we packed up my grandparents’ home in Philadelphia where they had lived for 50 years together and had spent almost every summer and Christmas of my life. It was so hard to sleep there the last night and know I might never be back there. Hope you enjoy your trip– looks like the fair was fun!

    • Jessica says:

      The fair was great, and another way to recapture some great memories with my little brother, who was very little when we went to the fair. Thanks for stopping by!