Di­a­monds in the Dirt

While un­earthing time­less an­tiques, a mother and son strengthen their bond.

Country Woman - - SHARE A SMILE - BY CON­NIE HAGER EAS­TON, PENN­SYL­VA­NIA

Afew years ago, a child­hood friend named Lisa asked if I’d like to see an old dresser that she was sell­ing. Junk­ing was one of my hob­bies, so I went over to the farm that she owned with her mother, Phyl­lis, to take a look.

When I ar­rived, I learned that Lisa and Phyl­lis were sell­ing the farm, and they faced the daunt­ing task of clean­ing out ev­ery sin­gle build­ing on the prop­erty: two barns, three garages and sev­eral sheds. I leapt at the op­por­tu­nity to help my friend clean the farm, and I brought along my teenage son, Race, to help.

We spent weeks search­ing for Phyl­lis’ treasures and dig­ging them out. There was a huge ca­st­iron stove buried in the dirt; Race and I dug it out piece by piece. We found a pos­sum belly baker’s ta­ble in the milk house. There was a 60-drawer cab­i­net that came out of one shed. We were told it had been used to store nuts and bolts.

Race and I learned plenty of his­tory dur­ing this ex­ca­va­tion. Not want­ing the his­tory to be lost or for­got­ten, we held barn sales on the week­ends, turn­ing the farm’s garage into a store. Lisa and Phyl­lis al­lowed me to keep a few of the treasures, but the best gift of all was the pre­cious time I got to spend with my son.

By help­ing a life­long friend pre­pare her fam­ily’s farm for sale, I learned what it truly means to be thank­ful, and I found a pas­sion for rust and dirt. Now I man­age a Face­book page that I’ve named Rus­tic Hens, where I sell items and share sto­ries of the treasures I find while junk­ing.

This cab­i­net is one of many gems that Con­nie Hager found while help­ing a friend pre­pare her farm to be sold.

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