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July 25, 2010

Some introductions. First of all, most of you know why I’m here, in Virginia that is, beginning a new life on the farm away from beloved New York City. Him. That boy I love. Jason Bowman. And it is here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the “bread basket of the South”, that I find myself on his family’s farm, on the dangerously beautiful country road of South Middle–dangerous in that it’s so beautiful you may just look away from the road on one of those picturesque turns…

Spring Hollow Farm makes up the heart of the Bowman farm. It literally sits on a natural spring that the cows come up and drink out of, and is the home where Papaw and Mamaw Bowman (Dick and Barbara) live, patriarch and matriarch that they are.

We are currently living at the Rudy Farm down the road. We hope to one day fix up and move into the Mill Creek House. Get used to all these names, they’re steeped in history and meaning. I’m just getting used to them myself!

Just a few days ago I went out in search of some good yoga in a neighboring city. It turns out that the woman who taught the class happened to be a Bowman on her mother’s side,  (no immediate relation, I’ll explain more about the Bowman lineage later), asked where I lived. I started to explain, and she immediately jumped in. “Oh yeah, you live at the old Rudy Farm. I live down the road across the old railroad tracks near Bowman’s Crossing (again, no immediate relation–but they’re all distantly related. Again, will explain more later). So you’re the daughter-in-law from New York!”  News travels fast in these parts. Lesson number one. Then again, I remember that from high school.

Speaking of high school, the last story of the night, I promise. Yesterday I went into Bowman Brothers, the family agricultural repair shop in the town of Mt. Jackson across from the bank and the post office. Philip, Jason and Jacob were all busy working behind the desk. But Papaw was sitting out on the shop floor shootin’ the breeze with a smiley, weathered, salt-and-pepper haired man who pulled up a seat for me. He introduced himself, “Vitto Gentilly…a genuiiiine Shenandoah County name, goes way back,” he says with a smile. Catching his whit, I respond, “Mine too, Harrigan McMahon. Real common name ’round these parts.” I began to feel a bit at home in the presence of this genuiiiine Italian man. We started chatting about this and that, you know, sheep, the weather, and he stops and say, “don’t I know you from somewhere?” Papaw watches this whole interaction silently, and Jason, Jacob and their dad (or daddy, as they say in these parts) Philip are all leaning in to listen to our shop chat while pretending to work diligently, all three leaning into the same computer. “Maybe,” I said, thinking he might have known my mom’s boyfriend from when she lived here. “You’re that girl that painted that painting of the covered bridge on the wall of Kitt’s Kafe!” “Yeah, that was me, back in 8th grade! Is that still there? Wow, I hope someone paints over that soon! Did you know me through Kitt? Did I know you through my family in high school?” “…No, you’re that girl that was in the paper. And you had a sister too, how’s your sister?” Lesson number two. Local papers carry a lot of clout and genuiiine important information (and gossip).

Turns out Vitto Gentilly was born in Brooklyn New York, grew up in Queens, and moved down to the valley back in the 1970’s where he “finally felt at home”. Papaw was so shocked to find out that his farmer friend and shop talk buddy was from “up North in that city” that he actually issued Vitto a compliment, as if he was reluctantly giving him an award of some kind…”Well, if you hadn’t told me you were from up North in that city there, I woulda thought you were always a farmer from around here. You did good for yourself as a farmer here.” I guess the compliment lies in how well Mr. Gentilly could hide his city roots and plant some genuiiine country ones.

My first New Yorker friend. Who knew I’d find one so fast?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Candace Duerksen permalink
    August 12, 2010 11:00 pm

    Welcome home, Harrigan! Treg saw the blog and he kept saying over and over and over — Harrigan on a farm? Harrigan living on a farm? I think that you’ll have a blast! I can’t wait to hear about all of your adventures! Love, CD

    • August 15, 2010 6:09 pm

      Thanks Candace! That’s funny, I guess I really pulled off the city-girl life for a while, but my childhood was spent in the woods! So although I miss the people and the heartbeat of the city beyond words, this lifestyle, thankfully, isn’t too foreign!

      I’ve just recently received access to internet, and got to finally catch up on your blog after almost two months! You guys are just amazing! They’re all so big! And I LOVED the music on Finn’s first birthday video!

      Much love to you all!!! Hope we swap many more stories!
      Love in Christ,
      Harrigan

  2. Vanessa Bouche permalink
    August 16, 2010 9:48 am

    I just LOVE these stories and look forward to reading many many more. The Bouche’s cannot wait to visit you on the farm!

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