“Legacy my son is more than the land I will leave you.” That is how Frances started teaching me one morning. He loved taking me to different parts of the land and sitting me down on the plush grass for these lessons. Not that I minded, but Frances always had a reason for everything he did with me, and the reason is what I loved to hear. So, one day I asked him, “Frances why do we always go to these different spots for you to teach me?” His response, “To show you Antonio the extent of what you have that is tangible, but the wisdom that I am giving you I want you to guard like you would if a thief came to rob you of your land.” Sometimes I wondered if I could remember everything that Frances was teaching me. He assured me that I would, “Things have a way of coming back to you when you need them,” he said.
Frances taught me about ownership, honor and respect. I tried to write notes in my little journal book as he talked, but at times it was difficult. Frances was so passionate about these topics that he would go so fast trying to get to a certain point. Several times he saw me trying to write fast and he would stop me. “Son, it is better to listen now than to write. My words will soak in, then you can write them if you need to,” he would say. It sounded like I was being prepped to be a warrior, if anyone was to eavesdrop on our talks. There were no talks of weapons, only training for your mind, which is your biggest weapon I was told.
I asked Frances how he came to have so much wisdom. That’s when we moved towards the fence where the property line begins. We sat on the old wooden fence. The gray paint was faded from years of wear and tear. Chowder, who had been running around different places saw us moving and followed us, then went back to roaming around. “It all began right here Antonio,” Frances said pointing at the fence we were sitting on. I looked at the fence questioningly. That day I learned about Frances’s history. These were is words…
“My Grand pappy came to visit one day and he sat me right here on this fence. He said, what do you see boy?” I told him I saw land. He didn’t like my answer so he asked me again. I answered the same way so he started teaching me. Land was a good answer, but it wasn’t just land. He wanted me to see the promise of prosperity. The land represented the legacy he was leaving to the family. The wisdom that helped to purchase it, produce on it to care for family, the wealth of it to pay our debt and the honor it gave the family in the eyes of those where that kind of thing mattered. My Grand pappy told he had to fight at times to keep the land. Some people just wanted to take it away just because. He wanted me to know the value and the struggle of the land. When he died years ago, my father told me about the value of me and he said if I understood that than not only will I have land but a mind to grow and expand it.”
Frances was quiet for some time. It was like he was stuck in a trance. He just looked off into the distance. I didn’t disturb him, I just thought about what he said. When He finally spoke he said, “Antonio, your job is to create and expand. I have been given a second chance in life when I got you. I was so distracted by the fact that Ruth and I couldn’t have kids that I failed to work at what I could do.” Frances took me off guard, in my eyes Frances was perfect. But, he saw failure.
That day I knew my purpose was to take the legacy a step further, give it more meaning. Frances wanted my mind to be strong enough to handle any pressure that may come my way. I understood and accepted the love he shared.