Sam smiled broadly as he walked across the stage to shake hands with the principal and receive his High School Diploma. He was the first of six children to make it to graduation. His family had thrown an all-day party for him. Even though it was near the end of Spring, Sam’s grandfather, father, and his three older brothers had killed and butchered a hog for the celebration. Sam’s grandmother, mother, and his two older sisters stayed busy cooking and cleaning in the kitchen.
The celebration began with fresh tenderloin, scrambled eggs, and sliced tomatoes, served with biscuits and gravy. The entire family had eaten together. Everyone was full of congratulations for Sam.
After graduation, Sam walked down to his favorite place on the families huge farm; a little brook. Sam often came here to do his thinking, and he had been doing a lot of thinking for the past few months. Fact was that finishing high school was not really that big of a deal. Sam was smart, but his grades had not been good enough to land him a scholarship for college. Every penny his family earned, from farming, went right back in to the upkeep of the farm.
Both of Sam’s grandfather’s had fought in World War I. One returned, one did not. Sam’s father, along with several of his uncle’s, had fought in World War II. The draft had been set back up as mandatory and there was talk about a war brewing in Vietnam.
Sam knew he did not want to become a farmer. Two of his older brother’s went into farming. The other brother worked in a local steel mill. Sam knew he did not want to be a factory worker either.
Sam had been talking to an Army Recruiter that had come to the school, in March. He was leaning heavily on joining the Army. The travel appealed to him. He would probably get drafted anyway. Sam thought it would be better to join first.
Sam’s Army Career began in August of 1964. He was sent to Vietnam in December of 1968. Sam had learned a lot about life and death from growing up on a farm. In Vietnam, he felt himself growing-up real fast.
By the time Sam returned to the United States, in 1973, he was twenty-eight years old. He took two-years of mechanics in an Army Technical College, but decided to continue a career with the Army. In 1975, Sam was sent to Germany. There he met a young lady, Callie, who worked in the Army Office. Sam fell in love for the first time. They were married within a year, after meeting.
Both Sam and Callie wanted to start a family right away. Sam soon found himself to be the father of four strong boys. He spent time with them when he could, but his Army career took him away from home, often. The family moved often, from Germany, to Alaska, and several states in the U. S. Sam’s sons had a good education wherever they moved.
After forty years of serving his country, Sam retired in 2004. He was fifty-eight years old. Sam took a closer look at his life. He hoped he had at least forty more good years to live his life. At first, Sam worked on becoming closer to his sons and their families.
Sam’s oldest son had followed his father’s footsteps and joined the Army. His next to oldest son, went to college and became an engineer. The next son, went to college and became a farmer. His youngest son, also, went to college and became a farmer.
Sam decided that he wanted to go home and take over the family farm, so he and his wife packed up and moved back to the family farm, where Sam had grown-up.
Sam took Callie down to show her the little brook. She was as delighted with it as he was. Later in the day, Sam went back to the little brook. He thought about how he couldn’t wait to get away from the family farm and how he had ended up coming back.
“Yes,” Sam thought, “I have come back home.”