I never understood the point of blowing money on stupid purchases. My twin brother’s death last year changed that.
It’s not even 7 A.M. here in Texas and I’m already overwhelmed by the kind notes I’ve received and thoughtful comments.
If anyone would like to share their own “stupid purchases” that inspire you, I’m sure others would be eager to hear them.
What’s your greatest stupid purchase?
In this time the likes of which I've never seen - nor has my oldest friend Jack, now 95 - a time when up is down, black is white, right is wrong, and the Greatest Nation That Ever Was™ seems to be locked on the tracks of a hellbound train, this essay reminds us that Things Matter. Family matters. Right and wrong matter. A sense of purpose matters. And as Oscar Wilde said, every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.
I don't tear up easily but I did reading your beautiful essay. Not from pity or sentimentality. From this line: "In this place, I’m going to build my own world, a world big enough for all my memories." Because it is incredible that at age 23 you really understand what it's all about. For Jackson it was about collecting memories from travel and adventure. For others it is collecting memories around a place. Good luck to you and your dreams for Henry Hills. It sounds like you are well on your way.
Beautiful essay. Best of luck with your new land, which clearly keeps you rooted to your family, regardless of your path.
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.... I am 73, and while I did what I wanted to (corporate accountant for 45 years), I still wish I had been a history professor, and I also think I would have been a good farmer. Regrets, perhaps, but not second-guessing. You have to keep the wolf away from the door, but I admire you for trying to do what you truly want.
It’s an American dream is old is the country itself. He literally bet the farm. Best of luck to him.
This message is the real conundrum that must be faced - living free, doing stupid things that make you feel alive, spending money on experiences instead of more crap - and being a solid citizen that saves and exercises caution in all that we do. I feel that tension and pull every day as I get older and see the outcomes in the lives of my parents. Regret is the worse emotion, but maybe there is no escaping a small dose of it.
A great story, greater because it's true. It begs the question: what is life about anyway? Our days are numbered, but be they long or short, they should be lived and not just endured. Putting off that trip, purchase, relationship, or reconciliation until conditions are better is a mistake. Who knows how much time is left.
“I know now that stupid purchases are a privilege—no, a miracle. I know that behind every stupid purchase is a human being trying and maybe failing to find his way, to declare his values to a world that doesn’t always listen.”
We are listening. And that’s why I like the Free Press. Keep sharing.
What happened to the Mom? Seems like the real story is the sacrifice of Mom. Everyone around her is chasing tragic dreams and she picks up the pieces.
Living here on the border of New Hampshire and Vermont, I know several gentlemen farmers. Interestingly, their sons have taken over the farms. These sons seem outwardly happy and they have willingness to make the farms productive (seemingly successful at that). I learned to never discount someone else's dreams. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that does. That culture values a thin slice of human potential and puts it on a pedestal. I traveled, sailed, worked in different parts of the economy, studied and eventually landed a PhD. Most of all I learned how to become a father, husband and gain relative independence from corporate America. That was my path............but many have been critical of it favoring the rat race and a hope of living well at the end of life. I think you are on your way to figuring it out..............hope the best for you Max.
Henry Hills makes a fitting tribute for your brother. There is precedent -- the summit of Scafell Peak in the Lake District was given to the nation in memory of the men from Lake District who fell in WW1. It makes one of largest war memorials in the UK, if not the world.
Thank you for the lovely essay and enjoy farming on your brother's memorial farm.
In a society where depression and medication are widespread, your decision to find solace through purchasing a farm as a tribute to your brother and the challenges of your upbringing is admirable. Here's to a fresh start and hoping that your farm provides you with a sense of grounding and mental clarity. Best wishes for this new chapter in your life.
This article really got to me. I'm sorry for his loss. My mom and her family were from Iowa which is a place I spent summers with my grandparents and dearly love. Since it's not a tourist destination I think a lot of people have preconceived notions about what it is like (classic flyover country). I see he is the same young man who wrote about lake of the ozarks which I also loved and shared with friends. Please-- more from this young man! He gives me hope for his generation (also my son and daughter's)
"Remember you will die"
This essay is a great reminder to live. Even if people think you "stupid".
At the bottom of this beautiful, poignant, sad yet hopeful story is an invitation to read Max’s other work. When I clicked I realized I already had, but hadn’t made the connection.
Another piece by a very talented young writer. Thank you.