The toys were Micah's from when he was younger. They were found by someone Momma hired to cut back some of her shrubbery. He found them stashed all over the yard among the shrubs where Micah used to play when he was staying at Fargo. Here among the overgrown shrubbery were the toy treasures of the little boy we all loved so much.
Momma told the young man to put them all on top of the dog box by the back porch, it was too hard for her to look at them. Here in plastic and metal forms were the physical remains of someone we all loved with all our hearts, someone who loved playing and being in the outdoors every chance he got. When he was at Fargo, if he wasn't in the woods with his daddy or granddaddy, he was outside playing with these toys. Momma would call to him every now and then and he'd say: "I'm right here Granny, I'm plowing a fire line." And in his vivid imagination, that was exactly what he was doing.
For any of you knew him as little boy growing up, and if you ever visited my parents here at Fargo when he was here, then you probably drove up to see him down in the dirt, playing with this trucks and tractors completely immersed in his own little world. It was a world of logging and bogging and making the biggest mess possible in the mud and he reveled in it.
When I saw them I got that sucker punch, it literally knocked the breath out of me. They are SO Micah. Some are missing wheels, he was constantly repairing, replacing and trading the wheels on his various vehicles. He was master mechanic, top notch heavy equipment operator, and master of his outdoor universe when he was in play mode.
There was nothing that made him happier when he was here at Fargo, than to go outside after a rain and play in the mud with his toys...except for going in the woods with his daddy and granddaddy on the four-wheeler or the Kubota mule and running through the biggest mud hole he could find. He'd been in those woods and around big equipment since he was just a baby boy. Here's a shot of him and Daddy in a motorgrader at a forestry trade show they and Jamie went to when he was maybe all of two years old:
The photo below is of him and Daddy at a fire in 1999. The two of them and Jamie and I rode out there to see the fire. Micah, of course, had his own hard hat and got to carry around Daddy's walkie talkie.
Here he wanted his photo taken in front of one of the bulldozers. He told me to make sure I got the whole thing, including the blades. The blades were very important to him, you see, because they pushed the dirt. I know this because that's what he told me :)
Then, the water truck came by and I had to get this shot because it so clearly showed his fascination with all things connected to the forestry and fire equipment. And how many four year olds do you know that had their very own hard hat with their name on it?
So seeing the toys there, all in one place, brought back such a flood of memories to me...and tears as well. There's something soothing and yet heartbreaking about the possessions that belonged to our loved ones who have died. They are both a welcome and painful reminder of the person and the immense loss we've suffered. Next month we are coming up on two years since Micah died, and the huge hole in all our hearts is still there. I think it always will be.