Jack Cornett was an honest farmer lived on that beautiful stretch of land all his life; in fact, he was born in the same old farmhouse that his grandfather built, as he tells it, his daddy was born in the very same house as well as his three brothers.
They all passed on now, the oldest in the Korean conflict, the other two in the second war. As for Jack, he served two tours in Vietnam; he often wandered why he survived the conflict.
He returned home, to the land he left behind, and to his high school sweet heart whom he married only few months before his second deployment. He was specialist of some kind, but never spoke of the war; often times the town folk mentioned his name with high regards.
Only the fence line and the old primitive church separated our farm from his. His Grandfather Gideon built the small church and donated some three acres for the Cemetery, as though the old man knew back then that this place will be the final rest for all the Curettes, even his three brothers have their own head stones.
I vividly remember when and how we first met, we were hiking the upper side of our farm one bright sunny day, and Jack was hard at work along the property line, fixing the fence, my partner and I headed towards Jack to introduce ourselves to our neighbor, what a pleasant encounter that was. His first concerned was if we were going to turn this farm into a” Pig farm”, I chuckled and assured him that neither I, nor my partner Dana like Pigs, besides, our purpose is to preserve the natural setting and the beauty of these hills and valleys, and that we intend on using this farm for family outings, and for when we escape from city life. Why you can see the relief on Jack’s face, Pigs destroy the land, worse than that, they destroy this clean fresh county air, Jack said.
Throughout the years, Jack became a very good neighbor, and dedicated caretaker, we’ve had many late hour chats, and shared many personal events with each other, pleasant and otherwise. He always delighted us with his stories about this part of southwestern Indiana.
Jack was not your typical American man; I was profoundly amazed at his depth of knowledge and grasp of national and world events, he knew more, far more than your average Joe. I once remarked that he should have been a politician. He replied “I didn’t think you disliked me that much” Mr. Ben…
It was a very sad day for me, that January morning when I received the news of Jack’s passing.
On this snowy long winter day
Time has come, for remembrance and reflection.
Many stops along the way
Stops are common on one’s journey
The beat of feet that came and went
Sorrowful as tears long spent
Or flowing still, on the faces of those standing
Up on that lonesome hill
Guarding the sleeping man in a coffin
Hewn from simple planks of pine
Others once briefly occupied
Not a whisper, not a smile
Eyes closed, hands folded
In preparation for yet another journey
You’ll have your turn, I will have mine
His work was done, but not complete
And there was none to take his place
Cattle stood in silence at the edge of the fence
Wandering who will tend to the herd!
Calves frolicking in a patch of green, turning gray
On the other side of the fence
Far, far away rolls of winter hey
Cold…bitter cold that winter day
Bitter as grief suddenly came to life
Flowering trees stripped of every vibrant green
Over there a woman clad in black
I know her well, her name is Edna
Stood alone… all alone
Once soft with love, became a steely gray
Looking beyond scattering clouds
Passing overhead in a final farewell
Down below I see Indian Creek is flowing still
A new life… yet to be born
Abdulhamid Ben Hameda
Winter 2001 Silverville Indiana