Devon stood with his father, Eli, at the entrance to a lush valley surrounded by gentle slopes of green. Stands of pine graced the landscape as if by the stroke of an artist’s brush. Cattle dotted the slopes and meadows. Fields of grain bowed to the wind and a stream ran through the valley like a ribbon.
“Someday, and soon, this will all be yours,” Eli said. “The entire valley and the hills to the base on the other side. I ask only that you care for it the same as our forefathers. They were all good men. You must promise that to me.”
“Of course I will, Dad,” Devon said. “I have never entertained another thought.”
Eli smiled proudly and rested his hand on Devon’s shoulder. “But this mound under our feet right now is yours, you can do with it what your heart desires.” Eli chuckled. “Even if you want to stick a junkyard on it.”
There was a pause as they listened to a breeze whistle through the pines that surrounded them.
“You’re not thinking of putting a junkyard on this plot are you?” Eli winked.
Devon smiled broadly. “This is the most beautiful spot on our land. I used the ride up here just to think and clear my mind.”
“I know,” Eli said. “And that’s why I’m giving it to you to do with what you want. My grandfather did the same for my father, and so did his father, and so did his father and someday you will do the same with your son.”
“But you didn’t say your father did it for you,” Devon said.
Eli pressed his lips tight. “My father and I quarreled a lot. If he hadn’t have died so sudden this land would not have been mine either. He was going to leave me with nothing. Dad and I would have eventually patched things up, but we didn’t. My legacy in this family is that no land was given to me to do with as I wish. That’s heartache I’ve had to bear.”
Several years passed and Eli died. Devon still rides to the piece of land that his father gave to him to do with whatever he wanted. He rides there to think, clear his mind, and scan the vast land that has been in the family for over a century. He rides there to visit the grave of his father.
Devon looks at the simple grave and always whispers, “No more heartaches, Dad. No more heartaches.”