Last week, I took Skye and a friend over to the Carl Sanburg House National Park, a random slice of 1960s privilege and Americana. He was apparently quite the man about the nation, collecting songs, writing thick literature, writing poems. I’ve read some, I know who he is, but even after leaving his house, I’m still unsure why this author, of all the excellent ones we surely have, has his house made into a national park. The house is certainly nice, but not fancy. The land is as beautiful as any other tract of land in the area.
He might have been America’s poet, but the legacy left by his wife is far more endearing. After touring the house, watching videos, and listening to poetry being recited, and dealing with bored kids that even the Junior Ranger program couldn’t engage, we walked over to the goat barn.
Eyes light up, especially when we were allowed to walk into the barn to pet and interact with the goats. The gift of the house and land included an award winning goat dairy (though “we no longer milk the goats because the U.S. government didn’t want to be in the dairy business.”) His wife’s hobby is the main attraction for visitors young and old, most of whom spend far longer interacting with the incredibly friendly goats, the helpful volunteers of all ages, and the random barn cat.
After a long play and pet, we settled on the bench to complete the Junior Ranger program. The instruction was to write a poem, we wrote a haiku about goats. We then turned in our books and even Skye got a pin, though her abstract picture I titled “goat” was a bit of a stretch.
While Sanburg was a beloved author in his day, his poems only brought a look of bemusement. Its a legacy of history and trying to understand. The goats, however, his wife’s pride and joy, bring a smile to everyone’s eye.