Sunday, May 16, 2010

Words to Live By... Barn Wisdom

I have often wondered what it is an old building can do to you when you happen to know a little about things that went on long ago in that building. --- Carl Sandburg

Ah, the memories of this old barn, my grandfather Emanuel's. Isn't it amazing--- the power of memories? I can shut my eyes and see the hanging leather harnesses, left from days of "Old Pat," a draft horse I never laid eyes on... but the tales of plowing and unearthing a swarm of blue racers... the stories my grandfather shared with me when I was a little, pig-tailed tagalong... those tales are monumental in my heart and soul. The barn was dusky, dim-lit shafts of daylight filtering through the openings, a load of oats lying fragrant in the oatbin. We often shelled corn on a hand-sheller, one deep yellow cob at a time. The kernels became either a treat for the hens or a spew of rapid gobble for his huge sow pigs with babies... Either way, the animals were crazy for it, and I felt proud to have been a part of its preparation. Paw-paw chewed Beechnut Tobacco, and we sat in that doorway spitting, checking to see who was the best, the most accurate... had the farthest landing.... I didn't realize he had the advantage with something actually IN his mouth... but I didn't care. Paw-paw was so much fun. He walked kind of funny, in the hot-potato, "weeble-wobble" way I do now. Now I realize that saunter resulted from severe arthritis in the knees, but then I felt sure it was simply the magical way all grandfathers were supposed to walk. We made those chore trips last a long time, coming in all giggles and tease. My grandfather has been gone for almost 39 years. Is that possible? I drive along the highway every single day, and my eyes rest on this eyesore of a building. "We ought to tear that down," we say. We know it... But its beauty rests in my heart, and it doesn't look to be evil, decrepit, shabby, or barren... It still keeps the echoes of the baby calves stamping in the cold, their breath fogging out in the cold afternoon as they wait for warm milk or sugary omeline from his hands. It has been possibly 25 years or more since I've been in this barn, but I know it by heart.Searching for a quote from a favorite, Sandburg,this one catapulted me to thoughts of this building, and I had my Sunday's words to live by for Tracey's blog.

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Debby said...

I love old barns and this one is perfect.

Becky K. said...

Oh, what perfectly sweet memories. I felt like I was right there with you!
Becky K.

Maggey and Jim said...

It is a lovely barn filled with love.

a picket fence life said...

That is an awesome barn! On Mother's Day I rode with my parents around the countryside where I grew up. Our old farm looks so different now, the barn (as well as most of the outbuildings) have been torn down. The house and the remaining buildings are showing their age and have crumbled under the neglectful watch of their current owner. But, like you, I have many special memories of times spent there with my family. Thanks for sharing your story!

Lisa said...

I wonder about that old barn everyday too. There is just something romantic and mysterious about such beauties.

Anonymous said...

Gayla, I love the barn and memories, the senior fun, plants growing and blooming, interesting thoughts...thanks for sharing!...Ellen