Space for reflection February 15, 2014 • Denise Andersen
Up the road from me is a barn I want. It’s one of those big, red barns with a gambrel roof and a hay mow and all the barn things that one thinks of when thinking about a barn.
“And what would you do with this barn?” my neighbor Alvin asked me when I mentioned it at the coffee shop the other day.
“Save it,” I promptly replied.
“Save it for what?” Alvin asked.
“Just save it,” I said. “I’m tired of seeing barns falling into disrepair and eventually falling down. It’s not what should happen to those structures.”
For centuries, barns have been a place to house livestock from hogs to cattle and horses. They have been a hay storage facility and have housed farm machinery.
I remember the barn we had when I was about five and we lived on a farm in Kansas. It was massive, just like the barn I saw up the road. It had a hay mow and it was a great place to play hide and seek. It didn’t house livestock anymore, but it was filled with hay.
I remember one day when my sister Marj and my nephews Bill and Wayne jumping from the hay mow window into a huge pile of hay. Looking back on it, the jump was huge and injury was almost certain at some point.
My main concern at the time was that none of them would let me jump. They said I was too little. Now, Wayne was only four months older than me, so I didn’t think that argument was correct.
They jumped and I did the only thing a little kid who wasn’t allowed to join the fun could do. I went and told Mom. She put a quick end to it and made us all sit on chairs. I was punished the same even though I hadn’t committed any crime, so to speak. It was standard punishment for tattling.
When I was older, my sister had a neighbor with a barn like that. I remember the straw and the smell of the straw. It was a great place to go and read a book and play with the kittens I knew would be there.
So, now, in a world where barns are being neglected and falling down, I think I want to save one.
“How are you going to get it to your place?” Alvin asked.
I didn’t know. I saw a story in a newspaper about a barn being moved.
They were moving it on a big truck, so I supposed I would move it that way, but it would be expensive and I think that’s what has stopped me so far.
I drive by the barn several times a week and I’ve looked at it and tried to figure out how to get it home, and I have worried about it falling down. I’ve worried about the shingles falling off because I can’t imagine having to try to paint it, let alone shingle it.
“But what would you do with it once you got it home?” Alvin asked.
I didn’t know. My son-in-law thinks we should get a barn and turn it into a cabin or something, but that defeats the purpose of saving the barn.
I guess I would fill it with straw and kittens and on a warm sunny day I would crawl up there and read and reflect.