Throwback Thursday: My Barn

About a month ago, Nolan suggested I do a "throwback Thursday" blog. My travels home to Pennsylvania last week inspired me, so I decided to take Nolan's suggestion.

I was ecstatic to be home and to feed my ducks and cats (the only animals left) in the barn. People use the word, "bittersweet" all the time, but I've never truly known what a bittersweet moment felt like until I walked into my barn and found it basically empty... Sadness overcame me at first, but then I quickly recalled all the happiness it brought me over my childhood.

I recall the bittersweet feeling and shed a few tears, mainly because I'd give anything to be shivering my hiney off in the Pennsylvania snow, working hair on a steer, rather than preparing for finals. I found this perfect "throwback" that I wrote in Mrs. Robley's english class 3 years ago; around the time I realized I like to write. Enjoy!

The Massive wooden doors of the wold white barn rumbled on the old tracks as I struggled to pry them apart. I could barely reach the handle so I stuck my hand through the small crack in the doors and pushed with all my might until the opening became wide enough that I could squeeze through. The aroma of ancient dust and fresh hay overwhelmed me. My sister, Emily, and I started our adventure to find a litter of stray kittens amongst the clutter that filled the barn wall to wall. Dressed in our finest hand me down shirts and old jeans we tried our hardest to sneak around the barn without alarming the kittens. Empty light sockets that used to hold light bulbs years ago seemed to taunt us as we trudged around with our flashlights. Thick cobwebs hung everywhere; on every piece of wood from ceiling to floor. Giant horse shoes nailed in rafters hinted to the history of the barn. My dad’s old International tractor posed as an obstacle to get around. But on the other side kittens could be hiding. Til we found the kittens cobwebs and dirt covered our clothes, but we didn’t care.

At age ten the barn was finally home to livestock of my own. Two goats, Sweet Pea and Sally, lived in one makeshift pen. It wasn’t much, but it was shelter from the harsh winter weather. A rusty broken fence, spare boards nailed up as a wall, and a piece of ply wood supported by two stacks of cribbing that were also supporting the falling through floor served as a pen to contain my goats. An old plywood election sign with two shiny hinges functioned as a door. A single light bulb hung from the ceiling. It created enough light for me to feed in the morning before I went to school. Around the pen the rusty old International still stood and the rest of the clutter remained. I’ll never forget when I heard that strange cry come from the barn. I knew what it was and I took off running through the December wind and snow with my dad right behind me. I tore open the barn doors and flipped on the light and gazed with amazement at the two baby goats standing in the pen with Sweet Pea and Sally. My once empty barn now came to life.

Now my barn steals me away from the rest of the world when I’m home. The once cluttered mess of a barn still stands, but without all the clutter. Thanks to all of the back breaking work of my dad the upstairs floor holds its own weight, the once drafty walls block all the wind and snow, one light became a long strand of bright white lights on a thick yellow chord, and the space once occupied by one makeshift pen and the rusty old tractor transformed into three pens for many goats and a few pigs. Some of the holes in the concrete still remain. On the cleanly swept floor you can see my name along with Nolan’s and Jed’s baby hoof prints where he ran through the wet cement during Nolan’s attempts to patch the holes.Though my barn changed a lot over the years, even as a sixteen year old girl I still see it as an adventure.

I wrote this at sixteen. Since then, my barn brought me the joy of raising the Champion County Born and Raised Swine, housed two peacocks, and gave my friends a little "ag education". It provided me with a stage and audience to practice my winning fair queen speech for countless hours. It transformed into the perfect set up with my dreams of raising a steer, which turned out to be one of my favorite parts of my senior year. My barn housed my most prized possessions for years. Now that it's empty, I am thankful beyond words for the experiences I've had. One goat led to two, two led to four babies, and the rest is my life.

Julia HayComment