Tuesday, 8 January 2013

R.I.P Old Red Barn

    I know that this will sound crazy (but by now I'm pretty sure that you regular readers already know that I am), but I feel like houses are like people.  They have a personality, a life expectancy, sometimes I think I hear my house breath (you know that weird creaking).  When you enter a house that has known a lot of love, you can feel it.  When the realtor brought us for our first and only showing of our house, we knew the instant that we walked through the doors that this house was "our" house.  It was almost as if it sent us it's love.  Many of us form attachments to our homes, like to our pets.  We mark it with that "ours".    To a certain extent I think that barns fall under that category.  I know a lot of farmers, they store their living in that barn.  They sometimes spend more time in their barns than they do in their homes or with their families.  A barn is not "just" a building, it's more than that.
    Growing up our house had a small parcel of land (3 acres) and this big red barn.  The old timers could remember when it was built and would share their stories with Mom and Dad.  That old red barn was no prefab kit, it was built by hand, by men.  There were a lot of stored blood sweat and tears in that old building.  Over the years that barn housed a lot of things, rabbits, a cow, pigs, chickens, goats, spiders the size of your head, oh and few more things of which I know that I have forgotten.  The top of the barn was basically my sister Mandy and my playground (there were no spiders the size of your head up there.  I really don't like spiders).  It had two big areas filled with straw and a granary.  That barn was our own giant playhouse, a place that we spent our summers.  I think that maybe we were too stupid to feel the heat because I'm thinking it must have super hot up there, and yet these two little idiots were oblivious to it.
    In that old barn we had swimming races in the straw, races we would time with well spaced "One Mississippi, two Mississippi...."  My stomach does flips to think of us climbing nearly to the top of the barn on the rickety old wooden ladder, and doing jumps into the straw (the flips my stomach does are not the excitement that I felt as a child, but rather the horror of a mother at the things we could have broken our necks doing).  That barn was a fast food restaurant, "Dragon Wagon Dinner Meal".  Mandy and I would take turns being the cashier and order things from this restaurant.  In retrospect I could have made a killing if I'd been a little older, because I imagined it to be like a cross between Medieval Times (this was before Medieval Times even existed) and McDonalds.  The Granary was an apartment building.  Mandy and I had stolen boards and hammers and nails from Dad's collection and built railings and furniture for the the apartment building.  To us it was master craftsmanship, in reality, it was probably Tetanusville.  At the end of the day we would come into the house filthy and exhausted.  In some ways that barn was a large part of our childhood.
    Over the years the barn has become a little thread worn.  It has not been really used as a "barn" in years.  Each big windstorm would see a little of the tin roof fly away.  The structure had to be at least 100 years old, it was a senior citizen.  The big white letters that spelled out "Midvale Farms" fell away, in other words the barn began to show it's age.  I never really thought about it, it was just, well it just was, no further thought seemed necessary.
    New Year's Eve night during the week hours of New Year's Day we were hit by a huge windstorm. I suppose we are lucky that the wind did not knock out hydro.  I got the call New Year's Day from Mom "Well that's a fine start to the new year, the barn blew down".  The poor old thing looked like something that you would see on the news stories about tornado ravaged areas.  There are a few sad skeletal beams sticking through where the roof once was.  The old weathered boards have imploded, and scattered in the area around the barn.  It looks sad.  I was going to take a picture of it for the blog, but for some stupid reason just can't bring myself to.  That old barn was a house to many of my best childhood memories.  It is a part of my childhood.  Good-bye old friend, you served us well.

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