Categorized | Opinion

Just Pile Up Some More Memories

By Otis GriffinOtis Griffin pose

Would you like to ride in my little red wagon?    Does anyone remember any color for a wagon, except red?  If it wasn’t red when you first got it, changes are coming soon.   Skipping through the hog lot and searching the barn over, finally a gallon of the world famous barn red would appear.
Friends it wasn’t that simple.  No way could you just walk in a barn, reach down and extract anything and I do mean anything, had you desired.
I suppose all country farmers had a special place for discarded items.  Usually broken tools, bent plow points or cracked handles of a turning plow possibly from hitting a stump in the middle of a field.
Going back in time about a  hun’ert  years that’s exactly what happened.    I was so little most of the time I tried to stay out of the way so I wouldn’t get run over.  Daddy was working on a broken wagon hub caused by hitting a hidden hole when loaded with a million bushels of corn.  Daddy was a little upset, to put it mildly.  It’s a good thing Preacha’ Edwards didn’t walk up and surprise Daddy ’cause he probably would have gotten his ‘ears burned’ (as we say in the Illustrious South).  As Daddy was bending, twisting and turning, he gazed through a crack in the barn wall.
Coming across the field was the ‘hand’ and the team of mules.  In the middle of the afternoon was not the time to come to the well and get a drink.  I found out later why?  The turning plow was lying down, dragging and kicking up the hot, miserable dust.  The hand was walking very, very slowly off to the side, so the plow wouldn’t buck and jump, possibly hitting him on the leg.    He was going as slowly as possible without backing up.
Daddy met him at the gap and wanted to  know, “why ain’t you cutting ground?”  The hand explained looking down and studying a split, half rotten corn cob.  “Yess Suhhh, I done hit a stump and bent the point.”   I can hear Daddy now.  “Well Lawd have mercy, how in the world could you do that?”   “There ain’t but one stump in that forty acre field and you couldn’t go ’round it?”   Continuing, “a blind man coulda’ seen ’at.”  Daddy was boiling mad and followed with, “now I ‘gotta’ go over to blacksmith Jones and get this straightened out.”  I reckon this has happened to every farmer at one time or ’nuther.
Can anyone reminisce with this special place to store still usable items?  No way would any country farmer th’ow away anything.  Why?  You never knew when it would come in handy.  Mr. Solon would remind ‘Rabbit’, just throw that over in the pile.  The same for Emerson, with instructions from Mr. Eugene   Instinctively, each knew where the pile was strategically located.  Maybe a plow line that had been frayed by a mad and scared bull.  If someone was going to dehorn me, I’d yank and snatch fiercely, just like old Ferdinand.
Neighbor, when the barbed wire had to be replaced what did we do?  Why, just roll it up, tie it off and wait for a rainy day.  Wouldn’t those city slickers have fun getting untangled from the barbs?
Don’t forget the milk bucket that Bessie stepped in and bent.  The pile is getting bigger.  The bottom of the sweet feed bucket finally rusted out, so chunk it on the pile.  How about the leather stretching and the bit needing a brad hammered back in place.  To the pile.
The crowbar I had been searching for was hanging on a sixteen penny nail in clear open sight. But I couldn’t find it for looking.  The old corn scoop with the broken handle we were going to repair three years ago.  Yep!  On the pile.  The slop bucket half full of nails that been turned over and now rusting from laying in the manure now getting eaten alive.
Beloved when is the last time anyone has taken a tour of the old home place and ventured in the past, recalling how it was back then?  Very fond memories.  Forget the sweat and hard work.
Have you thought about how many beautiful barns there were a hun’ert year ago?  It’s almost a sin to have a barn any more.  At one time it seems the barns were in better shape than the houses.   Where can you go to find an old barn still in good shape?
Just one more time would you like to walk and open the sagging door that always slammed against the side of the barn?  Shake the corner frame to check for durability.  Step inside the stable and freeze in time?  What do you see?  Possibly a million treasured moments when you were a rug rat spending time with your friends.
It’s sad to say, but the youngsters now a days have no idea what a barn is and probably could care less.  But some of us still care.  Gone, but not forgotten!!
Anybody ‘wanna’ Buy a Mule?  Where?  Why in the Stall in the OLD Barn….GLORY!

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November 2013
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