Categorized | Opinion

Proud Structures Are Slowly Leavin’

By Otis Griffin

Otis Griffin poseWhen is the last you were out driving through the country side observing the newly developed former cotton fields and suddenly you eyeball an elegant barn off the road?
Allow the deep red color to return you many decades of yore as a youngster.  My brilliant senior citizens realize the quality and significance of such an elaborate structure.  How many folks can relax and daydream when the time your family was very proud of their Southern heritage?
Although Southerners have been accused of showing off, actually we call it being proud and desire yo’ ’tention.  Can you remember when a barn cost more then living quarters?  I have seen pictures in Wisconsin where the milking barn was tunnel attached to the house to protect the farmer from the miserable cold weather.  I have not personally observed this as I don’t enjoy traveling to foreign countries above the Mason-Dixon line since I get homesick with headaches, stomach aches and the dreaded mully grubs when I leave my wonderful South.  I’ll just take their word for it.
Some of the red barns have even been dressed up with a white trim that resembles a monument.  Don’t forget the blinding glare of the afternoon sun reflecting off the tin roof allowing you the moment to appreciate the sturdy structure.  Can you recollect when the house needed a coat of paint, but it was more important to slap another layer on the assemblage?  Protection from the weather, beautify and modernize. Not a tough decision.
Friends, if someone has been under a smokehouse all their life they have no idea how important barns have been to us rednecks.  I can just imagine if some city slickers observed the magnificent structures they would probably gurgle, “I am not proceeding near those premises.”  Why?
The snooty answer would contain, “there is no air conditioning, automatic heat, not enough lights, space aliens might attack me and I have to be careful where I advance.”
Continuing with, “I possess unique foot wear and the disgusting foul, unsanitary odor.”  First time in my life I will agree with a Harvard liberal educated above his capacity.  It is surely all those things and more.  But I grew up in that atmosphere and cherished every golden moment and still do today.
Only my intelligent Southern country folks can appreciate a community built into one establishment.  A well versed intellectual could possibly question, “I don’t rationale that expression.”  Deciphered as, “I don’t understand yo’ stupid thinking.”
Neighbor, in our community barn we had stables to house our livestock.  Allowing for climate protection, vaccination, doctoring or assisting in birthing allowing heifers and pigs to acclimate to a newborn life.  Also stalls provided milking quarters and private nests for setting momma hens.
A small wooden box attached to the wall contained every treatment known to veterinarians for shots, salves, worming, drenching, trimming hooves or brandin’.
Further incorporated were corn cribs, haylofts where potatoes and onions were stored that required turning every week along with our cattle feeding hay.  Bent nails hammered into strong walls provided hooks for metal buckets as plastic was in the future.  Don’t forget our valuable tools, farming implements, plow lines and horse collars.  Indispensable watering troughs and attached sheds for wagons, plows and tractors.
A relatively small building in my youth housed the world.  The structures have given way to modernization but my memories are steadfastly preserved.
Age Ceased Southern Barns And Momma’s Country Apple Pies….GLORY!
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November 2015
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