I am the barn on a family farm, in Iowa.
I have a long history. I was here long before the current family adopted me in 1953, but during their tenure I’ve have had many special moments.
I’ve had many coats of paint, but my metal roof has been my salvation.
I’m a behemoth, monolithic relic of this county’s yester year small farms—an icon that is slowly, but surely disappearing from the rural landscape I love so much.
I still stand proudly on what is now, a daughter’s farm—a little sway-back, but majestic all the same.
If I could speak to you for a moment, I’d like to reminisce about the days when Brown Swiss bovines contentedly chewed while confined in my stations as they were milked—amused by the kids squirting precious milk into the gaping mouths of barn cats who waited patiently every morning and evening for their share of the creamy nectar.
How hungry I was until June and July rolled around and my body was filled once again to the brim with square alfalfa or timothy bales. The sweet scent of fodder filled me up until every crevasse within me was stacked and stuffed by sweaty teenage boys, hired by my owner.
The hundreds, perhaps thousands of kittens were born to me in the last sixty years, their mewing and purring was a welcomed distraction from the howling winter winds that blasted my weathered sides.
New lambs, whose puffs of soft breath were like angel wings, their bleats pure music to my old bones. New calves shivered and staggered on wobbly limbs to take their first steps and a sip of warm mother’s milk.
The elements were cruel to me at times, but also refreshing.
A sweltering sun-baked, and burned my pinnacle— summer thunder storms, lightning, wind and hail joined in. Winter’s sleet and snow pelted my aging head while I sheltered them all.
I recall a summer evening, when a younger boy tested his manhood. The drag on an ill-gotten cigarette made him sick resulting in swift justice from his father, grateful I didn’t go up in smoke.
Hide-and-seek tickled my insides as squeals of laughter and delight came from happy children bouncing off every wall on my insides.
4H calves groomed and fattened for the county fair by a daughter who couldn’t bear the thought of selling her brown-eyed charge, who’d become a pet.
A pig-tailed girl who loved to climb my ladder to my haymow where make-believe proved more fun than reality.
Horses gave way to tractors—harnesses to motors.
My evolution has crossed many decades and yet I still stand to do what I was meant to do…protect and shelter under my eaves, and in my heart.
I wrote this piece about the old barn that sits on our farmstead where I grew up, in southeastern Iowa. My sister and family now inhabit the farm, and the old barn is always there to remind me of my past and present. I hope she stands for many more years to shelter and protect the sparrows, livestock and gleeful children who cross her threshold.