The Barns of Childhood
Fortunate is the child who has the opportunity to play in barns; there are stalls to explore, hay lofts to hide in, and board fences to walk on. I have many remembrances of the barns of my childhood.
My family lived in a barn one summer while our new house was being built. Seven of us and a houseful of furniture were crammed into a cavernous room that smelled like hay. That time of togetherness created a family bond that was never broken.
In a smaller barn Mother nailed boxes to the wall for the chicken nests. It was my job to gather eggs, but I couldn’t see inside the boxes. I’d feel over the edge for the eggs. Have you ever unwittingly put your hand on the cold, scaly skin of a chicken snake?
Grandfather’s huge barn held his crops. My cousins and I sampled raw peanuts as we shelled them for brittle. Nature repaid our gluttony, and we all rushed to the outhouse at once.
When I was small, I heard my outspoken father say, “They will nail my hide to the barn wall one of these days.” I took that remark literally and checked to see if his “hide” was among the drying deerskins affixed to the barn’s exterior.