Grit Blogs > Modern Day Redneck

This Old Barn

This old barn sits by the road right in the middle of town. I have passed it a hundred times and often wondered about the changes this old thing has seen and the stories it could tell.

I was on the way home one day and saw a feeble old man parked and standing by the road with a lost look on his face. I stopped and asked if he needed anything or if I could help. He said he was looking for something and described this old barn and was wondering if I knew where it was. He could have sworn it was right where he was standing. Instead of trying to give the old timer directions and get him even more turned around, I thought it would be better to have him follow me. As we pulled up to the old barn I got out and asked him if this was the place he was looking for. The old feller slowly stood, shielding his weathered face from the bright sun and stared. A smile spread across his face and in a low whisper said, “Yup, this is it.”

Old Barn

I could have just driven by the lost old man or I could have just pointed in the direction of the barn when he asked and said “that way,” or I guess I could have just pointed out the window as I drove by it showing him there it is. For over an hour that man told me stories of his childhood and that broken down old barn. He pointed up to the loft and talked about the makeshift bed his mom and dad had back in the corner and said that was where he was born and spent many years of his young life.

As he talked he stared off across the surrounding houses trying to recall his memories of the open fields and a whole other lifetime so many years ago. I could only imagine what his eyes were seeing while he was talking. He told me he wanted to see this old thing one last time before he moved on. A chill ran through my body, and I couldn't say a word. I just let him talk, mesmerized by his words, not wanting to interrupt any part of his story. I never saw the old man after that day. I didn't even catch his name and I don't guess he ever said it, but I feel deeply privileged to have met him and that I was there to listen. I am sure he has moved on by now, and I am sure his journey home was with angels.

lori
1/29/2010 1:16:53 PM

Red, The old timers have such interesting stories to tell if we just take the time to listen. I love to hear my Grandma tell tales from when she was a young girl and her early married life. She has a great story about the house where she still lives today (by herself at age 92) of when her and my pap first moved in. It is a two story, and apparently, they use to keep chickens in the upstairs of the house and lived on the first floor. She said it took quite a lot of work to clean out and redo before they could live there! It was a kind deed that you did for the old gentleman, to take the time to show him the barn and to listen to his story!


elizabeth_1
1/29/2010 12:39:54 PM

This is pretty cool. I love old barns and old stories from ol timers. What a blessing you got to be a part of his story. Loagan Ranch


oz girl
1/29/2010 11:55:46 AM

Red~ What an awesome experience. I know I often wonder about the story behind old, dilapidated homes or barns... how very cool that you got to hear this barn's story! We know they all have a story to tell, but few of us ever get to hear that story. What a privilege for you. And welcome to Grit. I'm pretty new myself. :-) Susan City Gal Moves to Oz Land


oz girl
1/29/2010 11:54:52 AM

Red~ What an awesome experience. I know I often wonder about the story behind old, dilapidated homes or barns... how very cool that you got to hear this barn's story! We know they all have a story to tell, but few of us ever get to hear that story. What a privilege for you. And welcome to Grit. I'm pretty new myself. :-) Susan City Gal Moves to Oz Land


vickie
1/29/2010 11:26:11 AM

Hi Red I love your story -it was so nice of you to stop what you were doing and help him relive his memories. It's funny how you might think the barn was in this spot but your not quite there. The landscape probably changed a lot over the years. What another nice memory you made for that man and a nice one for you too. Welcome to Grit vickie


s.m.r. saia
1/29/2010 7:17:22 AM

Wow, that's an amazing atory. Thanks for sharing it.


cindy murphy
1/29/2010 7:06:47 AM

Welcome to Grit, Red (borrowing Dave's nickname for you). We live in a 100-year plus old house. I am all the time running into people who have some connection with it: they played here as a child; their name is written in the concrete steps when the cellar was converted into a basement and the wooden stairs replace by poured concrete. They swam in the ravine when it flooded, or climbed the rickety ladder to a treehouse which is no longer there. What great stories people have to share when you take time to listen. I wonder when it happened that the reaching years between the mid-twenties and 50ish meant we had all the answers? Often it seems few falling within this age bracket really listen attentively to the ideas of the young, and experiences of the old without having preconceived notions that what they have to say is probably just the babble of a teenager or ramblings of the aged. It's a shame we miss out on so much by not taking the time to simply listen. How fortunate for you that you did take time with this old man - his story became your story. Thanks for sharing it. Cindy ~ A Lakeside View


nebraska dave
1/28/2010 8:31:17 PM

Hey Red, what a wonderful story. I love to hear a good true life story and most likely have passed by many opportunities, such as the one you just described, through out my life time. I now wish that I had the common sense to get old Great Grand Dad started telling stories of the Oklahoma land rush and coming to settle in Nebraska after Oklahoma didn’t work out, but the only thing I had on my mind as a teenager was fast muscle cars and sports. The 1960s was a good time to be a teenager. By the time I realized what I had missed old Great Grand Dad had long since passed away. I’ve since learned to be observant and become a good listener. Everyone has a few good life stories to tell. I admire you for taking the time to listen and enjoy the old timer’s story. Some day I just might be that old timer looking for a barn or house that has 60 or 70 year old memories. Sheeesh, that’s closer than I’d like to admit. I have gone back to the farm where my memories of life began. Man, fifty some years just flittered away and I could still remember all the fun things that happened on that farm. It was a good way to start life. Thanks for sharing that special moment in your life. I hope to read about more memory making moments of your life.