This Old Barn

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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.”

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.

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