Thursday, December 13, 2012

The barn

Some memories never leave you.  Some parts of your history are vital to your identity, to who you have become.  Often the memories involve people who have influenced you, helped you, changed you, but sometimes it's a place, a building that left an impression on your life.

I grew up in Iowa.  It was a great place to grow up in the mid fifties.  Much of what we deal with today was unknown then.  Innocence was still alive and well....or at least we all thought it was.  One of the places in my life that was a foundation stone, a landmark, was my grandfather's barn.  He and his twin brother were farmers.  On this amazing farm was the greatest barn on the planet....or so we believed as children.  It was our fort, our ship sailing on the open seas, our hideout in games of hide-and-seek.  It was the center of the farm.

I'm sure no one had any idea of its place in the lives of children, it was never meant for their entertainment, but it was a whole wonderful world to us when we visited grandpa.  The smell of hay, of cows and their aromatic deposits on the barn floor, of fertilizer and a dozen other smells I've long forgotten made the memory even more permanent for us.  It was a world of imagination in the middle of an Iowa farm.  We had literally traveled the world in that old barn!

It's gone.  Torn down years ago.  Most would never know it had been there, but those of us who grew up there will never forget it.  How many landmarks are there in our lives that have molded us, made us into who we are now?  How many events, places, people have touched who we were to make us who we are?  Some we may have forgotten now, but we are different because of them.

For me this photo brought back flashes of wonderful days more than 50 years old.  It's amazing how much of who we are is build on the memories of forgotten yesterdays.  And all of those days, even the ones we have yet to live, will make us who we become.  An old barn, a life changing event, a wonderful relationship, an hour over coffee with a dear friend....all of those moments mold us and then are forgotten, but their influence has made us, changed us.

So, how do I want to finish this, how do I wrap up random thoughts that began with a photo of an old barn in Iowa?  I would offer this as a suggestion-  give grace and mercy to others.  Be kind.  Give them a smile, a little extra mercy as you deal with them....for you see they may have never had a barn to play in when they grew up and that can make all the difference!


Schweers' Mom said...

So good, Mike! I have a cedar chest that belonged to my grandmother. That cedar chest was a car, the Batmobile, a bed, and so many other things when I was young! It could transport me anywhere my mind wanted to travel. I have fond memories and am thankful it now resides at the foot of my bed.

Jon Clayton said...

My dad grew up on a farm in the Ames, Iowa... Great place to visit as a child. Merry Christmas!