I took a walk through my Grandpa’s barn yesterday. I made sure I was alone so that I could remember all the things I wanted to remember. So I could hear the creaking boards and smell that musty straw and hay all mixed with horse hair and leather harnesses and cobweb dust.
So I could remember what was and honor what remains, and there is so much.
There’s still the same two buggies parked in the entryway and the exact same pitchforks hanging on the middle beam, just like they always were. The same gates with the same hinges creak as I walk by. I wander into the stalls where the cows used to come in to be milked, one of my favorite things that happened in this barn. I remember how we always wanted to be there for it. Grandpa would give us some warm milk to feed to the kitties, and I would have sat there for days listening to them lapping up the foam, while the hum of a generator lulled us all into the bliss of another world, one where nothing or no one went hungry no matter what and there was always enough for everyone.
There were always at least 5 of them that had found their way onto the farm, some having an ear or a chunk of fur missing from their tails due to their rough life as a farm cat. They definitely weren’t the prettiest or the healthiest, but still. They had a place at the table and I, for one, wanted to make sure they knew that.
I kind of miss those kitties, ratty and and puss-eyed as they were.
I walk to the end of the cold cracked concrete and turn to look at the watering trough. That bare spot in our hearts where my baby cousin lived such a short happy life and where he innocently played and fell in and never grew up like the rest of us. I look up to see his grave on top of the hill and my heart still aches. For him, for his Mama, my Aunt Erma, and for the loss that still lives beneath that spot.
I think about my Grandpa and Grandma and how their world hasn’t changed all that much. How they’ve loved and lost and yet how humor and playfulness fill in all the cracks of their simple life. How they still live each day much the same way they did all those years ago, and my eyes and my heart swell. I think about the loss and the worry and the pride and the years that this barn holds.
I’m so grateful to have been a part of them.
Grateful that this barn and these two buggies, and the two people they represent, have weathered the storms and been there for all of us and all of it and they will be there tomorrow… long after the kids have grown and the cows and the kitties are gone.
I’m grateful that In this world where so much comes and goes, where time moves on and dreams fade…
Some things remain.