November 29, 2009
The old red barn
I was just a kid when my father built the red barn in our backyard. We were getting a horse, an appaloosa, and he built a three-sided stall, with the open side facing south for warmth. We fenced in about an acre of land so that the horse could wander as she pleased. I can remember getting up early on school mornings to lug a red bucket of water out to the horse. She’d get hay, tossed down from the hayloft, and a coffee can of sweetfeed that smelled like its name.
In later years, the barn housed my father’s sailboat. He built a new sailboat the year I was pregnant with my first child. That June afternoon when I was in labor, my husband and I left our small apartment to come over to my parents’ house to take a walk in the sunshine. The trees in the apple orchard were covered with blossoms, and my father was out in the barn, working on his new boat. He’d rolled the trailer out of the barn to lift the mast and see if he could raise the sails.
My parents’ backyard has shrunk over time, walled in by development. It’s surrounded now by highways and office parks and a big medical center rising in the middle of the field where we used to ride the horse. The apple orchards are gone now, and most of the woods. The deer disappeared with the last bunch of bulldozers and cement mixers. The red barn looks out of place now. But it’s still there.
Posted by jo(e)