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By Joseph Dempsey Drag Up and Listen

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I wish these old barns could talk. If one could drag up in the shade, lean back, get comfortable, and listen to previously untold tales, I suspect the gamut of experiences heard would make a six-hour mini-series pale in comparison — unblemished by laxative, hygiene product, and fast-food commercials to boot.

You would probably hear about knuckle-busting maintenance peppered with the attendant, muttering-under-the-breath expletives that seem to accompany efforts to fix broken things that defy fixing. You'd be entertained with slapstick cows kicking the bucket over, hog killings in the fall of the year, a smidgen of local gossip, and frequent weather prognostications. To add a bit of spice, you might even become privy to a first-hand report chronicling a surreptitious "romp in the hay." One can only imagine.

Perhaps you might also be clued-in on the whys and wherefores of the galvanized gate leaning on the barn behind the tractor. Better look fast, the weeds are closing in. Before long it will be camouflaged.

No self-respecting farm was complete without a barn. This Stone County, Arkansas, barn, while not large, appears to have been well constructed. A good friend told me that his grandfather used to say that you can measure a man's dreams by the size of his barn. When his grandfather would buy mules, his offer was based on the condition of the seller's barn. If the barn was in bad shape, his grandfather's offer dropped like a horseshoe in a well.

The gambrel roof as seen on this barn has a practical purpose. By changing the pitch of the roof in midstream, you can make room for a few more bales of hay in the loft.

The structure looks like it has a few years to go before it weakens beyond repair, inviting gravity to launch it into the ultimate downward course of destruction. That's a good thing that the barn is still standing because after it crumbles, we will have lost a good source to pique our curiosity.

Makes you wonder about the tractor, too. What happened on that last day? Why was the tractor abandoned? The sun has bleached the steering wheel from original black to a pallid gray. Rust is munching its way to eventual triumph. The value of the machine is probably calculated by the pound. Alas, poor tractor, I knew you well.

To the casual observer, what's pictured here is just an old barn surrounded by a healthy growth of weeds. To the curious among us, it was likely someone's pride and joy. What happened, when and why? Fats Waller said it best, " nevah know, do one?"

N O T E S:  
Nikon D200 / AF-S Nikkor 18-70 f 3.5-4. G ED / tripod mounted /
Post processed with Photoshop CS3 Extened and PhotoMatix HDR

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