Sunday, October 24, 2010

More weathered the old barn the better

Yesterday I was joined by the award-winning illustrator of "The Reindeer Keeper"-Suzanne Langelier-Lebeda at a book signing held at St. Lawrence University's Brewer Bookstore. The response to "The Reindeer Keeper" was tremendous. In fact, we sold out! The bookstore will be restocking their shelves with more copies and another signing will be announced soon. Interestingly many who stopped for their signed copy (in some cases-"copies")lingered. Conversations flowed-from personal Christmas memories and love of Christmas stories-to infatuations with old barns.

I've let it be known that when I was growing up, my grandfather's barn was a favorite place for me and my cousins. We'd heard the stories of wayback when my grandfather and his hired hands would bring the hay in from surrounding fields under the sweltering June sun. Wagons overflowing with the hay made their way over the plank bridge to the side of the barn where it was then brought up and into the silo.

Haylofts provided us the perfect places to play-or hide-or watch barn swallows swoop in and out of broken windows of that eventually abandoned barn. We'd heard names of favorite horses; imagined what it was like when that barn brimming with memories was bustling. Chickens pecking;pigs wallowing and cows lazily making their way back and forth-that barn with its two haylofts chronicled life as it was for my grandparents; their six daughters and my grandmother's parents who'd sit at night and read to the little ones.

To hear others tell me yesterday how they too were infatuated with barns-old barns-the more weathered the better; that they too kept fond memories of old barns once part of their families close to heart was music to my ears. Old barns are history. Old barns link one generation to the next. Old barns provide us a tapestry of yesterday just as a history book provides. And that old barn of my grandfather's played a role in my writing, "The Reindeer Keeper." It was a main character!

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