Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Granary Behind the Barn

The granary set behind my grandparent's barn was as intriguing as both the barn itself and the chicken coop that had been turned into a clubhouse for all of us little ones. By the time we came around the granary wasn't used too often as the farm no longer was a working farm. There were no cows or horses or pigs or chickens to feed-except for the Black Angus my brother had for awhile. Because it was hardly ever used the granary became yet another place for us to explore and pretend. It never took much to stir our imaginations when playing around that farm. We didn't need fancy toys. We had all we needed right there on that rambling country road.

Once we walked inside that rickety old structure the fun began. The first room was more like a workshop. There were old cans full of nuts and bolts and nails and screws. There were hammers and files-the kind used to smooth wood or metal, wrenches, screwdrivers. There was a vise-which became so much more than just a vise when we were on an adventure-and a cabinet with little drawers full of all kinds of little odds 'n ends. There were two or three storage bins. When there was some grain in a bin it was fun to climb over the side and walk around in the stuff. Our feet would sink down into it and disappear. Here and there were burlap sacks and empty milk cans-some hoes and shovels. On occasion we were surprised to find little kittens or puppies in one of the bins. Of course mice were always around.

It's funny how such a little space full of bits 'n pieces of stuff tells a story of a man and his wife, working a farm and raising a family. All those bit 'n pieces speak of their time on that farm-of seasons coming and going and children growing and that farmer and his wife aging-and eventually selling their farm.

When you're a kid you don't realize what an impression places like that granary make on you. I never did until I wrote 'The Reindeer Keeper' and a granary worked its way into the storyline and the granary I described was the rickety old structure embedded in my heart.

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