The Barn


20 March 2009






Grandfather on my mother’s side was a farmer in Virginia. He owned several hundred acres with maybe 100 acres of fields, pasture and orchards. Raised cows, hogs, chickens, duck, pond fish and grew mostly corn and had a working saw mill. Farm consisted of large old farm house (lots of children), 2 chicken coops, smoke house (meat smoked to preserve it), corn crib, equipment shed and a very, very, large wooden barn.


Now his farm was located a good 10 miles from the nearest town and this town probably had no more than 2000 people at the most so he was what you called rural and services of any kind was not readily available. Not sure if it nation wide but rural during the 1950's and 1960's was the territory of the door-to-door or rather farm-to-farm travelling salesmen. While he lived on his farm, travelling salesmen sold him: storm windows and doors; stuccoed his house; a vacuum cleaner and built 2 large concrete silos.


Now my parents used to visit my grandparents about once every 2 weeks and on one trip, we came around the turn in the road and there up on the hill above the house was my grandfather’s big old barn painted pink. Not that dark red like most farm barns but a woman’s pink, bright pink. It was awful.


Had not more than gotten inside the front door of the house than my parents started with the questions, in between bouts of laughter. “Pink barn?” they asked? “You picked that color?”


Grandfather took it all in stride. Fellow had come around offering to paint the barn and for a good price too, and so my grandfather had agreed. The color to be painted had never come up in the conversation and my grandfather had just assumed it would be painted the same color as it had been.


Well, do not remember where my grandfather was during the actual barn painting as it must have taken several days as it was a very large barn but apparently he did not become aware of the new color until it was all done. And now, he sure as hell was not going to pay to have it painted again and feller that had painted it had moved on and could not be found.


And so my grandfather became known near and far as the fellow with that lovely pink barn.


He died living on that same farm and never had the barn painted again and after several years, the pink sort of grew on you anyway.