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.