I am old now, but I remember the day I was born. I was built close to a pretty farmhouse. A dozen men in overalls hammering and painting for days in the cold. I was new and fresh, a traditional red barn with white beams and a little window above the double doors. Inside hay was laid out for animals who would call me their home. To the right, along the wall were small stables for the larger tenants and one large, open stable to the left for birthing babies and roaming chickens. I never understood why the chickens were able to roam, and the horses and cows were trapped in a tiny cabinet. There was a loft up top that held extra food and hay. It took a ladder to reach it. I had an incredible view. In front, I saw a pretty, white fence, and behind it, green hills and quaint dirt roads tangled and looped through each other. The sun shone into the small top window, and the rays were spliced into dozens more that lit the home of these creatures.
There was a nice couple who tended to the animals, the Smiths. I loved watching them. They truly cared for the animals and each other. The man fed them every morning. He took a moment to pet each of them every day. He was a marvelously kind man. He had chestnut brown hair he kept short and neat. Even his overalls were neat and clean. He wore a different colored Henley under them each week. He always smiled, never complaining about tending the animals.
The lady of the farm was glamourous and charming. She had red hair that curled at the ends and always wore red lipstick. She had lovely dresses, but I never saw her without an apron. She wore those dresses even when milking the cows and playing with the beagles. She enjoyed it, although she did complain every once and a while.
I could tell they were truly happy together. I saw their faces light up when a new foal or calf was born. They joked and played while feeding in the mornings. Sometimes they would look at each other and collide in a passionate embrace. They made love many times in the hay of my entrance.
It wasn’t long before Mrs. Smith came to the barn carrying a newborn, Millie. She loved the animals as much as her parents. Millie came to the barn with a big smile. She looked with big eyes as she gazed on the cows and chickens. I watched Millie grow into a toddler then a child. I saw her learn to walk and ride a bike. The first time she sat on a horse, it seemed like she had been doing it for years. She chased the dogs and the pigs to hug them. She made friends with one pig in particular that she dressed up in doll’s clothes and pushed in a baby carriage. She raised that pig until she moved away, and she took it with her. I watched Millie head to school every day with a school bag and ribbons in her hair. I saw the first boy that came to the door to call on Millie. I watched her grow up.
I watched the Smiths grow old and gray. They began to have trouble keeping the farm. Eventually, they moved away. New families moved into the farmhouse, but I was never used again besides storage for trucks and lawnmowers. Despite not being used, no one ever tore me down, and no one ever will.
I am an old barn now. My paint is peeling, and my beautiful red color is now a faded orange. A few of my beams have fallen. I am not the beautiful sight I once was. However, people do not seem to agree. People around town have come to sit and look at me. A few artists have sat and painted pictures of me. It is unspoken, but barns are never torn down. We represent something that no longer exists. We represent home, family, and tradition. People see us and remember being a child when the world was still kind. People know we were once a home- a home for animals who fed them and gave them company. We were a playground for the children nearby. We have sheltered lives and given hope.
While I represent a memory now, I am proud when people are driving past and stop to gaze at my broken-down abode. Whether they know it or not, I am a piece of them they may have forgotten.
About the author
I am originally from Louisiana. I currently live in Oklahoma with my husband and son. I am a senior at the University of Oklahoma. I love grammar and proofreading, and I'd like to pursue that as well as professional writing.