Grandpa’s Barn

I travel mem’ry lane

to gather up this yarn.

I venture back to childhood

and our times in Grandpa’s barn.

A most imposing structure,

it rose high above the plains.

For sixty years it battled

blazing sun and blowing rains.

Painted red, of wood construction,

an icon of its day,

it housed milk cows, cats and horses,

stored grain and tools and hay.

It had a thousand places 

for a little kid to hide

with a breeze-way down the middle

and a loft on either side.

There were horsestalls, several grain’ries

and a milkin’ parlor, too.

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Whenever we stayed at Grandpa’s,

there were lots of things to do.

We loved to go with Grandpa

when it was milkin’ time,

and we listened to the rhythm

as he squirted out a rhyme.

But, the finest thing ‘bout milkin’,

the act that made our day,

he squirted streams to hungry cats

at least eight feet away.

Then, the greatest of adventures 

came when Grandpa wasn’t there.

We were sneakin’ snacks between the cracks

to Grandpa’s old gray mare.

We’d walk the plank on the stanchions,

scale the ladder to one loft,

then swing on the rope to the other side

and hope we landed soft.

One grain’ry was the jailhouse

where we incarcerated crooks,

and the other was our office 

where we kept the secret books.

Layin’ hens provided bombs 

when warfare was our mode.

Eggs were most effective weapons

when either dropped or throwed.

Brother and me did both agree

that it was purty neat

to get up high in the hay loft

and pee down twenty feet.

And I admit, on some occasions,

we skirted Grandpa’s rules

when we’d sneak into the shop room

and play with Grandpa’s tools.

Well, sixty years of weather

and termites took their toll.

Grandpa salvaged out some lumber,

dozed the rest into a hole.

Now, wheat lines up in drillrows

where Grandpa’s barn once stood,

that weathered red cathedral

built of sweat and nails and wood.

His center of operations

and a place for kids to play

went down in obsolescence,

and then it went away.

Grandpa and his big red barn,

both of them are gone.

I guess it’s just the way things are,

but the mem’ries linger on.

Editor’s note: Joe Kreger writes from his home in Tonkawa, Oklahoma. His CDs are available from the Journal by calling 1-800-954-5263. For personal appearance information, call 1-816-550-6549.