Once upon a time red barns dotted our country side, making a striking statement of beauty against the rural countryside. Time took its toll and many of these beauties began to fade. Restoration of this almost lost symbol of hard work and family unity is taking place in some areas across our farming communities.
Iím glad thereís a red barn in my life and the life of my children. This barn is no longer a place where cattle gather for feedings. That time has long past for gatherings of a different kind. From time to time our family sets time aside for a reunion. Pot luck is spread. Folks come early and linger late telling their stories and reminiscing.
Christmas Eve, for sure, is spent in the red barn. Thereís always a Christmas tree with presents, along with soup, sandwiches, Christmas cookies and candies. An old retired church piano is tucked in the corner for singing a few Christmas carols. Young and old huddle around the warmth of the barn, as sights and sounds of Christmas fill the air.
Family and friends have enjoyed the activities of the red barn for years. But itís understood that the main reason for the transformation of this dwelling is for an art-loving mother, grandmother and great grandmother to come away from everyday life to get lost in a world of color. Thatís what my mother does. She spends time there guiding her brush across the canvas creating beautiful paintings. Observers would think only her hands are busy. However, family knows she spends this time praying for them, as she moves her hands to the background music of old hymns or songs from her younger years. All the while, Dad is busy growing flowers to compliment Momís favorite place, her barn gallery and their home. His thoughts, too, stay on the family, as he nurtures the color all around him.
Mom and Dad were married in 1943. They traveled from Connecticut to Bakersfield, California, working during war times in airplane and ball bearing factories. Their goal was to make enough money to purchase Dadís childhood dream place, Bakerís Hill, as it was known by local residents. In 1945 they returned to their beloved state to build on Bakerís Hill. Many hours of labor built the house they made a home for 1 son, three daughters and many family pets, the latest being Mickey, their beloved Eskimo Spitz.
Grandchildren are now scattered from coast to coast. To each of them Bakerís Hill is a place in time that holds fast to family traditions. Grandparents have taught them what commitment means and they are being taught to laugh at old age. Mom has been heard to say, ďI only remember my age when I look in a mirror.Ē Dad continues to say, ďWe are going to have to slow down now, and let you younger ones take over,Ē all the while, continuing his work in bible distribution and work in the church.
Our family has a bond of love that money canít buy and the world canít take away. Many years ago, our parents decided two things; marriage is sacred, and love never fails. They have given those truths as gifts to us, to pass on to future generations. If the red barn could talk, it would tell stories of how these gifts have survived the storms of life. Our red barn still stands as a tribute to hard work and family unity.