The Old Barn
I have farming roots grown out of Norway and through Thief River Falls, Minnesota. I last visited the old barn on the farm several years ago, on the day of my grandmother’s funeral.
I didn’t open the crooked white door that day, but I remember the dim light inside and the cobwebs and the straw. The steep steps leading up to the loft. The rough feel of the old wood.
I remember, barely, the time my sisters and I engaged in crab-apple warfare with my cousins, among the straw bales in the loft.
I remember the barn cats that used to live up there. My grandparents would carry buckets of slop out to feed them.
Once, at an age when cows loomed over me large and dangerous, I secured safe passage across the barnyard with two of my older cousins and their girl friends, but I had to return alone when one of them picked up a barn cat by the leg. I couldn’t endure witnessing that small torment, even if I was already complicit in the inevitable murder of the cows.