By Joe Kreger
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.
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.