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TJ Perkins

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The Dairy Barn
By TJ Perkins
Monday, February 02, 2004

Rated "G" by the Author.

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This story is based on a true happening from when I was a kid.

The old barn on my grandparents nonfunctional dairy farm was full of mystery and excitement for me and my two cousins, Betty and Kim. We would often visit my grandparents on weekends and spend the night. The next day we would explore every inch of the old farm, from the three mile long pasture with its huge stream, to every old building we could find. Many of the farm buildings were tattered and weather worn. Chucks of splintered boards hug loosely, faded red paint was hardly recognizable and weeds had grown up around everything. It kind of reminded us of an old ghost town and added to our ever-growing imagination, while we pretended to be arriving in a strange and wonderful place. As we followed the dirt road that entwined around the abandoned buildings, a warm summer breeze carried the odor of old hay and dust, which was an invitation for fun and adventure and we knew right where to go and get I- the dairy barn. The dairy barn had been built in the middle of all the other buildings, possibly because it use to be the center of daily activity in the past, but now it was just another abandoned building creaking subtlety in the breeze. Our only way in was through an old sliding door located at the right side of the barn and near the cow stalls. We had to work as a team to open the heavy monstrosity. It moaned on massive iron rollers and nearly fell of the track as we pushed it with all our might, coaxing it to slide to the right. Once it was opened, a smelly blast of musty hay hit us in the face and a light shower of falling hay from the loft above, triggered by the door’s movement, sprinkled down on us. Exchanging mischievous grins, we rushed in excitedly and scampered down the concrete steps. Like any other ten year olds, we liked making noise, lots of noise and making our voices echo was the best, especially when they bounced off the huge walls and stirred up the pigeons. Some flew up into the rafters while others hid in the empty stalls, which lined the wall to our left. The stalls were still filled with old, stomped down hay, empty feed buckets and milking machine gadgets. Before we could get to any of the fun places in the dairy bard, we had to overcome our first obstacle - a huge lake of leftover muck and manure. The black, oozing lake actually released air bubbles from time to time, making a gurgling, popping sound, which added to the slimy surface that glistened with scum, algae and oil. Even as alluring as the black goo appeared, the odor that seeped from the surface was enough to keep us at a safe distance. Our main objective was to reach the hay loft. In order to get to it we had to swing across the black pool on an old gate. The gate wobbled terribly from our weight, groaning on its hinges when moved. It was so incredibly long and unstable that we had to be careful of splintered wood. Once we made it across the gooey muck, we quickly climbed a twisted, but short, staircase that led to the loft. If it wasn’t for light seeping through several cracks in the wooden walls, it would’ve been totally dark climbing up the stairs. But we didn’t care how dark or stuffy it was; nothing was going to keep us from the target of our adventures. The loft was two stories high and directly below us was a pile of old hay. Right next to the pile of old hay was the gooey, mucky lake with it’s surface bubbling and popping at us as we stood and stared down at it. The trick was to jump into the hay pile and not touch, step into, or roll into the muck. Most of the time we succeeded but, as fate would have it, all good things had to come to an end. Kim landed a bit too close and staggered backwards just enough to step into the disgusting lake. Her shoe was trapped. The black goo clung tightly to its prize, not allowing her foot to budge. She began to panic and that’s when Betty and I came to the rescue. With Betty and I helping, Kim had to pull really hard to get her foot out. We tugged and tugged with all our might. Eventually her foot slipped out of the shoe and we fell backwards on top of each other, leaving the shoe sticking halfway out of the compacted muck. Even though we tugged on it, the shoe wouldn’t budge. There wasn’t much more we could do than to squat down in a huddle and watch the shoe as it was quickly sucked down into the blackness with a loud slurping sound. We stared at each other in disbelief and disgust, “Ewwwwwe!” we finally yelled in chorus after a brief pause. Then, with shrieks of laughter and squeals of delight, we ran out of the dairy barn to tell Grandma what just happened. We knew she wouldn’t let us go back up to the barn anymore today - but there was always next weekend. 

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Reviewed by Jean Pike 2/19/2007
Cute story, TJ. I can just picture you and your cousins laughing together, running to tell grandma. Though she didn't own a barn, this brought back memories of long summer days spent visiting my own dear grandmother. I enjoyed this very much!
Reviewed by margaret hodapp 2/3/2004
We raised our three children on a dairy farm; no better place than a farm to raise children. thank you for bringing back a memory of my past. Margaret
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 2/3/2004
Wonderful story, T.J.; enjoyed much~

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :D

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