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The Farm

The Barn


       There were out-buildings on the Williams road property – like the red weather-beaten barn, where I watched my uncle Jim milk cows; an attached barnyard was fenced-in for the cows and a few pigs. There were also an assortment of ducks and geese roaming the farm yard. The barn’s spacious hayloft was above the activities of the ground floor where a fixed wooden ladder gained you access to the quiet above. Its’ sturdy planked floor, covered with organic dust and random, weightless straws of hay, held the weight of what I assumed were tons of bales. The loft was rather dark except for the broad rays of sunlight that would pour in from an opening to the west, which allowed the loading of the bales. In my teens I remember straining in the summer heat, using baling hooks to stab the heavy lengths of hay onto the foot of an orange-colored motorized elevator that carried the bundles up to the loft.  In Hungarian you would describe the air as “meleg” – or warm, with hay dust, like confetti, sticking to my face and sweaty shirtless body.  I was young and happy to help out but also ever-conscious that my labor was building muscle mass in my arms.            

Just outside the entry door to the barn was a well equipped with a sturdy hand pump.  Regardless of the season, it drew the coldest drinking water I’d ever tasted.  The unmistakable screeching of metal to metal as the handle was raised and lowered, raised and lowered, raised and lowered, always preceded the flow of ice-cold, sweet water.  My first drink, taken from the metal cup that hung on the pump was unforgettable.  It was fresh and drawn from the earth itself by my own hand, it was unlike anything I’d tasted at home in the city.  The additives and filtration process striped our water on Hinman of any character it may have had.  The only redeeming quality they shared with any equity was a state of wetness.

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