There’s Just Something About A Barn

Tom Poland

Posted 12/12/23

By Tom Poland
A Southern Writer

Emblem of simpler times, a barn evokes memories. Artist Lori Deiter. (Photo by Tom Poland)

On Highway 378 between Lincolnton and Washington, Georgia, stands a barn. I say a barn. It’s a home built to look like a barn. Or maybe it’s a barn converted into a home. I’m just not sure, but in either case I’d love to live in a home like that. There’s just something about a barn. Something that puts me at ease. Rising from the ground like it’s part of the earth, it’s sturdy and seems a place where a fellow could do some good work with pen and paper.

The barn you see here reminds me of a barn I knew in my boyhood days. Now I don’t think the barn in this painting was in Georgia, but it could be. Note that ridge behind it. Brings Helen, Georgia, to mind. Now the painting, it was in Georgia at De Place in Lincolnton, a place where I used to visit Nolia and Dwaine Biggerstaff. I knew Nolia as Pat a long time ago, the only year I taught school in Lincolnton. She taught there too but I recall not one conversation with her back across all those years. We were too busy I suppose.

The years passed and Nolia and I found ourselves in the book world. I recall a signing three of us did at the Lincolnton Library a good many years ago. Nolia and Gail Reed each had written and illustrated a children’s book and I had come out with Georgialina, A Southland As We Knew It. That’s when I first knew of Pat as Nolia, which fits her as an artist. Did she take it from magnolia? I don’t know.

But I know the last time I talked with Dwain at De Place. He and I must have spent two hours recalling our days as teammates on the high school football team. We talked Dawg football too and I vividly recall the details of my afternoon with Dwain. As in other visits, I admired the painting you see. I made a mental note that I should buy it and would the next time I visited De Place.

I looked forward, too, to another trip down memory lane with Dwain, but it was not to be. A while passed, as we say. “Oh I’ll be back in a while” we say when we’re unsure of things. Dwain passed away before I could get back.

And then on a trip to Lincolnton I saw De Place was open. I stopped and went inside. Nolia was packing up De Place. The barn painting was gone. Sold, I figured. A twinge shot through me.

“Nolia, did you sell the barn painting? I wish I had bought it.”

She went out to her vehicle and came back with two paintings—the barn and a lovely log cabin set among snow-crusted trees in soft winter light. She gave both to me.

Now from my desk I see three works of art. The late Jim Harrison’s white picket fence and yard rife with flowers and a red crepe myrtle all of which look like my parent’s yard in the 1980s when life filled them. That log cabin in snow brings memories of mountain trips, and the barn in autumnal glory, overcast sky and gold sedges beginning to brown, speaks to me in secret.

Three seasons, no spring, but that’s fine with me for from that barn spring memories from long ago, making me return to my sixth sentence. There’s just something about a barn. And there’s something about this painting of a barn. When I look at it, I see my youth and carefree days, I see the football field and Dwain, No. 40, and I see what once was a garage turned art gallery. Most of all, I see how time robs us of so much.

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