Though my father saw a barn a’building, I saw a cathedral of rough-hewn lumber rising in the lot behind our house. Mr. Bradley, a crotchedy old grandpa in khakis, showed up about daybreak every morning for coffee, then shuffled on to his barn building. He and a helper worked all day till Daddy and a couple of his buddies took over and worked on as long till the light failed. Daddy was no carpenter. Mr. Bradley was a master, leaving the work at a point every day where Daddy could adequately complete the tasks he had started. In a few weeks, the barn was nearing completion. It was a fine, two-story edifice with a large equipment and grain room on the first floor. A ladder opened to a hole in the center of second floor intended for hay storage. A large open door centered the front of the second floor for tossing hay in and out. Lean-tos divided into stalls went around two sides.
The barn was roofed with tar. A tar-bucket, complete with mop was left atop the roof on the last day of roofing. For the rest of the time I lived there, I’d see the profile of that mop and bucket against the sky of all seasons. Sometimes, when I shut my eyes, I can still see it, standing sentinel against the night.