Saturday, February 7, 2009
This was our tobacco barn. It burned, I think in the mid-80s. That was a great loss, still felt ~ Bobby talks about needing another barn for a farm this size. It was a great loss in memories too. Our salt and pepper draft work horses, Pat and Peg, had their stalls in this barn. The little shed attached to the front was our stripping room, where the tobacco leaves were stripped from the stalks on many a chilly november morning. We say that tobacco "comes in case" when there's enough moisture in the air to make the leaves pliable, so they can be pulled off without shattering. Stripping tobacco was an occasion for tale-telling and singing, so I have a lot of great memories of that little room - it's tiny pot-bellied stove with mica windows, permeated with the smell of tobacco dust - even the old salvaged windows with bubbles in the glass. You notice things like that when you sit for hours, mesmerized by wondrous stories.
I did a batch of ink drawings of barns at the time this one was done - January of 1981. The marks in the sky above the barn indicate a flock of redwing blackbirds.
The night it burned I was visiting a friend near Berea. I couldn't sleep and walked around all night in her yard, looking west toward home, thinking that something was wrong. Alas, as I found out when I got back the next morning, it was the tobacco barn. This drawing, a single photograph, and the memories are all that remain of it.