OpEd - The farm time forgot

The main barn’s an old early 1800 log cabin structure. Long poles uphold the roof. Look closely and you’ll see hinges a blacksmith made. One side of the barn demonstrates how nature reclaims what’s hers. Vines, saplings and a jungle of growth cover her, but solid as a rock she just shrugs her shoulders. “Nothing bothers me … yet.”

It could be in Alabama, Georgia or South Carolina. It could be in North Carolina. It so happens to be in the Palmetto State down a country road or two, but the truth is it’s in a place called Peril. Soon it will be carted off to a landfill. No one wants the fine old logs even.

Outsiders bought what’s left of the farm that time forgot. They know nothing of the old barn’s past or the people who sweated to build it. Nor do they care. Their bulldozers are fueled up. With money to spend, these interlopers from another land aren’t about the past. They’re about the future. So, here we have a survivor, a self-made museum of how life used to work that soon will be no more. The day will come when people will walk in my steps here and have no idea what they are missing.

I’m grateful to the people who showed me this fine old bastion of what was. The community it sits in makes for a kind of throwback experience. Beneath a shed rotting wooden crates hold old drink bottles, some collector quality. Not far away a horse-and mule-drawn manure spreader stands beneath sheets of tin and tarps. It still works. Another short distance away a man works as a blacksmith. Just because he wants to. He builds old wooden wagon wheels too. Just because he wants to. We need more fellows like this man who values the past.

Places and people like the old farm and wagon wheel builder-blacksmith keep the past alive. Whenever I come across and old store or farm or an abandoned Southern mansion, I understand how fortunate I am to see the past in person. Walking among the remains of places like this old farm sure beats reading about it or seeing it in a museum beneath fluorescent lights. Although that beats total destruction by a country mile.

Our great granddad’s farm buildings, here today, gone tomorrow. A legacy of sorts, vanishing.

Visit Tom Poland’s website at tompoland.net. Email Tom at tompol@earthlink.net.

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