Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Please Excuse The Dust III: The Old Show Barn

We were always in the barn by 5:25 every morning. 

We beat the sun racing through the rafters. 
We beat the heavy August humidity. 
We occasionally beat the moon out of the west end of the sky.  

Eight feet piled out of the Ford and moved across the moonlit gravel. 
One wire gate flew open. 
Two electrical switches were flipped on. 
Fifteen lights became aglow. 
One stereo fired up. 
And that familiar station blared. 
We had a bigger, louder stereo in our barn to entertain us in the early mornings and evenings than we had in our bedrooms. 
It was always tuned to KICKS 96.1.
I spent much of my adolescence in that old bank barn; the very same barn where I took pictures two days ago. 

The bottom floor of the bank barn taught me discipline, the importance of never hitting the snooze button (I lost that lesson in college and somehow never regained it) and the value in hearing a great song on the radio to bring me alive in dark mornings. 

Tattoos on this Barn 

But then something happened. 
We weren't kids anymore.
We grew up.
And as we did, our vision for Bowman Superior Genetics matured. 

The nylon halters were hung from the beams. 

The showbox, packed with sprays and oils, was wheeled to a corner and not touched. 

Our hard-earned trophies gave way to Purdue Student Government gavels and our prized show numbers were replaced with college diplomas.

The pitchforks we used every day to promote our passion were replaced with Nikon cameras, Mac computers and cryogenic nitrogen tanks. 

The old stereo and loud sound system were replaced with a small “boom box” Momma and Dad could manage. 

The box stalls that once held show heifers became calving stalls for expecting mothers. 

Show cattle runs became the donor lots and bull pens.
With every new sunrise, the place changed. 

But when I opened that old wire gate and stepped down in that historic bank barn Monday night, amongst the cobwebs and dust, something was familiar. I reached up and fished around on the (tiny) radio that now hangs in the main walkway. 
Finally, I found the power switch. 

KICKS 96.1 fired up loud and clear. 
An old George Strait song came through the radio waves - Amarillo By Morning.
I had to smile.

Somehow, even decades away, 
a country music song on a familiar station 
can always bring you home.

Photo by Marlene Eick of Blue Merle Studio


  1. It's just a little creepy how we are a like and grew up states and breeds apart, that we didn't know each other until after college, but holy moly...

    Show barn memories=great memories=the best of my life.

    I just spent the weekend with a family who started out as friends, but now we're family. We've survived steer sales and prospect shows and weddings. Our common bond--show cattle and a great barn stereo....Metallica means it's crunch time.

  2. These pictures would have been so much better if you'd got outta bed and helped us ultrasound the "new program" at BSG. LOL I can still pick out Luke's pitch fork in the line-up...covered in rust and shiny on the end of the handle where he leaned on it as everyone else worked!

  3. Great story. My kids are teenagers and show cattle. I don't think they appreciate the times spent in the barn right now. I'm sure they will look back on it an smile about the kick-down, drag-out fights and the hoof shaped bruises.

  4. Great post, Lindsay! I can relate very well to this post. Makes my eyes tear up with fond memories.

  5. This brought tears to my eyes. In a few years when my little sisters have grown & leave the farm, we will be going through the same changes. Knowing that makes me appreciate this time a little more.

  6. Great post!!! Wonderful pictures - its amazing how songs can bring memories back! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Perfect post. Our old steer barn is happily converted into lambing jugs. No room for cobwebs here, but every time I walk in, I can still see the steers tied with their heads up, on the wood chips, and feel the anticipation of the next show.