Saturday, March 11, 2017
When my dad and my uncle were children my grandfather built them a barn. The barn was made of wood from orange crates. I think he ordered the pattern from a magazine. My grandfather, never one to do anything half-assed not only made a barn, but several out-buildings, a stable, fences, and an outhouse (or as he called it, the shitter). He hand made the hinges. It was painted red with white trim and a hunter green roof. My brother and I played with it as children and when we grew older it was moved to the garage for storage.
One day, Graham and I ran across it while we were stuck with each other with nothing to do. When Graham and I would fight our parents would punish us by saying we had to play together. When we were really bad we got kicked out of the house until the streetlights came on and could only come in to go to the bathroom. It must of have been one of those days when Graham was being particularly horrible to me because for some reason we were locked out of the house playing in the garage. We came across the barn and decided that it looked like it needed an update. It was probably about 30 years old at that time. We thought we do something nice for Dad and we would paint his barn for him. We found some paint. The spray can said green. Graham and I were not very artistic so to us green was green. We took the can of bright lime green paint and tried to update the barn. I am pretty sure neither of us had ever used spray paint before. As the paint started to drip down it was very apparent that we were going to be in really big trouble. (I can't believe Graham would do something like that. What was he thinking?) As usual Graham wouldn't take all the blame so we both had to tell my dad what we have done. I remember the look on my dad's face when he saw what we had done. I know now as a parent how hard it is to look past what was done and instead look at the intention. My dad knew our intentions were good. We got in trouble for getting into the paint, but not for what we did.
Fast forward 25+ years. It was probably August because my mom was asking us what the kids wanted for Christmas. Of course the kids really didn't need anything, but for some reason the barn came to mind. I asked my dad to clean up the barn for Owen. It was the best Christmas present ever. Owen loved it and played with it for years. When Caroline was old enough we set up the barn for her too. Now my nephews and nieces are playing with it at my in-laws house where it is staying for safe keeping.
Thank you Grandpa Little for lovingly making the barn. Thank you Dad for cleaning up a mess that I made so many years ago. But most of all, thank you Dad for showing me how important it is to not just look at what someone did but to look at the intent of what they did. It really is the thought that counts.
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