Barn raising

On Friday evening I was driving over to my family farm when my phone started lighting up with news about terror attacks in Paris. I stopped at a store about halfway to the farm and called my mom. I was calling to see if I should pick up beer for the weekend. She asked “what in the world is going on in Paris?” I casually told her I had no idea. I’d left work for the weekend and wasn’t paying attention. At pretty much any other time my answer would be informative. I would’ve read what was on the wires at work. I would’ve spent time seeking information. On Friday, I was only looking forward – to a weekend with family. It’s rare that I take this kind of break from current events, and I promise I caught up on Paris a little while later.

My mom said she’d already picked up beer. I left the store and headed to the farm. When I arrived I walked down to the construction site. What I found was far more progress than I’d expected in one day, and a handful of men I love who’d spent their Friday working. I took a photo with dusk setting in behind them and felt a burst of joy.

Much of my family and some of my friends spent part or all of their weekend building a barn on the farm. It’s going to be a barn that most of us will use at some point. It’ll be incorporated into our big New Year’s family gathering. It’ll be used, really, anytime we all get together. Some of us may hang hammocks inside and sleep there instead of camping out when it’s cold. But the timing is spurred by one thing – our wedding. We’re building an event style barn, not one to hold animals, to use as the reception space for our wedding in April. It’s not something we could do on our own, nor do we have the space.

This post is one of gratitude, if nothing else.

My mom and dad spent the better part of last week preparing the materials and the ground for this, on top of their day jobs. Three of my uncles worked tirelessly Friday through Sunday to plan, frame, cut, hammer and get us to a point where we could pick up on our own on the weekends between now and April. My brothers and a bunch of my cousins also gave up a weekend to carry, lift, measure, cut, drill and nail lumber. And on Saturday, a handful of our friends showed up to help nail the trusses that will eventually shape the roof.

Our farm has become a place for the family to gather. For the last decade or so, it’s been a central point where we could meet up, eat a ton of food, and just have a good time for a few days. This barn is not just for our wedding. I’m sure, at some point, it will house our annual Scruggs family oyster roast. We’ll send the kids to play in it when they get a little older. It will be ready to bear the load of giant family reunions and we may rent it out to other people for events.

But next April, when I’m standing in the field next to it saying “I do”, I’ll remember this weekend and the men and women who dropped everything to get the building going.

I couldn’t be more thankful.

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