I know it’s been a very long time for a blog and for That I apologize. You see I’m one of these people that have to write from the heart. No my spelling might not always be exactly right and my punctuations out of wack but I have to jot it down so I don’t forget every emotion that I feel when I relay this story to you.
Today I was delivering flowers to help out for Valentine’s Day rush. (Yes you don’t have to say it). It was cold and windy today but regardless of that something happened to me and I almost cried with joy and a heavy heart.
The piece of paper said to deliver the flowers to Edom road. I’m thinking great where to next, but to my suprise this adventure took me back in time. You see the Shenandoah Livestock auction is on Edom road. This is the Auction that my Granddaddy George Heatwole auctioned at and my Dad took me to very often as a small child . Now I’ve been back to this auction as an adult but not to the office. Well today I went to the office with this vase of flowers and when I opened the door it was like I was 7 again. It was exactly like I remembered. I just stood there with my mouth gapping open absorbing every thing my eyes could see. The lady in the office asked if she could help me and I told her I was there to deliver flowers. She asked if I was ok and I explained who I was and she said wow it’s been a long time. I’m so glad you told me who you were. She then said you need to go through those doors and upstairs to the restaurant to deliver those flowers. I thanked her and when I turned and opened those doors. Behind those doors was the most beautiful set of old stairs I had seen. You see when I look at those steps I see a young girl in her red canvas shoes, wearing her red jacket with her hair in pigtails holding the hands of two men that meant the world to her. I just stood there as tears rolled down my cheeks. How could I have forgotten such an amazing and earth moving moment? I have no idea, but the image of all of it flooded my soul. I turned around and said would it be okay if I took a picture of these old steps. The lady shook her head yes. I have remembered lots of things from my childhood, but today I was with two men that made me the person I am today.
So now is where I try to establish what I’m trying to say to you. I guess it all boils down to this. There is nothing that we wouldn’t give our children. We would give them the shirt off our back, when in reality they just want us. They want us to play ball, go to a park, to The Barn, to the movies , to anywhere we can go together. I know it sounds so simple , but in reality it’s the only thing we can give them that they will treasure. It might not be today , or tomorrow but years from now. I know this because today I was giving a treasure that I wouldn’t trade for love or money.
Last night while working on our monthly newsletter, we were trying to find a background that had the "feel" of our next sale. Share The Love. What's a better way to represent love than a heart? We put these two together and it gave us that warm tingly feeling inside when something feels right. The Barn is love. A love for small businesses, local people, the community, and so much more. We love getting to see you and we hope you feel the same way! Come "Share The Love" with our amazing vendors & direct sales representatives on September 8 & 9! If you're not a member of our email club, sign up at the bottom of the page under "Let's Be Friends..."!
I remember the first time I met her. I don’t remember what she bought. I don’t remember what she paid for it. But I definitely remember her. Messy bun, tank top, jeans shorts and…. work boots. That’s what she was wearing when I opened the door for the first time and I immediately thought to myself, “Yep. This girl is family.”
She liked the same “junk” I liked. That’s what she told me and, well, she was right. I would spend the next year and a half convincing myself not to buy everything she was selling while she, of course, was often doing the same. And, in the process, I had the pleasure of watching her passionately commit herself to a dream – The Barn.
At times I saw her excited - as plans started to unfold and the vision became a reality. At times I saw her frustrated - as permits were delayed and weather chose not to be her friend. But never did I see her arrogant. Or mean. Or judgmental. Or uncaring. Never did I wonder if she lost site of what it was all about in the first place. God had a plan for her and her mom and, like Paul, she was determined to finish the race.
My favorite thing about The Barn is Tami.
December 10 was the last business day for 2017 and it was, by far, my absolute favorite. It was cold. Super cold. And I was tired – knowing that 8 months of work was finding its way into a period of rest.
But then, at 3:30, The Barn erupted into what I can only describe as spontaneous gift giving. Cookies and scented pinecones and Christmas ornaments and tie-dyed hand-towels were being passed out as if these gifts were planned all along although, I believe, that wasn’t the case at all. You see, we had become family and, in that moment, with 90 minutes left before a 4-month break, we knew we were saying good-bye. To people who had covered our booths while we ran to the bathroom. To people who had given us suggestions when we were staging our treasures. Or offered us encouragement when it seemed we’d missed the mark. Or celebrated our success when we sold that thing we thought would never sell.
There’s something special about being part of a business’s inaugural year – no one knows what they’re doing. So, we trudged through it together. And, in the process, we became friends.
And that’s my second favorite thing about The Barn – the vendors.
Have you ever walked in to a place and “it” just felt good? It. You know. The atmosphere. The aura. The…. well….. the “it.” I felt it the first time I walked into The Barn. It was a bit of a mess. A dirty, undecorated, unkempt mess.
There was stuff everywhere. Dozens of projects to finish. Boards to hang. Wires to connect. Most of The Barn was still in Tami’s mind and, if you’re like me, it was a little hard to imagine what I couldn’t actually see. But it felt good. The place just felt good. And as we turned the corner on the bottom floor of the building that would one day hold vendors and customers and treasures, I saw what I knew was to be my space. A cow stall. Yep. That was it. I knew it immediately. I remember standing in the middle of the stall, on the dirt that was not yet even covered with rock, and saying, “This is it. This is the one I want.”
In the cement nearby were footprints – obviously put there when the cement still needed time to dry. I spent the whole season making up stories about those prints. I laughed with the other vendors, imagining what would be important enough to make him walk across that newly laid cement. I directed people to “watch their step” and smiled as little kids put their tiny feet inside the print of a man who was well loved and who, without even knowing it, had left something for his future generations to grow.
So, my third favorite thing about The Barn is it.
I could go on. I love that place. I truly do. I love those moments when, out of nowhere, I hear Tami’s laugh and realize that she isn’t even nearby – her laugh is just so her. I love running to the bathroom when it’s cold just so I can have a second by the portable heater. I love spending 8 hours trying to convince myself not to buy another cookie, or another brownie, or another cup of hot chocolate. I love that there is a Bible verse on the steps as you head to the second floor and I love that this family loves the Lord and, in this place, it’s ok if you do too.
I love it and I hope to be a part of it for as long as they will let me. Not just to make money – although that’s always a bonus. But because, in this world that is full of hate and judgment, pain and suffering, disappointment and regret, it’s nice, if for only a weekend, to find rest in a place that feels like home.
Written by: Jennifer Testa at Made 2 Thrive
The end of 2017, or maybe the beginning of 2018. Yes I like that better. The beginning of a new year, new events, new ideas and new adventures. Like each and everyone of you, The Barn team is constantly tossing ideas, having meetings or yes sending everyone a text at 3:00 AM in the morning because your afraid you might forget. We have asked each of you for opinions, your ideas and even at this moment we are working on new things that we think you might enjoy.
We are also reflecting on this year. What worked ,what didn’t and trying to fit all of this into one nice complete ball of fun. We learned so much, we even learned things we had no idea we needed to know. We have all made friends and laughed till our sides hurt, but like life, it’s not perfect. Yes we have heated discussions, and make ugly faces but yet it seems we continue to make this work. Not just for us or our vendors but also for you.
What can you expect this year? Hmmmm, good question. I can only say it will be better. We are planning on having a make it take it class. We will have more vendors with different varieties of things. Plus we have put in a special request for nice weather for every sale date. As of right now that’s all I can tell you besides Thank you. Thank you for being kind and patient, and walking through this amazing experience with us. Thank you for your support and positive energy.
With all that being said, Cheers to you in 2018. We wish you health, wealth and happiness. We will see you soon!
Today I had one of those omg moments. Where you look at something and you feel that rush of excitement going through your veins. Now your thinking wow this must be something huge. Well you're not right or wrong. It was just a passing thought that went through my mind.
So today while we were working in the Barn, trying to get everything set up for our next sale, our photographer, Carolyn Kenee, was taking pictures. Basically, a fun filled day with lots of laugher and shenanigans. I received the pictures this evening and to my surprise was an autograph book that I had purchased in a box of other things. A little book dated 1924, with memories and thoughts shared by friends and family. A tiny little item that was stuffed in a box and basically discarded. It kind of breaks my heart that this woman either didn't want to share or maybe no one cared, but either way they missed out on a piece of her life.
It brings me great joy to tell you that I have my grandmas autograph book. No, it's not something I share or insure but it is a piece of her teenage years. A small piece that takes me back over 100 years ago. So my question for you is "What's your piece?" What is the one thing you have that you hope someone will cherish?
At first glance one would question how it survived not being used for firewood or thrown in the trash.
I would guess this chair had a woven seat that had finally given way due to hard wear and someone had taken fencing wire ( not barbed wire) weaving it unevenly to form a seat. The top back slat has partially separated from the vertical construction of the back. I was surprised to see the notches formed to make a connection. The old faint blue color of paint is barely visible on portions of this chair.
I can't explain the fascination I felt for this one of a kind piece. Who purchased this chair? Was it a set? How many times was it passed down? Were the previous owners desperately poor or were they just people of the times when people made things last? If it could speak what stories would it tell?
No one will ever know the answers to any of these questions, but to me it reflects deep character and an unusual beauty.
Last but not least it has survived!!!!
The Barn as been a part of my life ever since I can remember. The lessons I've learned there will forever mean so much to me. Its funny how much a building can shape who you are. I still remember being the curly haired kid watching my grandaddy scrape the barn out, or shaking a calf bottle with the nipple not securely on and covering myself in milk replacer. I spent every Thursday at my Granny and Grandaddy's house and now looking back I'd love to have one more Thursday with the two of them. Whether it was falling from the top of the sawdust pile to the bottom, water fights in the dairy barn, or being pulled in my little red wagon, it seemed we never had anything but fun.
Here's a list of a few lessons I've learned:
1. Just because there are Barn cats doesn't mean they want to be your friend. Still have scars from the scratches.
2. Listening to people who are older than you probably isn't a bad idea (i.e. Falling through the saw dust pile. "But Granny! I get to be the princess up here!")
3. Saving money is the ticket to getting what you want. Every time I fed calves I would get some change and I kept it in a jar until I had enough money to buy the prettiest toy Merry Go Round you've ever seen.
4. The small things end up being the big things. Every single one of these memories was just something small that happened on the farm, yet now they seem so big in helping me be the person I am today.
These are just four out of the countless things my grandparents and 'The Barn' have taught me. And while it was sad to see it no longer be used for the farm I'm so excited to see what it can become! I have watched it transform and I can't wait for all of you to see it! Here's to 2017 being an amazing year and may it be filled with "small things"!
The Barn Team, A Barn Vendor, or a Barn Customer. Each Author will sign their blog.