DISCLAIMER: Since I have been away for awhile and with the important changes that have occurred recently with Newsvine, I felt it only proper to issue this disclaimer: This is not a news article. It is not intended to inform or educate the reader about important world events or to call to action, legions for the correction of bad things, bad people, etc. This story Is intended only to entertain my Newsvine Friends. And hopefully to make some new ones who enjoy soft, fluffy writing.
So here was this barn, set there on the top of our hill. Not doing anything special: Storing some farm equipment, unused exercise equipment, lumber waiting to be transformed into objects de wooden art and the odd piece of junk (or two). The barn also houses the gift shop for our farm-based flower business and the most cluttered workshop in SW Virginia. But generally, it was just there. A place to run to in case of rain; A place our outside kitties roamed and hunted in; And a daytime playpen for our doves when they were out of their cote. The only reasonable thing to do was to transform it into a place to have a Barn Social!
We decided (the Missus, mostly) to clean out (and up) the barn and invite our friends for an evening of snacking, drinking and companionship. To make certain that this was not a pipe dream, we distributed invitations a month before the Social, before anything was done to get the barn ready. This ensured that we had to follow through. So for weeks, the Missus with help from our daughter Tina, her son Kyle, Tina's future intended, Richard, and our son Jon, worked on the barn. (You may have noticed that yours truly was not mentioned in regards to this cleanup. There is a reason: I had lumbar fusion surgery during the summer and am still limited in my physical activities, especially bending and lifting. I also wear a hard-shell torso brace. While I missed being able to get in there and work hard with the others, I was still able to supervise, regardless of how little this role was appreciated!)
Things were hauled to the dump; Other things were stored in a more appropriate manner; Tractor and mowers were moved out; And some large, heavy items were decorated and made a part of the setting. Walls were swept down and the floor raked and straw put down. Thirteen strings of white icicle lights were strung. Ghosts were hung from the roof. Hay bales and tables were arranged, food was prepared and the stage was set. Mother Nature helped with heavy rains (8 inches plus) the four days prior to the Social. Thankfully our son knows how to use our tractor to scrape and smooth our driveway to get rid of the gullies caused by the rain!
So last night was the Social! Food and drink were consumed. Conversational topics ranged from babies, the weather, work, health matters, horses and miniature horse auctions, people who were not there (some good, some bad), a little politics, a little sex (among certain of the men), bluegrass and marijuana. I was in charge of the music. It is amazing what you can do with a small stereo and an iPod! After some of the more straight, decent folks left, Crown Royal, Baileys and Amarula (Marula Fruit Cream from South Africa) were added to the beer, coffee, hot apple cider and soft drink choices. Since it was a chilly night, coffee with an additive was a popular drink.
Not everyone who was invited, came. Those that did, while admitting that they had never been to a barn social before, seemed to enjoy themselves. There were no fist-fights or sleazy carrying-ons (at least none that I saw). Unfortunately, our son Jon was not able to attend: He was entertaining folks at the Best Of celebration at the No Shame Theater in Roanoke, a long-standing commitment for him.
One funny conversation concerned the previous owner of our small farm, Junior (no last name to protect the un-innocent). Our friends agreed that if Junior could see what we have done with his beloved horse barn, he would likely keel over! He used to have over 75 horses, where now we have over 50 flowerbeds. The barn had seven individual horse stalls, a wash pit and a double birthing stall. We have used three stalls for a workshop and two for the gift shop. Because of these major changes to Junior's barn, we did not invite him to our Barn Social, looking out for his health you might say.
My family enjoyed themselves even though Tina said that she felt like she had spent hours on a Stair Master from the climbing up and down a ladder she had done stringing the lights. Since it didn't kill her, I have to assume it has made her stronger!
So for any of you with a big old barn just setting there, not doing much, have a Barn Social! In case you wonder what a Barn Social is, it can be anything that you want it to be, that simple. If you are of a political bent, you would need to have some politicians and a whole lot more liquor. If you are interested in a church-based Barn Social, you would need bibles and paper bags for the liquor. If you are into voodoo or witchery, you would want to set aside a space for your pentagram, some chickens and horned goats and substitute blood for the liquor. At our Barn Social next year, we plan to stick to the Autumn/Halloween theme and the standard food and drink items - it is a formula that worked for us.