June 13, 2011 at 8:31 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments




MAY 1 2011


In order to have dairy and poultry products, the early settlers to this country had to grow and maintain their own poultry flock and enough livestock to supply their dairy needs.  Early on they relied on wild game for meat.  It wasn’t hard to provide needed shelter to protect from predators and the weather by using natural resources .


As towns began to grow their need for these products, along with the need for domestic meat and the skins of animals to make leather, the new American agriculture industry was born.  Adding to the  animal population of these farms were the work animals, the source of power to operate the farm machinery and transport goods and people.  This brought about the need for barns to store hay, grain, tools and to provide shelter from inclement weather for the livestock.


In the Old Testament Biblical times, a man’s wealth was gauged by the number of cattle he owned. Through the ages, accumulations of different things of value became the barometer by which a man’s wealth was determined.  As the agriculture industry grew in this new country, the size and elegance of his barn became the point of attention by which a man’s wealth was judged.   


The most popular barn style has been the two story with a gambrel roof.  For added shelter drop sheds are added to each side.  These drop shed roofs appear as though one half of an eagle wing barn has been attached to each side of the gambrel structure.  Most often these barns are roofed and sided with sheet metal, which if kept maintained and painted, will last forever.  


It is time to turn our attention to the rise of one such barn and how it was useful in charting the course of my life which began seventy-seven years ago.  I was born December 22, 1933 on a small farm along State Highway 40 (known then as Morris Road) in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana.  This farm was on the north side of highway 40, two miles south and two and one-half miles east of Loranger and one mile west of Chapapeela Creek.


Prior to the Louisiana Purchase, the second white settler, Nathan Joiner, received a twenty-five hundred acre land grant from the Spanish Government.  After this land was divided through four generations and some sold out of the family. Dad ended up receiving forty acres.  In time, he was able to buy three other small tracts of land bringing his acreage total to one hundred and sixty acres.


When I was very young but old enough to remember, Dad drew plans for a new barn.  The plans were for the most popular barn described above.  Dad’s rudimentary drawing would not meet blueprint status but to Dad it was his blueprint.  Knowing our financial status and the cost to build the barn as his drawing portrayed, one would think never will he be able to build a barn like that.  Dad had a plan and the ingenuity to make it happen.  The next thing he did was make a material list from his blueprint.  About one-third of the forty acre tract of land was ladened with timber that needed to be removed to make it suitable for farming.


Mr. Henry Lester, a close neighbor and distant cousin, told Dad that he planned to build a barn the following year.  He and Dad agreed that they would help each other.  He and Dad worked as a team through the entire process of building both barns.


Mr. Clyde Overmier lived one-half mile west, one mile north, and one-half mile east.  There he operated a small saw mill and would custom saw lumber from logs brought to him for a fee.  Dad made the deal with Mr. Overmier to custom cut his columns, beams and other lumber needed to build this barn.


Dad’s next step was to inventory the trees and choose and tag trees that were the right size and height needed to make the 10×10 columns.  Then trees were selected and tagged to supply the needed beams.   He was able to select enough trees to furnish all the lumber needed to complete the barn. 


Before moving on, I must tell you that this young lad was very intrigued by watching the entire barn raising process yet to come.  Prior to the cutting of the trees, Dad and Mr. Henry (for the balance of this article they will referred to as they) dug the holes for the concrete piers and other foundation footing. They then inserted rebar and built an above ground pedestal, stem wall and watering tank forms.  The watering tank was located to make it accessible from any place in the barn or barnyard.  He then had sand, gravel and portland cement delivered and rented a gasoline powered mixer.  In due time,  all the foundation and the watering tank were awaiting the barn raising.


Then came the logging and transporting the logs to the saw mill by horse team and wagon.  They would load what logs they could on the wagon and go to mill.  Dad would tell Mr. Overmier what he wanted made out of each log and go for the next load.  Upon returning they would unload the logs, give instructions on how to cut these, then they would load the lumber from the previous load and repeat the process until all logs were cut into lumber and back to the building site.  After the needed lumber for the barn was harvested, the few remaining sawmill quality logs were also cut and sawed into lumber and the remaining trees were cut for fire wood, leaving the land ready for final clearing for farm land.  All the logs were cut into the needed size and length.  The lumber for this barn was not pine only but a mixture of a number of species of both soft and hard wood.  This was considered in Dad’s choosing of the application of each log.


At this point, watching the daily activities came to a sudden stop due to the simple reason that Monday through Friday that yellow school bus appeared, and I had to be on it.  I remember thinking that I could learn more watching them build the barn than I could learn at school.  In hind site the passion I had for watching how the barn was built during my formative years may have been the catalyst for my extreme desire to see how things are made.  My memory is clouded on which year or grade the barn was built, but I am thinking it most likely to have been my first year of school or possibly second.  By the time the yellow bus returned home, the construction was done for the day and Dad was preparing for the evening milking of the cows. 


All these years later, I still regret that I did not get to see the heavy columns being erected and secured in place in a square and plumb position.  I am sure it wasn’t easy without the aid of the modern lifting and positioning equipment of today.  After the columns were all set in position, I could see the progress from the school bus. 


In a reasonable amount of time, the framing was completed and the corrugated sheet metal sides and roofing were installed.  After that a tack room, two horse stalls and four individual cattle stalls were built in the center section of the front half of the Barn.  Next the hay loft was floored. Finally, linear feed boxes with hay racks above the box were built along the outer side walls of the main barn. The cattle could dine from either side of both walls.  This barn could accommodate our herd of one hundred.  A passage way was left at the back end in order for all to have access to the water tank.


It is amazing that Dad was able to raise a top quality barn with so little cash. Sand, gravel, portland cement, hardware, sawmill charges and sheet metal were the only items requiring cash. There were no electric saws and drills used in the construction.


The following year Mr. Henry had teamed up for another similar barn at his place, but I did not have the chance to see that construction as I did with this one.


In this narration I have brought you from my Dad’s desire to fulfill  Proverbs 12:10, “A righteous man regards the life of his beast” through his dream of and the ultimate building of his barn.  Along the way, I have shared with you my unusual interest in the construction.  At that time, no one had a clue as to what a profound impact the barn would have on the rest of the story and my life.




For those that may not know the details of the hay barn function, I‘ll  give you a brief overview.  During the winter months a layer of straw was placed on the dirt floor for bedding for the cattle to sleep on the cold winter nights.  The only routine cows have about kidney and bowel functions is to eliminate at any time or place they may be when the need arises and the straw absorbed the deposit. 


In the morning the hay racks are filled with hay and in the evening some type of grain or ensilage from a silo is put in the feed trough and the hay racks are then refilled along with the fresh layer of straw for bedding.  With this daily activity, the mixture of straw and deposits would get to be about two feet deep and have to be cleaned out in the spring and used for fertilizer for the crops for next winter’s ensilage.  During the summer, the barn was used very little for cattle, but the stock of hay was replenished.


Now we will take a look at Dad, the most kind and gentle man I ever knew.  Never did I hear a harsh word come from his mouth even in the most trying times when you would hear tones of firmness but nothing harsh or angry.  One would never mistake this for weakness, for he was very firm and solid in his values of right and wrong.  He was slow to speak but when he spoke his words demanded and received respect. This was true in every facet of his life – in the home, on the farm, in the business world, on the highway, at church or where ever he might be.


For a man that never received any formal education beyond the 8th grade, he displayed much wisdom in every thing he said and did. To me, it is very obvious that God had gifted him with an abundance of loving kindness and wisdom.  My endeavor in this writing is to proclaim how blessed I am to be the son of John Elzy Joiner and to share with you, the reader, a little value and wisdom that has benefited me through out life.


At the time of building the barn, I was not old enough to be active in the farm work, but it wasn’t long until Dad started training me to be his little helper before and after school plus non-school days.  As I grew, so did the size of the herd. The work load for Dad grew and he readily shared that load with me.  Sharing the workload with me did two things, and those two things were giving him the needed help and giving me good training in work ethics.


At this time, I am turning to Dad and how he used and enjoyed his barn.  During the winter months and inclement weather, after all the other dairy chores were finished, we would go into the hay loft and drop hay from there into the hay racks below. As soon as the allotment of hay was in the racks, we would both sit on a bale of hay and watch the cows as they enjoyed cozy warm shelter and hay.  In my mind, I can still see the glee in his eyes as he watched from above.


While working on this article, a winter blizzard moved in, and I am now snowed in behind huge snowdrifts at this time. Today is Wednesday and it is not going to get above freezing until Saturday afternoon. For the next few days I am going type only as I think of instructions from the loft and endeavor to get it in the proper sequence.


This atmosphere quickly became a shrine of instructions from Dad to me. Even at my early age, I grasped the chance to learn from Dad’s instructions and most of them  came in what I refer to as my shrine of higher education, “THE HAY LOFT”.



Dad was not an expert in etiquette, but he knew respect and was training me to be respectful starting very early.  The first of this endeavor was basic teaching that men and boys should remove their hats as they go inside, at a table to eat (inside or outside), when praying, reciting  the Pledge and when greeting a lady.


Some of the earlier instructions were dealing with respect for other people with a heavy emphasis on older people. 


Always use a handle of respect when addressing older people and people of authority.  This included the proper use of Mr., Mrs., Miss., Sir.,  Madam,  Dr., Your Honor, Sen., Rep., Gov., President.


Be courteous to other people,  hold the door open for women and for older men when entering or exiting buildings. 


  Open and hold open the car door for women to get in and out, and always offer assistance to handicapped people.


  When around some one who had a disfigurement in their appearance, talk to that person as though he or she were totally normal while avoiding looking at the point of disfigurement. 


The Ten Commandments were cited and discussed as a preface to other instructions listed below.


Always be straight forward, honest, truthful and upright with all people.


If you say you are going to do something, make sure you do it.


If for any reason you are unable to do so, timely contact the person or persons involved with an apology and reason.


Treat all people the way you like for people to treat you.


Dad had two quotes that he used often, and I can’t remember who he credited them to.  I have heard them in later years and heard them credited to some one much too young to have been the source whom Dad credited for the quotes.   Regardless of who originated them, they are worth repeating because he stressed both of them to me.

I think the wording of them and the later quotes were somewhat different but the message was the same.


One is, “For every action you take there will be a reaction.”


The other is “Whether your choices are good or bad you must live with the choices you made.” In fact, George Jones recorded a hit song with the theme of this one, ”CHOICES”.


Through  the years of my growing up, there also was spiritual  encouragement given in the hay loft but most of that training was done in the family worship at the start and finish of each day.


Not all of our conversations in the loft were instructions.  Dad would tell me of his growing up years, family history, neighborhood history and current events.  During the time we were in conversation, he would also be observing the cows and would often express his thankfulness for the comfortable shelter for his cattle.


One should not think the story of the loft as crash sessions of do’s and don’ts.  With Dad’s gentle, tender, kind and loving demeanor it was just the opposite.  We both had the same attitude and looked on it as quality time with each other. 


My earliest farm memory was of Dad taking me to see his only horse, a mare named Dolly, just after she had given birth to a colt he named Nellie.  The next two years he had Dolly bred to a jack to acquire a team of mules.


By this time Dolly had served many years as a work horse and had given birth to three excellent work animals.  Dad felt the time was near to retire Dolly and let her live the rest of her life in leisure. He now had Jack and Jill,  his mule team.


The next horse addition came by breeding Nellie and she produced a colt named Prince.


A few months later Edward Averrett bought a five-gaited Tennessee Walking stallion.  Some time later Dad said, “You are almost eleven years old, and I want you to have your own horse.  I have had Nellie bred to Edward’s Tennessee Walker and she should have it by your birthday.  That will be your present and I am going to coach you in breaking and training the horse your self.  I want no one but you riding the young animal until after the training process and after that it will be your decision if any one but you rides your self-trained horse.”   


Ten days before my birthday, the colt arrived and I named him Champ. Through Dad’s coaching and my training, Champ turned out to be my champion without having been in any formal competition.


For the next year all of my spare time was spent giving Champ a lot of tender loving care as I followed Dad’s coaching.  I did a google search on how to train a young horse and found the ten step plan that is a replica of the instructions Dad had me train Champ. After including those instructions in this story, It became a possible distraction from the story of the barn.  I then took it out of this story,  but I will post it as a separate story .  By doing that, it will be posted on John (Elzy} Joiner profile and Howell Bunyan Joiner profile  “HORSE TRAINING.”  If you choose to do so, you may read it there.


BACK TO THE HAY LOFT                     


Now is the time to return to the hay loft and it is early December 1945. The hay racks have been filled, the cows are enjoying eating, drinking and lounging in the freshly laid straw bedding.  In less than a month I will turn twelve years old, Dad and I  are sitting on hay bales watching the cows when Dad launches another conversation designed to set the course for my journey to adulthood.   For this segment I will forgo the quotation punctuations and tell the story as my memory dictates and do so in my words.


As you remember it was one year ago that Champ was given for your birthday and all is going as planned with that project.   Now that you are approaching twelve, I want to give you something that will continue giving in more ways than one.  I expect for you to assume your responsibility as a member of the family and continue doing chores as needed without pay and in so doing learn work ethics and duty.  I have been giving you a small allowance for you to spend as you choose and will continue to do so until you get in position to have your own spending money.


Your birthday gift this year will put you in the position of having your own money if you follow the plan I will give you along with the main gift. My two highest producing cows have each just had heifer (female) calves.  Those two calves are your birthday gift this year.


The secondary gift this plan I have will make the gifts valuable to you economically, educationally and responsibly.  As part of the gift, I will furnish the feed and supplies to bring these two calves to producing cows.  In exchange for that,  you will become my regular helper on the farm when not at school or away for other approved activities. 


You know that milk is marketed by the hundred pound weight.  When your cows start producing we will weigh their milk and record it.  When the bi-monthly check comes for the milk, I will give you the market price for all the milk produced by your cows.  When you receive your first milk money, you will then begin buying the dairy ration for your cows.  Your labor on the farm will compensate for the hay and pasture for your cows.  From this point on, you will pay for all purchased feed and supplies needed for your animals.  You can expand your herd by keeping all heifer offspring from your animals and the same rule will apply.


You will keep detailed records and at least one half of all profits will go into a savings account for future needs.  The other fifty percent profit will provide you with your spending money.


The plan that Dad put forth turned out to be very beneficial in more ways than one.  It provided the opportunity for to me get hands on training in economics, record keeping, responsibility, decision making, income earnings, and what was to me at that time most important, the ability to buy myself a new 1951 Ford just before the start of my senior year of high school.  


Looking back I see an abundance of wisdom possessed by Dad in his self spun way of preparing me for adult life.  I have covered most of the important things that Dad used the hay loft for as a shrine of education.  The final paragraph set in the hay loft is a subject that often is neglected or omitted from instruction from parents to children.  I am sure that by now you have made a correct guess of what that subject is dealing in a honorable way with persons of the opposite gender.  I’ll not go into details of the instructions bestowed on me but just give a summary of lessons learned.


As mentioned before, he began teaching respect for others and the importance of courtesy in all situations and always included the proper way to respect and protect the number one female in my life, My Mother. 


As I moved forward in life toward maturity, he instructed me to be very careful in choices I made and the importance of making honorable choices in all dealings with girls.  As myself and anyone else that knew him would know, his solid Christian values would direct his instructions to include abstaining from sexual activities until after marriage.  Beyond that the advice was to look for courtship among Christian girls and be slow and careful and always be honorable, truthful and honest in all communications.  Also included, never lead a girl to think my interest was more serious than my feelings actually were.


He followed all of this with a serious discussion of the importance of always using tender loving kindness with you wife.   Treat her as your queen and handle her as if she is a precious jewel.  Never rush her for your passion and self satisfaction.  He pointed out that marriage would bring  the two of  us together as one thereby making it important for the man to slow his desires to lead her into mutual desires in order to enjoy the pleasures of intimate fulfillment of both.


I wrote the last four paragraphs before going to bed last night and got up at 4:30 am and sat down in front of the computer and re-read this article and pondered, where do I go from here with this writing,  That reading and pondering invoked a reflective mode that produced an emotional shower prior to continuing dialog of the barn.  


At this time I am going to let the barn story rest and without taking much time on any one subject, follow a somewhat sequential summary of timeline events from this point to the time when the barn re-enters the story.


There has been very little said about my mother in this story but that does not mean that she had less influence on my life than Dad.  This story Is about Dad and his barn.  Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To everything there is a season”, and Mom’s time will come in another story. 


Either late in 1950 or early in 1951, I began corresponding with Doris Busbee from Guthrie, Oklahoma.  This attraction continued and developed into a proposal and an engagement near Christmas of 1951.  Needless to say that that 1951 Ford that had come on the scene made a number of rapid trips from Loranger, Louisiana to Guthrie, Oklahoma.


The year of 1952 started off on a sad note.  In early February my grandfather,  Ebby Joiner, who had lived near our house in his own little cabin and dined with us almost daily for as long as I can remember, became terminally ill.  And with Dad’s three brothers living in other areas, when it became necessary for someone to be at the hospital with Grandpa full time, Mom and Dad kept the days covered.  I went from school to the hospital to be with him during the night and Mom or Dad would arrive with fresh clothes in time for me to get to school.  The hospital staff would allow me to use a shower there. 


On March 28,1952 five girls and five boys entered the auditorium of the old high school as the graduating class of 1952.  Six of this class of ten had started to school together on the same day in 1940.  They were Alma Catreur, Marie Fendleson, Carl King, Carlos Cooper, Jack Autin and myself, Howell Joiner.  At the beginning of the fourth grade, Husser School was consolidated into Loranger bringing Cordelia Brunnett and Joyce Husser into the class.  I think it was the sixth or maybe the seventh grade that the Nichols family moved from Mobile, Alabama bringing Joan Nichols to our class.  Eddie Anthony joined us as a freshman.  From the time we said our farewells and walked out those doors, transformed from the graduating class to the latest alumni of Loranger High School, never again would we ever be assembled as a complete group.


After graduation, I continued to do the night shift with Grandpa but Mom or Dad did not have to be at the hospital as early. The night of April 1, Grandpa was very low.  When Dad arrived the morning of April 2, He took one look at Grandpa and said,”You might want to hang around here for a while today”.  I had been very close to Grandpa for we had spent 18 years entertaining each other.  I was very glad Dad  afforded me the option to be with Grandpa that day.  A little over an hour later I was standing at his bedside holding his hand, while my mind was traveling down memory lane of the good times he and I had,  when he gasped and struggled for breath and then was gone.  This was my first experience with death up close and personal.  I had lost a five year old first cousin, and my Grandpa James, which were sad occasions, but not the emotional trauma that came with the time caring for him and being present for Grandpa Joiner’s departure and our season of togetherness.


On May 25, of the same year Doris Busbee and I were married,  and we started our lives together in the house we had bought from my uncle, Andrew Joiner.


In February 1953, we left the farm, and I took a job at Baptist Hospital in Alexandria, Louisiana.


On August 21,1953, John Ray, our first son was born.


When I went to work away from the farm, I left my interest in the cattle with Dad since  he was the one that made it all possible.  Early in 1955, Dad and I decided that it would be best if i came home and form an official partnership in the dairy business and plan on working together in the long term.  In March of 1955, we formed an official partnership known as J. E. Joiner and Son Dairy Farm.  All was going good, and we felt that Mom and Dad needed an extended vacation together.  It had been many years since they had a vacation.  They planned a trip to California to visit Dad’s brother, David, and his wife Katie and to attend a camp meeting there.   They left on this trip September 30,1955 with plans to return on November i.


Shortly after arriving in California, Dad began feeling badly and wanted to come home but did not feel up to driving the long trip.  Finally they decided to come on home and started home sometime earlier than planned.  From somewhere in West Texas,  Mom called and said she was doing all the driving which was a scary thought because she had only recently learned to drive and she did not have any highway experience.  I told her to continue as long as she could without driving through Houston and call Doris with an address of where they were stopped. I would get Herbert Flynn to come with me to drive the pickup back and, I would drive them.  They had stopped and got some rest at a motel just west of Houston.  When we got there Dad said let’s get on the road, I want to get home.  Dad seemed almost normal with me there to drive,  and we got home just fine and he seemed on the road to complete recovery.  I was still making sure that he took it easy and on November 19 we made plans to go to church the next day and then go and visit Dad’s brother that was in the hospital with a stroke.  


While I was in Alexandria, Dad had a new house built for he and Mom.  When I came back and formed the partnership, Doris and I moved into the old house not too far from the new one.  At 3:45 a.m. the next morning, Sunday November 20, 1955, Mom called saying, “Get here quick, I think your Dad is having a heart attack”.  It took very few minutes to be there. When I hurried in the door, he summoned me to his side as he struggled to tell me three things, the last being take care of Mom and then said, “I am dying, bye”, and his head dropped and he was in fact gone.  In less than 33 months I watched Grandpa and Dad both die, and I was only twenty-one years old.  Needless to say, this was the beginning of my world as I had known it, falling apart.  I will not try to explain the devastation that befell me when he died.


Prior to Dad’s death, Doris and I agreed that we did not want there to be too much time lapse between the ages of our children and ceased birth prevention.  The untimely death made us think this is not a good time to add to the family and attempted to reverse our efforts in that direction.  In a very short time, we were aware that that decision was out of our hands, and as a result our second son, Howell Keith Joiner, was born July 27, 1956. 


In an effort to expedite this story and get back to the Barn, I will fast forward by way of a timeline of events with little detail.


For nearly three years after Dad’s death, a number of things that were beyond my control occurred and late in 1958, Mom and I divided the land setting aside twenty acres with her house and the  balance of the farm land was sold.  I then had a couple of short time jobs in the area before moving to New Orleans to attain decent employment.  


In late 1959 or early I960, Doris and I separated and she took the boys and moved to Midland Texas.


In November of 1960, Mom and Otis Clark (O. C.) Porter were married and would alternate time between his place in Guthrie, Oklahoma and her place in Louisiana for their first three years. 


Early in 1961, Doris and I were talking of re-uniting, and decided I would go to Tulsa, Oklahoma and get a job and a place to live and they would then come.  In July 1961, our plan was put in place.  But in may of 1964, Doris and my marriage ended and divorce followed. 


On February 20, 1965, I married Sylvia Robinson Blades and In 1967 I took her south to show her my roots.  I parked in front of the old place,  and as I viewed the results of years of neglect of the place, and the sheet metal skin of the barn rusting, my heart sank within, but I still looked at it as my shrine of higher education still standing strong.


We returned in 1972 for my 20 year class reunion.  At that time a few sheets of sheet metal were missing and it was then I knew that it would only be a matter of time until the structure that had been so involved in preparing me to face the world, would no longer exist. 


April 21, 1977, I was involved in a chain saw accident sustaining massive damage to my left foot and ankle and requiring extreme reconstruction surgery making me unable to work for five months.


On May 5, 1977 Sylvia died  in her sleep without ever being sick.


In November, 1977, I went back to Louisiana for a funeral and a few more sheets of metal were gone.


On December 2, 1977, Beatrice (Bea) Juanita Beason and I were married in Sherman, Texas.


In 1982, I was there for  my thirty year class reunion and more sheet metal was gone. 


Another funeral brought me by it again In 1989, and a few of the rafters were hanging by one end.


On the forty year class reunion in 1992, not much change was noticed.


September 10, 1995,  Mom died in The Golden Rule Nursing Home in Shawnee, Oklahoma.  After a song and prayer service in Shawnee, the funeral director driving the funeral coach, and myself driving the family car, drove throughout the night to have her in Loranger, Louisiana for visitation the next day.  The following day we laid her to rest beside Dad two months short of forty years after putting dad to rest there.


On March 6, 2001 I collapsed and was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with cancer with little chance of recovery. This resulted in my making peace with God and receiving a miracle.  The details of that story is in chapter 58, “MY MIRACLE”, in a book I wrote and published, in May of 2008,  called “FULL CIRCLE WITH A TALE”.  I will be posting this article on Ancestry.com under my profile in my “HOWELL BUNYAN FAMILY TREE”.  That chapter is already posted there.


In 2002, when there for the fifty year reunion one corner of the barn was down.  


When I returned home I found Bea very ill and immediately took her to the hospital.  She was suffering from E coli bacteria infection and was in intensive care for while.  The illness left her with much damage to her system and started a progressive decline in her health.  From that time forward frequent hospital stays were required for her.


In 2006, I was back there and the barn was totally collapsed and nothing was standing, not one single column or board was upright.


On December 15, 2006, Bea became a resident of The Golden Rule Nursing Home in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and I rented an apartment on the premises that was just across the driveway from her room.  In April 2007, she was hospitalized in Shawnee and then transferred to Deaconess Hospital In Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


On May 5, 2007, Bea died, 30 years after Sylvia had died on May 5, 1977.


A short time after Bea’s death, I started traveling full time in the motor home.  Early winter of 2007, I went to Loranger and remained there until  March.  While there, I met the current owner of the old home place and was invited into the old house.  I even went into the room that I was born in.  Also, I was present in that room when my oldest son, John, was born.  He and I were not only born in the same room, we were both delivered by the same midwife, Sis.  Catherine Simpson. 


The old house and yard were somewhat maintained but beyond that the silo and barn and Grandpa’s cabin area were encased by trees and very dense underbrush.  The owner chopped away enough of the under brush to allow me to go into the cabin.  The door panels were coming apart, and I mentioned that I would like have the door knobs and lock.  He jerked the closing edge of the door off and handed it to me and it is now on the porch of my son Keith’s home in Hot Springs, Montana. I thanked him and got in the car to leave.  I sat there gazing into a vast mental library for an unknown time span in what seemed like a high speed movie of my entire memory bank spinning through my head from the very first entry including all previous trips by here and the present momentous occasion.


I don’t think the occasion arose in this writing  for me to mention that Mom was a minister of the Gospel,  and while I was sitting in the car looking at nothing but trees and brush over where the barn stood, included in that flashback movie was a statement that I heard my mother use in sermons throughout the years.  The statement was, “There was a time that we were not, but there will never be a time that we will not be”.


As I sat pondering as to why I thought of that statement at that time, first I thought that as long as I live and have my mind the barn will still exist.  Then it came to me that God made man from dust and our bodies return to the earth from whence we came and the composted wood that once made that barn has returned to the earth from whence it came.  Every piece of wood that went into that barn had been cut from trees grown on the same forty acre tract of land that the barn stood on.  We can’t see the barn, but it will always be where it came from.  It will also exist in my mind as long as my mind functions .


As I continued reflecting, it came to to me that Dad, by determination, built the barn to fill the needs of himself, his cattle and his son. 


Although sadness hovers over me now seventy plus years after the inception of that barn, neither he nor his cattle have a need for it and I, his son, still have all I ever needed of it, and that is credited next in the final sentence of this article.


With John Elzy Joiner as professor, the Holy Spirit as director and Almighty God, The Dean of Education, I received a Degree of Character and became the only alumnus of my Shrine of Higher Education Known as.“ THE BARN”







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  1. Wow, incredible blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is magnificent, as well as the content!


      Saundra Lyn I have had this blog attached to my web site promoting a book I wrote If you found the WordPress and did not see the web page it is http://www.howelljoiner.com
      I am in fact very unskilled at this game. Just recently after doing extended research in ancestry and after finding nothing but birth dates and death dates on ancestors as for back as far the 1500s I started writing stories about people of my time and posting them on our family tree on ancestry.com. “THE BARN” is what I wrote and posted to my father’s ancestry profile. I will be posting other ancestry stories to my blog.. I am glad you liked “THE BARN”


  2. great stuff test

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