There are outside corners to most structures that are straight and perfect; at least they start out that way. Some structures have beautifully painted smooth siding or have adobe walls. Other structures are wrapped in layered brick, so perfect the bubble of a level remains dead center year after year. There are foundations that in some cases don’t have a single crack in them. But this is not the kind of structure I write from within.
This structure is a small cabin made of left-over parts: rusted sheet metal and red barn paint, plywood from the inside of box cars, and old electric poles. Most windows were the cheapest on the market or salvaged from a supply center. Insulation in the ceilings is held in place by wood paneling made to look like single slats because it was cheaper than putting up single boards during a time when money was scarce.
On the walls hang not only antique farm tools and old cooking utensils, but the blood, sweat, tears of my grandparents, people who had to work extremely hard for what little they had in fields and wood-burning cooking stove kitchens. I can tell you from their stories they had more and were far richer than I can ever hope to be.
Pictures adorn one wall. Family memories, almost all from our time here. There are many bits and pieces of lives, moments, memories of both family and friends alike hidden within, but not confined. History seeps from within these walls like water at the bottom of an old pond dam.
A cedar chest bares the scratch marks of a long-since passed family cat. A World War II cot once provided a place for a nap, but it has since been upgraded with a more modern daybed. A screened-in porch used to offer an escape from summer insects, but it is now a bunk room for guests that come to stay from time to time.
I am thankful for this old cabin. Thankful, for a roof under which to write when the winter weather is bad and for the heat from the wood stove that warms an otherwise cold and partially cracked foundation. Thankful for all the sacrifices that have gone into its existence.
The corners aren’t all straight and the sheet metal is a little rusty, but it is one of the richest places I have ever known.