Weather-beaten memories

Published 12:07 pm Friday, October 2, 2020

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Recently, an old weather-beaten house and several outbuildings caught the eye of Minister Michael Klaus while on a drive in the Stoney Creek community. With his camera always at his side, he stopped to take some photos, which he shared with the STAR.
Wouldn’t you love to know who lived here and their stories? Just imagine the memories conceived here. The old house, barn, crib, and outhouse, even overgrown golden grasses all have stories to tell. They are structures and things that are links to someone’s past. They at one time were living, breathing structures that took on new functions and new looks as the seasons changed. They once stood proudly in this rural community.
Today, the old house and outbuildings are near collapse. They no longer serve a purpose.
Unfortunately, these old houses and buildings, now aged and weather-beaten, but beautiful and useful in their days, are gradually disappearing from modern rural landscapes. Unused and outdated, they are dismantled or left to decay.
If these old buildings could talk, they would tell us fairytales of days long forgotten. They would tell us of times when there was no utility water. It was drawn by the bucketfuls from wells and cisterns or carried from a nearby creek. A bucket of drinking water usually had a special place in the kitchen, and a dipper was used to drink from.
On laundry day, the clothes were placed in a large tub and often washed with lye soap on a washboard. After rinsing, they were hung on a clothesline to dry.
Since there was no running water, there were no bathrooms — just an outhouse somewhere behind the house. No toilet paper either — usually a Sears-Roebuck catalog was used in place of toilet paper.
It was a time when there were no televisions, no i-phones, no drive-through restaurants, and no Wal-Marts. What a changing world we live in.
These old houses and outbuildings such as barns, corn cribs, etc. stand today as monuments to the generations of families who have lived, worked and died there. You wonder about the folks who lived there — their lives, their joys, and even heartaches.
An old popular gospel song starts out: “This old house once knew my children; this old house once knew my wife. This old house was home and shelter as we fought the storms of life.”
Those words penned many years ago by the late gospel songwriter Stuart Hamblen could very well describe this weather-beaten house on Stoney Creek.
There are many of these old buildings, marked by age and weather, still standing in every community of the county. They tell the stories of our past, and are a reminder of when times were harder, but much more civil; when neighbors knew each other by name, and were quick to help in time of need. We could stand a dose or two of the civility of that time as well as the kindness, strength, and self-sufficiency of that era.
Although time has taken its toll on the old structures, they still stand, battered somewhat, but they still emit an air of proud history and strength after all these years and generations of proud, hard-working families.
Time will finally decide the fate of this family homeplace.

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