The Old Red Barn standing proud in the midst of a big snow storm.
Reflections of the Old Red Barn
By Richard Mabey Jr.
For me, the Old Red Barn at the Mabey Homestead was a symbol of the love that I held so dearly for my beloved father. You see, Dad and I built the Old Red Barn during the Summer of 1972. It was the very summer before my beloved girlfriend, Penny, went off to Rutgers University. I had just completed my first year of college at County College of Morris. And despite the worry and the struggle, I managed to get very good grades. Which was only because of the many times thaat my Dad insisted that I study, when I really wanted to go out and about with my friends.
The only photograph that I have of The Old Red Barn, in the process of being built. Note that the doors are not yet on it. Also, the hard work of painting the barn had not yet even begun.
The memory of building our backyard barn is a most dear and cherished memory that still resides in my heart and mind. I learned a lot from my Dad that summer. My Dad was such a smart man. I don’t think that people knew just how smart he was. Dad was a very modest man. I remember the hours that Dad and I sat at the dining room table, figuring out exactly how we would build the old barn. When Dad did something, he did it right.
Sitting at the old dining room table of the old Mabey Homestead with Dad is one of the dearest memories that I have of growing up there.
My father was such a hard working man. I remember, during that summer when we built the barn on his week off from work, he never once let the summer heat get the best of him. He just get sawing the wood, hammering boards in place and sand papering the corner edges. I think that I learned so very much from beloved Dad that week. I probably learned more from my Dad that week, than from any of my college professors that I had from that past year. I am very serious about this.
The Old Red Barn stood proud and majestic when Dad and I finally completed building it.
My father went Home to be with the Lord in 2006. I still miss him very much. Of late, I have been going through such a terrible writer’s block. Whenever this happens, I think about my father, I think about how hard he worked all of his life, I think about how much he loved the scouting movement, I think about how much he loved his church. I try my best to be true to my father. I try my earnest best to bring honor to my family name.
I know that inevitably there have been times when I have written something that has irritated someone. Over the years, there have been times when I have received extremely unkind feedback from people, for something that I had written. Still, I know that I must surge forward. In solitude, I remember that week when my Dad and I built that backyard barn in the sweltering summer heat. I remember how hard my Dad worked to build that barn that summer. I did help him quite a bit. But it was my Dad’s determined spirit that made it possible for us to finish the Old Red Barn.
The Old Red Barn with the little garden beside it.
I most recently went through a terrible writer’s block. I remembered my promise to my father, to never quit writing. When you are facing tough times, that is just the time when it’s needed to grit your teeth, keep up a stiff upper lip, and pull your boot straps up. It all comes down to this: never, never, never give up! Never give up! Never give up!