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Tuesday, September 22, 2020
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Old Locks for New Doors

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Old locks for new doors

     Today, my neighbor, Tommy Webb invited me to ride over to his old barn that had previously belonged to his father-in-law, Roscoe Wilson. The barn is located about two miles from my farm and is located adjacent to a two lane paved road serving our neighborhood.      After sliding open the heavy wooden door, we walked thru the six tier tobacco/utility barn as it began to rain outside. The sound of raindrops on the metal roof took me back to years of my early childhood and sleeping in the upstairs bedroom at my grandmother's house in Green County,
     Tommy shared memories of the barn structure as well as some of the equipment parked inside the barn.One piece of equipment that caught my eye was an old 1953 John Deere tractor that Tommy told me he had purchased new to use as a farmer around the time he was discharged from the Army during the Korean Conflict. The tractor now wears a thin coat of dust with hood removed and other parts gathered on the dirt floor nearby. He said he hoped to some day get it all put back together and running. I noted the big new John Deere tractor that he purchased less than two years ago. I wondered if the new tractor might be a better replacement for the sixty plus year parked nearby. But the new tractor did not have the charming stories that the old one possessed.
     We continued to look at stalls and corners. Eventually we made our way to a corner of the old barn with a tight board wall separating that space from the rest of the dusty building. He turned a very old latch and swung open a door. Though initially dark, he reached up and switched on a light that allowed our looking in the small space. We discovered a room with a wood floor and containers where livestock feed had been housed down thru the years, I noticed a collection of feed bags with scratch feed(chicken) and sweet feed (cattle)labels. Though we did not tarry long in this space, I was fascinated by the old door latch. 
     The latch was metal and of simple design. Its appearance gave me to understand it had served its purpose for countless years. Though old and a bit rusty, it still performs its purpose with no sign of failure. A newer or better designed latch could have been installed. But why waste money when this device still served its purpose?
     Then the thought came to me. We are like that old lock. We have a purpose and we continue to do our job. We may be old and have lost our new finish. In fact there may be others who can do what we do faster or with more flair.  But our work is faithful and reliable. We do what we do and seek no special attention. Our pride is in knowing we have done the job we were there to do. No fanfare will be required. In spite of our years of wear, we can provide younger generations much information that can prove helpful as they enter new stages of experience in their young lives.
     The attached photo is the latch to the feed room door at Tommy's barn. I like the latch and the image. I wish that latch had a voice. I expect it would have some stories to tell!