Barn encounters are coming my way.
I took the photo above at Art in the Barn, a show in the old barn at Hoke Farm, Goshen. My daughter-in-law had four drawings displayed. The old barn had been modestly remade as the perfect gallery. I loved it. More on that another time...
But even more I love my encounter with another barn lover on Saturday morning at 11:46 am, by the pomegranates in Kroger in Goshen.
A man beside me asked, "What do you do with those things?"
"Salsa," I said.
"Salsa! I am 92 years old! We never had salsa."
"...Do you know what salsa is?" I asked respectfully.
"Of course I do. My grandchildren tell me about these things."
This evolved into a long, long conversation where I learned that he had farmed, lived in Florida, driven RV's, and in that job, brought back such strange fruits as pomegranates. It was clear that we could have stood by those pomegranates talking for a long time.
With my barn project in mind, I asked, "Where was your farm?"
"In Florence township." (That's where my church, Florence Church of the Brethren Mennonite, is!)
"Where?" I exclaimed.
"On Banker Road."
"Banker and Engle." (Really!)
"That's right by my church, the church where I am a pastor."
At this his hardness of hearing seemed to kick in. "What?" Putting together a woman pastor, Florence township, and the church he knew as Brethren was a stretch.
Well, when all was said and done, a good thirty or forty minutes later, I had learned that he was the first seed corn farmer in Florence township, that he knew many at Florence Church, and that he loved to talk and tell stories.
We exchanged business cards. Yes, this 92 year old has business cards in his wallet. I promised, with great joy, to call him so that we could talk more about barns and farming in St. Joseph County.
"Why are you doing this barn project?" he asked.
"Well, I'm an urban girl who is now a rural pastor. I want to learn about farming and its history around the church."
"Where were you born," he asked.
He smiled and shook his head. "You have a lot to learn!"