Friday, August 31, 2012

Little Red Barn

This morning, to add a special sprinkle to the end of the first (half, anyway) week of school, I shuttled my shorties out the door a few minutes early in order to surprise them with an on-the-way hot cocoa and strawberry milk from my local drive-thru beanery.  It's a rare treat that is always met by them with gratitude, so long as the barista remembers the gummy bears on top, and it's something that I reward their good listening with, yet always in a surprise fashion...I don't want to ruin it by shifting it over to my bribery category just yet.

As we pulled in on one side of the two-service window hut Clayton said to Esten:

"When this place gets all done and closed up, we should use it for a playhouse."

To which Esten, preserver of justice, replied:

"We can't do that.  It's like stealing.  There's video cameras in there and they'd know that we came in to play when they were gone.  We'd go to jail."

I understood what Clayton was getting at though, so I helped clarify for him:

"I think your brother means when they're done with the BUILDING, like if the business completely closed forever, not just for the night, is that what you meant, Clayton?"

"Yeah, when it's old and they don't want it anymore.  Maybe we could have it for a playhouse."

Esten decided that would be kind of awesome, so long as no laws were broken in the deal.

With the rodeo coming up next weekend, I couldn't help but think of and share with them about the Little Red Barn.  It's the place where the public can go purchase advance tickets to the rodeo, a small, portable shed-like building that seasonally plants itself in the parking lot of a local business and is known immediately by either its name or by sight.  It's been part of our town's rodeo (which is a stop on a semi-serious circuit) tradition for years, just like the parade.  I told the boys that over the years they've had to replace the Little Red Barn because it's deteriorated or they've outgrown it...and that when I was a little girl and they upgraded to a new structure, that Grandpa had somehow finagled and gotten the old Little Red Barn for me to use for a playhouse and put it in the back yard around where Grandma's swingset is now.

Today's Little Red Barn...does it look like it's leaning a little to you?
Photo: Lewiston Roundup

They looked at each other for a moment, then to my eyes looking back at them in the rearview mirror.  Esten was speechless.  Clayton was not.

"Ahh. You. Theeeweeeeuth?"

"Yeah.  Only it was kind of shaped like a hexagon instead of a rectangle.  So people could come up to different sides of it.  I played in it for a lot of years, until it started falling apart from being out in the weather and wasn't safe to play in anymore, then Grandpa tore it down."

Clayton thought it was the coolest thing ever.  Esten got misty-eyed because it had been torn down before he got to see about 30 YEARS before he got to see it.  It was a prime example of the personality differences in my two little men.

We now live overlooking the rodeo grounds, this place that is so geographically close to us, yet we're not really a 'livestock' kind of my kids' exposure to the culture has been minimal.  This year we've decided, collectively, that the boys are going to try their hand at mutton busting.  I don't know that it will work out, probably once they see someone else attempting it they'll change their minds.  For now, though, that's the plan.  Clayton would like to wear his Oakland Raiders helmet.  That's been vetoed, both for safety purposes and so that the judges won't disqualify him on the basis of liking the Raiders.

My children will need therapy after this.
Photo: Lewiston Roundup

I was going to buy our tickets online since the Roundup Association has made that option available in the past few years, but instead I think I'll take the kids down to the Little Red Barn so they can experience it for themselves.

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