Letters to the Editor
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Restoring a Barn
Dear Bay Weekly:
Thank you for such a delightful article [Reflection: Vol. xv, No 14: April 5]. It was poignant, too, as I reflected on our own tobacco barn.
We have lived on our little Calvert County farm for 35 years. We and our children lived the life you described and lived the decline of tobacco farming in the region. We knew the family who owned this property before us, Mr. & Mrs. Herman Wells, who patiently and delightedly showed us how to work the farm and handle all aspects of tobacco raising.
Last spring I took stock of the barn. Like the barn in Elizabeth Ayres’ article, ours had deteriorated from weather and the lack of money and time to repair it. As I walked around and through the barn, I remembered the work we had done, the complaints from my brothers who helped with our first harvest and the almost overwhelmingly sweet smell that wafted from the curing tobacco. I marveled at the workmanship needed to construct the barn from the large timbers fastened with wooden pegs in the oldest part to the smooth transition they made as a section was added some decades after the 1880s’ core.
Water, termites and wind had crumbled large areas of the foundation sill. Significant areas of the board siding were gone or in tatters, and some of the doors had fallen away. A swirl of images and feelings raced through me as I surveyed everything. So I decided to repair the barn.
I tackled the foundation first by jacking up the barn, repairing the crumbled foundation and replacing the rotted sills with some old ones that Jack Hammett, a nearby builder, gave me from the Barstow Post Office. I then obtained newly sawn poplar planks and replaced the siding. All new doors were constructed and hung. That work occupied all spring, summer and most of the fall up to late November. Last week I had the roof replaced, and today, minutes after the last of the debris was removed, I came across your article.
The wistfulness of your tone resonated in me and enhanced my quiet satisfaction with the work, probably the last big physical thing I am to do in life. I’m 63.
So thank you for the article and the pleasant feelings that you inspired.
William Goodwin, Prince Frederick
Cheering the Bay’s Blast from the Past
Dear Bay Weekly:
The Bay Crater story [Vol. xv, No. 9: March 1] was by far one of the most interesting articles I’ve read. Apart from learning something completely new (I had never heard of the crater) it was just plain fun to read.
Ken Sabel, Arnold