Barns and cows

When you were young, did you color pictures of barns? Were they always four straight walls and a roof? Were they black or white?

Next time you're driving through the countryside, look around at the different barns. You'll see barns of many different colors, sizes, and purposes.

I've discovered barns have different personalities. Some barns lean so far left or right, I don't see how they remain standing. Some have missing slats of wood, and some are faded and in desperate need of a new coat of paint.

My grandparents, Elizabeth and Jack Hubbard, lived on a farm in Munfordville, KY. They had two barns. When I was eight years old, my brother, Chris, and I spent the night with my grandparents on New Year's Eve.

Granddaddy went to bed about 8:00, his usual bedtime. Grandmother never wanted us to be bored, and she knew we wanted to stay up until midnight. We'd never done this before, and she agreed. I don't know if she thought we'd fall asleep, but Chris and I were determined to stay awake until the new year. Plus I think we were shocked Grandmother would let us, and we wanted to see how that would play out because she usually went to be early.

So Grandmother pulled out puzzles and snacks. When it got close to midnight, she told us she'd always heard that at midnight of the new year cows get up, turn around, and lay back down. This was too much for us to resist. We had to see if it was true.

Right before midnight, we bundled up in our heavy coats and walked out to the barn giggling along the way. When we got close, Grandmother warned us to be quiet. We crept into the barn with a flashlight.

The cows filled the penned in area. All were sleeping. We stood there for a few minutes. Expectation warred with disappointment. Finally, one cow in the middle stood up and looked around.

Then another cow stood up. And another stood. One mooed. Before long it seemed as if every cow was up and mooing. They shifted around, and one by one lay back down.

My heart raced. I couldn't believe Grandmother Hubbard had stayed up until midnight, taken us to the barn, and we stood there watching the cows wake up, move, and go back to sleep.

Chris and I laughed all the way back to the house.

I've celebrated a lot of New Year's Eves since I was eight years old, but this was the most magical.