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There is something about that old red barn one can see leaving Geneva to the west. Doubtfully used and red as barns always used to be, its purposes seem to be one of nostalgia. I love it. It is a reminder of so many things it warms my heart.

Not long ago I received a story of an old barn on my computer. It stayed in my mind and conjured up thoughts of my own.

There are getting to be fewer and fewer – old barns, I mean. There is nostalgia about those old buildings. Will they someday be extinct?

I know I am inclined to comparisons but there is much to be said and compared with old barns and the farmers who once owned them. 

When I was growing up I was lucky enough to catch a little of the value of the old barn on my grandparents’ farm. Not really great in many ways; the inside was clambered together in a fashion to contain the cows and young stock. As kids, my sister and I loved the little calves and orphaned sheep we feed on bottles, especially since it was not an everyday thing, so we enjoyed it and never got tired. The cats made their home there, and came around for a hand out from those who were milking by hand. Those sharp cats would catch the stream of milk with more accuracy than a baseball player up to bat. Modern “conveniences" took over much of the milking but there were always "stripers" or nervous cows to be handled with care. 

I wish I had one of the old milking stools my Grandpa made and used in his milking days. But then there are a number of things that Grandpa made from scratch that would be treasures today. 

We can always find comparisons to "those good old days" and this is one of them. I recently went to a funeral. There were people there who had aged since I last saw them. Noticeably, the hair was thinner and touched with silver and there were a few wrinkles here and there.

Is it fair we compare people with those old barns? Many now only sit where they were "planted" so to speak, serving no great need because time has changed their original purposes. Some are storehouses and still serve in any way they can. Barns and beings may still hold artifacts no longer useful, but full of sentimental value. Some are a little creaky with "a board" lose here and there.  Some are neglected and deteriorating more than those who still get moderate repair. Their usefulness is debatable, but there is still something special about those old barns and old farmers – and their wives.

Old barns and people are alike in value and such a part of life. The shingles may be loose, the paint fading and there is an outward look of silver, but inside there is pure gold. The thought and memories and purpose they once served gives credence to them.

Next time you see an old friend and notice the changes and erosion from the years that may have caused deterioration, remember it may have increased their value, and yours. The beauty of what they contributed to life when it was needed and appreciated.

Nothing lasts forever; we only wish it would.

They were like jewels: beautiful, bright, adored and priceless. Their sparkle made life an occasion.  And then they were gone. I know it is to a better place but there is that feeling of losing something one can't retrieve. Robbed? No. But gone forever.

That is when you search the little boxes in the mind to find bits and pieces – remnants of what they were to you.

You know that as you age and they do too, there will be more! You try not to think of it. I question in my mind, would they have thought of this day as a happy day with all their friends and relatives there to honor their memory and celebrate their life? 

So often I come away from a funeral thinking how much the deceased would have loved visiting and being with so many they didn't get a chance to see too often.

Oh, there will be others who will fill the void, but never replace the jewel that was a friend, relative or just a good person. 

Beautiful, valuable, shiny too, but just not the same jewel that once decorated one’s life. New buildings are built to replace old, new people will come into our lives. Appreciate new people. Old barns and old friends will leave us and new ones will come along to enrich our lives.

Go out of your way to be good to someone today. You will discover that you can make somebody's entire day with a smile, a phone call, or whatever it is you have to share.

Don't forger our elders; they have so much to give to those who listen, but they are the ones who deserve to receive. 

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Birthdays and anniversaries:

• Thursday, November 20th: Chuck Pence, Howard Pence, Eric Simon, David A. Hanson, Angie Blouin Sikel, Dennis Blouin, Scott Brekke, Malinda Fennert, Alisha Waalkens, Heather Crabtree Krenke, Kristine Kelly, Rachel Nelson, Holly Mattson

• Friday, November 21st: Paul Wallace, Angie Johnson, Paul Kasper, Desirae Farr, Cheryl Harpel, Greg Schimek, Leah Leak, Leah Maddox Larson, Abby Underland, Dustin Burshem, Robin & Jan Jepson

• Saturday, November 22nd - Mallory Luhring, her 12th; Whitney McCamish, Jodell Hanson, Keven Larson, Donna Maixner, Jane Tappe, David L. Hanson, Jason Peterson, Jacki Shadden, Elzo Peterson

• Sunday, November 23rd: Amy Hunnicutt Kromminga, Lisa Holmes Rietsema, Margaret Loven, Marietta Sommers Rupe, Rick Thompson, Sara

Anderson, Joyce Ditlveson, Amanda Farr, George & Diana Ritz

• Monday, November 24th: Blaine Boverhuis, Deb Peterson Schmidt, Ellen Pearl LaFave, Heather Snow, Lisa Hunnicutt Vreeman, Bob Hanson, Rita Glynn, Abraham Ladlie, Kyle Layland, Scott & Lisa Reitsema

• Tuesday, November 25th: Scott Groth, Calista Lerum, Randy Born, Mitchel Hill, Joel Langlie, Brian Vogt, Gideon Jude Long, Daryl & Kathy Paulsen, Ken & Iva Sletten

• Wednesday, November 26th: Darlene Krohnberg, Cody Christensen, Robert Gasner, Linda Stieglbauer, Drew Vangen, Ashley Bergerson, Al & Diane Lee, Jamie & Kate Cameron

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