Hancock, VT – Barn Pickers

PJ and Debbie’s barn. Hancock, VT

“You guys wanna go in here?”  PJ asks.

“I’ve never been in there.”  I quickly respond.

“Really?  Let me run across the street and get the key.  This place is a total gem.  You’re gonna loooove it.”

PJ’s takes the padlock off  and opens the door.  I make my way towards the barn. I carefully place the old, rusty (aka vintage) gas can down along with the white spindles.  My picks from the corner barn.

“Check out that cash register!”  Grace exclaims.

I see Billy bend over to take a look.”Wowzer!”

“That is money!”  Grace quips and laughs at her own self.

I step into the barn.  There is junk piled high.  I feel like I am on American Pickers.

I look to the right as soon as I am inside.  There on the floor is an old, giant cash register.  The one with the keys so big, it takes all your strength just to push it down.  I can hear the old fashioned “cha ching” as I marvel at it’s age.

“Billy Boy!  You ever been up here?”  Pj shouts.

“Nope.  I don’t think I’ve ever been in here and I’m not sure I wanna go up there.”

“Sure you do! Come on girls.”

Slowly we all, Hannah, Grace, Megan, Billy and I climb over boards and beams and boxes and make our way to another rickety door that PJ has just unlocked.

The stairs are sprinkled with hay.  When we arrive at the top of the stairs, with the dim light of two broken windows, we can make out boxes and hay and a few old catalogs.

“Watch out for critters, girls.”  Billy warns.

“PJ, this is sooooo cool.”  I say as I begin to lift up boxes and old sacks.  I’m not quite sure what I am looking for but I know I want to look.  Curiosity is alive in the old barn.

“I don’t like it up here.”  Megan lets out.

“Come on Meg, this is GREAT!”  PJ, ever the optimist, tells her.

“Whoo!  Look at this!”  Billy turns over a box, shakes out the cobwebs and hay and who knows what else.  We see the side of what was an old shipping box.  Meanwhile, Hannah has made her way through the hay, careful not to hit her head on the original wood beam that runs smack in the middle of the loft.  I turn around to see Hannah kicking boxes, warning any critters that humans are hers.  Slowly she brushes hay off of the pile and finds another box with writing.

“Mom, check this out!”

It’s a box with writing.  In our ten minutes up here, we’ve decided the boxes with writing are the gems.  The box she has just found is for Burt Olney’s Ketchup.

“PJ, can we have this one?”  img_7929


“It’s for Burt’s Olney Ketchup!  Look at how they spell Olney – the spelling is the same as the street I grew up on!  It wasn’t until I was in sixth grade that I finally realized that the word only was spelled o – l – n – y NOT o – l – n – E – y.”

PJ chuckles and my own family laughs at my childhood silliness.

We continue picking.  Billy finds some old tins and an old cigar box.  I find some tattered wood frames.

The stories these boxes and tins hold are a mystery but we have created our own story up in the loft sifting and searching.

PJ carrying 15 year old Grace on the Interpretive Trail. Ripton, Vt


5 thoughts on “Hancock, VT – Barn Pickers”

  1. I felt that same sense of curiosity while I was reading this. I like how you never really set the scene for where we were or who PJ was. It felt like I was rummaging around the story, looking for clues along with you. PJ must be related to you. He has the same optimism and openness to whatever is under the next scrap of hay. The sketches are amazing, too…very Ernst-esque. ( not just Ernst-ish).

    Liked by 1 person

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