Tag Archives: sinking barns


My Dad is a man who can take people completely by surprise. He is a botanist who reads so much that he is well entrenched in history and many, many other things. At first impression he is seems serious, and rather intimidating, and it’s not just his bald head. πŸ™‚ He has that air of professor that demands respect, whether you know him or not, he has traveled to Europe, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, and has a wide knowledge of all these places. He gives lectures and discourses that are brilliant. I’m not saying that a man like this cannot have sense of humor, I’m just saying that it seems to take people completely by surprise. I remember that often he would participate in a church talent show and out he would stride in his black graduation gown and cap perched atop his head. No doubt the audience was expecting something intellectual, when suddenly his face would twist into the pure goofiness that we loved and off he would spout the beloved limericks that he had made up:

“There once was a great purple lizard
Who had an oversized gizzard,
Hungry for bones he ate hailstones
and Died of an internal blizzard”

Because of this he could often convince people of completely preposterous things. (he didn’t make a habit of it, just did it once in a while for a good joke) One day, not too long after he and my mom were married, they were driving through Oregon and my mother made a comment about all the barns whose roofs were sitting on the ground. My dad, seeing the perfect window of opportunity, launches in, “It’s the Oregon soil.”

“Oh?” she asks, keen on hearing more of this strange phenomenon.

“The properties of the Oregon soil (and I am sure here he rattles of some long scientific names) are such that, combined with the rain, allows for the barns to sink right into the ground. Oh, see? That one has just begun!”

I’m sure he was much more scientific than I just was because she believed him! Maybe she was blinded by love, but she still believed him. I don’t know how long he strung her along for, but it made the BEST family story. We still tease her about it today. I remember standing in mud up to my ankles, “Mom! I’m sinking! I’m sinking!” And every time we pass a broken down barn, “Hey mom! There’s a sunken barn!” My husband has even taken to referring to this phenomenon as the “sunken barn” phenomenon.

So should you come to Oregon to visit and see the barns fading into the soil, now you will know that truth. And for better, or worse, I think I have received some of his talents in the power of persuasion. heh. πŸ™‚


Filed under Family, Humor, Memory, Personal History