Yesterday my parents lost their hay barn to an accidental fire sparked by an old piece of equipment.
It only took 45 minutes for a fire to blaze through its 110 wonderful years.
A barn is the first thing you build once you declare yourself a farmer. It holds years of different tractors and equipment. It shelters the livestock; from the newly born to the old and worn. It witnesses the success and failures of a hard working family and absorbs occasional curse words so The Man Upstairs won’t hear them. It’s a workshop, a lunch station, and a warm place for kitten naps. It’s where the lessons of hard work and their reward are taught to the next generation. The backstop for overthrown baseballs and backboard of iconic heartland basketball. It’s the last light the farmer turns out before they stroll that quiet, moonlit walk back up to the farmhouse for dinner. The barn represents the steeple to the hallowed ground a farmer prays for God to bless every night.
We are thankful to report that no one was hurt, but no farmer in the twilight of their career should ever have to watch their barn burn to the ground. Let alone the kindest, most generous, hardest working one of them we know. My dad Richard Schildmeier. A 78-year-old farmer with the calloused hands and heavy heart to prove it. Our father grew up on that piece of farmland, eventually buying it from his father. That barn was standing there through it all. Our parents need some help right now. There are a lot of old parts, rusty nails, sharp edges and hazards to clean up and insurance isn’t being kind. We’re asking for help to guard them against the emotional stress and the physical difficulties that come from picking through the ash and rubble.
Our goal is to raise enough money to help cover the costs of removing the debris, replacing equipment, and rebuilding the barn.
If you’ve ever appreciated the big white barn that lights up in the sunset between the fields of corn off South Post Road, Indianapolis this could be your time to thank the farmer and his wife who kept that stretch of road so beautiful all these years.