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I’ll Show You a Barn Dinner


Agrarian life runs in my blood…My mom’s whole side of the family are farmers. As a child, I can remember the hour drive to visit my grandmother and relatives in Salem, Ohio and thinking it must be in another state or something; it seemed so far away. It did transport me in a way though. You could see for miles across rolling fields with fluffy clouds overhead. I loved wide open spaces then and I love them now.

I returned this past weekend to my Uncle Bill’s farm (pictured left) for the marriage of his grandchild, and my 2nd cousin, Emilie. Bill has since past but his children have honored his legacy by preserving the farm just as he left it…immaculate. Bill’s son-in-law and Emilie’s father, Rusty, gave the opening toast. Standing in the center of the barn, he stood behind his daughter at the bridal table with one hand on her shoulder, the other clutching the microphone. He recalled the first time he came to pick up his now wife for their first date and the impression the farm left upon him as a young man, and farmer. Even now, year’s later after seeing many barns, he has never seen a more orderly and clean barn as Bill’s. And today, it looked dressed and ready for a Sunset magazine feature on barn dinners. For an entire month leading up to the wedding, family members came together in preparation transforming the working barn into a rustic dining hall. Every square inch was pressure washed and the basement floor was finished with a new layer of concrete where the cows bed in the winter. The wood beams gleamed with a sawmill freshness and the structure stood proudly like the tin man after getting polished in the Wizard of Oz. The 100 year old barn didn’t look a day over 10.

We felt a little like the Kennedy’s! But unlike the Hamptons, it was as much a community celebration as it was a wedding. The bridal party arrived on a horse-drawn wagon to the cheers of family and friends – live the moment and watch this short video: Our heritage is Slovenian so no wedding would be complete without a few polkas. My mom and her sisters have been polkaing in barns before it was fashionable. As their partners swung them across the dance floor, huge smiles shown across their faces knowing that their brother, Bill, was looking down from heaven and clapping his hands with the music. My parting shot…dancing late night with my 84-year old Aunt Dorothy (pictured below, yes she really is 84!!) to Party Rock Anthem. She could do a pretty good shuffle 🙂


Right Picture:My Mom (center) and her two sisters, Margie (left) and Dorothy (right). Left Picture: The barn ready for the reception