The Blue Building |

The Blue Building

            There is a large Quonset shop on my parents’ place that we called the Blue Building. This shop wasn’t really blue at all, in fact it was more of a faded green color, but we call it the Blue Building all the same. Most of the time it houses the equipment for the ranch, as well as an assortment of tools and three broken refrigerators that we used to store veterinary supplies in as they kept the mice out. To many, the Blue Building is just an ordinary shop on a ranch, but to me that building holds almost everything that made me the man I am today.

            Prior to owning an overhead cake bin, we used to buy cake by the bobtail truck load and pile it in a corner in the Blue Building. Hours were spent after school filling 5-gallon buckets with range cubes so that we could feed them out to the cows the next morning before the bus came to pick us up. One of the best things about getting cake this way was Grandpa letting us slide out of the truck on scoop shovels as he raised the hoist. Brotherly fights would break out filling buckets, but we learned to resolve our own conflicts before Mom or Dad had to get involved.

            As a 12-year-old boy I spent 1,400 hours with my dad and grandpa inside the Blue Building restoring a 1949 Minneapolis Moline tractor for a 4-H project. I learned lessons about mechanics and machinery that I still use to this day. Every spare hour I had was spent in that shop, packing bearings, wiring lights, honing cylinders and making once in a lifetime memories with the two most important men in my life.

            As I began to enter middle and high school, the Blue Building became a gymnasium. We would hook up a branding stove for heat, wheel the basketball hoop out of the corner and spend our Christmas break practicing free throws, though admittedly I must not have practiced enough given my shooting percentage, and post moves to improve our game. Probably the most fun we ever had was learning how to dribble without Tippy, the border collie, stealing the ball.

            The Blue Building was the spot to be for high school boys that needed to make their own fun. We built coyote cars, made a dance floor from scratch to be used at the prom, and would modify someone’s pickup when they needed a part changed. There was more frozen pizza ate and more pop drank inside the walls of that shop than any other place in the school district. We’d laugh, swap stories and try to hatch a plan to get the girls to go to the school dance with us.

            When the day finally came that I graduated, we had the biggest party in the Blue Building you can imagine. Pulled beef sandwiches, a DJ in the corner on a hay wagon, good friends laughing and sharing their plans for the future and friends and family from far and wide gathered together. While the party was for my graduation, every member of my class was there, and we had a ball together. It was one of those nights that you wished would never end.

            Every time I go back home and pull into the yard, I see the Blue Building standing there. With each passing year the paint fades a little more. There’s a patch on the wall where someone drove a loader into it, and the rollers on the overhead door squeak a little more than they used too. I wouldn’t trade the memories made in the Blue Building for anything, and I can only hope that my children will make some of their own memories in there too. That’s all for this time, thank God for the moisture, even if you had to shovel it out of your driveway, and keep tabs on your side of the barbed wire. God bless.

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Jade Meinzer

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