The Old Mill Farm Store Barn, on River Road is 85 foot long and 30 foot wide, has
proudly stood in service to a multitude of hard working owners and their customers
for almost 100 years.
The old barn now leans as if it is an elder statesman on a cane.
Some areas bow out, some bend in, some planks on the bottom of it are rotted out.
It sports graffiti, like a tattoo, dating back 30 years.
This barn has seen many generations and decades of the Cottage Grove's history pass by,
and in these years this stately barn has seen a lot of wear, but this
holiday season it has a new style.
This Christmas something special took place at the barn.
The owners, Debbie and Chuck, hung miles of Christmas lights on its tall peaks and
along its paint worn sides. Yes, the barn has a new look a majestic look,
as if a woman in her 80's was adorning herself with all her "best" jewelry.
Inside the barn it is immaculate.
Hay and grain are stacked in tidy-orderly piles.
The occasional friendly cat walks in and out to greet the customers.
Inside the store, Smidge, the store's soft tawny cat is holding court on top of a row of
guinea pig and mice cages. Smidge is "hired" to keep the mice in the barn at bay.
He purrs and walks back and forth on top of the rodent cages entertaining the children
conveniently out of thier reach.
He reminded me of a chef checking his lobsters.
Every now and then Smidge will stop and stare straight down into one of the rodent cages
as if to say, "In case no one noticed, there are mice in this store!"
The next time you may see Smidge he may be up at the cash register taking one
of the toy mice, that are for sale, out of a container.
He reaches in with a long-soft tawny arm, hooks a mouse with a claw
and pulls it out to play with. Smidge must think the jar filled with cat toys
is his pay for barn services rendered.
If you have not seen the Old Mill Barn drive by it this week and enjoy the history
it proudly displays.
Cottage Grove is a town with mind-freeze-frames of the past.
Take a walk into the past, and feel the pulse of this quaint old town.