The hay barn was the first structure you came to after entering the front gate. It was usually full the bales of fescue and bags of sweet feed. This was all necessary to get the cattle and horses through the cold mountain winters. To this day, I can remember that sweet smell of the hay and sweet feed when you entered the barn.
All was well until the Friday afternoon we arrived to find the hay barn burned to the ground. As Daddy and Stanbury stood there surveying the smoldering remains, Daddy said, “It must have been struck by lighting. You said there was a storm last night. No doubt the hay fueled this.”
Stanbury, shuffled his feet, and in his halting country voice added, “That and the still in the back.”
Daddy turned to him, “Still? What still? Liquor still, seriously?" Thankfully, Daddy was more amused than upset.
“Yep, and there was a full barrel sweet mash in there. Just finished it.” Stanbury looked at Daddy, “Where’d you think your mash came from? Like I would trust the Juston’s 'shine, second rate stuff from that still they kept hidden in the woods?”
Daddy just chuckled, “Well it was good stuff, but a bit expensive.”
“Why you say that, never charged you a dime for it.”
“Maybe so, but it cost me a barn.” Daddy smiled, shook his head, and continued, “Guess we need to rebuild it. This time without the still.”
Months later the barn was rebuilt. Stanbury continued to provide Daddy with a steady supply of sweet mash. And Daddy never asked where it came from. However, he enjoyed telling the story of his barn burning to the ground, the result lightening from the thunderstorm and white lightening from the still.