AS WE motor through this life, most of us try to plan the route ahead. However, when driving beyond our local curves and hills we often find difficulty deciding which turn to take at the next intersection. Sure, we now have assistance with GPS, but while this is true for traveling through unfamiliar geography... when we want to keep a collectible car, a spouse, a house or personal stance close, we need to consider what moral map we should use. Stay with me here to see what I mean.

  Recently I had the pleasure of checking out a car collection owned by an acquaintance. I’d met Otto several years ago at our local American Legion. Since then I’ve had many great conversations with him about performance cars. So as time progressed he invited me to tour an automotive collection he had stored in his barn. After the invite, a lengthy time passed because of my own medical issues and those of both he and his wife... but we eventually agreed on a date and time for getting together.

 As I arrived at his place, his home, barn and outlying property startled me. You see, I have some family history as a hillbilly grown alongside a back road in the Appalachian Mountains.

Bountiful Barn Find!

Because of my heritage, when my friend said the cars were in his barn I pictured them to be a couple of dusty, rusted hulks covered by old quilts. You’ve seen these poor man car covers. You know blankets that have seen too many cold nights and days.

 However, this was not the case on that day. Otto’s house was expansive, his barn extensive... and his cars expensive. I was stunned.

Somewhat surprisingly, Otto met me dressed in dirty, greasy farmer’s coveralls and wore no shirt to cover his hairy shoulders. The man was smiling, chewing snoose and shuffling like many grain farmers who worked fields in the Dakotas. Otto was thus a fitting picture of a successful grain farmer or cattle rancher who had now retired and was rightly enjoying the fruits of his labor.

 Though he was indeed now retired, but not relegated to a rocking chair, he told me that he had an upcoming appointment later that afternoon. Still, he had an hour or so to give me a quick grand tour.

Touring through a farmer’s barn sometimes reveals more than livestock and machinery.