The old shed next to our barn was a no-frills zone built only of studs and clapboard. Its purpose was simple: to keep tools and equipment dry. There was no insulation, so it wasn’t a focal point for the men in either the summer or winter. Except for rainy days, the top section of the Dutch door remained open for much of the year, and the shed attracted a mix of field mice, barn cats, and knock-around boys. I was one of them.
There was the sweet smell, a mixture of hay and oats. Oil and kerosene were stored outside, and a gust of wind would blend it all together into one fine bouquet. As a kid trying to figure out the world, I’d grab a bottle of soda and spend hours just checking out what kind of things were in there and puttering around. My time in the shed was never wasted.