SMOKING IN THE BARN
BY VIRGIL GREGOIRE
I think I was about 7-8 when there were men at our farm tiling the fields to drain the flooding low land into the dredge ditch. It’s the ditch north of the farm. Some of the men smoked and Marvin and I watched them, fascinated. We decided to try smoking, too. The tilers slept in the barn and laid their cigarette papers and other belongings on a crate or box thing. We snuck into the barn where they slept and stole some cigarette papers. Then we got some corn silks to put in them to smoke. We took matches from somewhere, either from the house where there were always matches laying around to light the stove, candles, lanterns or from the tiler’s crate. We took our homemade cigarette up to the haymow where dad wouldn’t catch us and lit it and smoked it together.
When dad came into the barn, he could smell the smoke and he caught us in the act. He took the cigarette from us and put it out so none of the ashes would start the hay in the barn on fire. Then he paddled our butts right there and gave us a lecture on how we could have burned the barn down. Mom never said anything to us so I don’t think he told her because she would have said something to us.
Header photo is June, Virgil and Marvin Gregoire around 1917. Click on the link below to see each brother’s Ancestry profile.