Still, it was a successful Thanksgiving, as measured in your editor’s favourite currency. He had planned to try to rescue an old tobacco barn from its quiet decay, using the strong backs of his own sons, and two of their friends.

Our old friend, Tommy, who has made his living for the last 60 years in farming and earth-moving, stopped by too, just to offer advice and encouragement.

“You puttin’ the hurtin’ on ‘em now…”, he said, watching the young men with their shovels and post-hole diggers.

When the holes were prepared, we toted 300-pound treated poles and planted them around the inside perimeter. The idea was simple; we were transforming a frame barn into a pole barn, supplanting the regular foundation with stout poles. The old upright oak posts had rotted at the sill; we bolted the new poles to them.

The project was a challenge. First, because management didn’t know what it was doing. Second, because labour had even less experience with labour. And third, because we were all lost in polyglot jargon of the building trades.

We barely know the difference between a joist, a sill, and a stud in English. Trying to communicate in three languages added an extra complication. All considered, we would have been flattered by anyone who called our crew ‘unskilled labour’.

Nevertheless, by the time we settled into our chairs for Thanksgiving dinner we were already feeling confident. The plan seemed to be working. Tobacco barns may be falling down faster than WWII veterans. But ours will not be among them.

By: Bill Bonner,