The Open Doors of Storybook

On a plateau in the Missouri Ozarks, a 1880s barn named Storybook has a reputation for catching eyes and galvanizing the senses of all who step through its open doors.

Lined with native red cedar, Storybook’s interior provides a vaulted sphere of scented space. The scent, like an invisible elixir, tends to brighten the eyes and quicken the senses. The sound of creaky floors, the ears detect, as well as gusts of wind, doing what wind does to weathered cedar shakes.

Roused, too, is the desire to touch what’s old in its current form and place. Fingers brush along rough beams, rails, and doors with wavy window panes.

Facing south, a pair of pine doors, nine feet tall and nine feet wide, centers the back wall of the barn. Each door has twenty panes of old wavy glass, forty in all, through which warm sunlight floods the interior. Upon the wall, right next to the towering doors, a small plaque rests. As if hiding, the tiny plaque frames a quote in letters black on paper white:

“Be an Opener of Doors” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)Image credit: Bill Jefferson

The pithy quote draws discerning eyes and gives pause to guests who linger to mull the line’s collective meaning. At Storybook, we love to open doors and invite people into the 140-year old dairy barn.

Where cows once stood, dutifully in stanchions clamped, wedding guests and prom dates now dance to rhythmic tunes filling the remembered place of days gone by. Storybook’s interior of rough-cut oak and swaying beams evokes images of nineteenth-century settlers who eked out a way of life on the windswept Missouri plain.

The welcoming doors of Storybook Barn. Image credit: Gary Allman

Storybook Barn’s Rustic charm.

Storybook Barn at Twilight – the rear of Storybook Barn faces south. Image credit: Gary Allman

In structures lit by window pane and candlewick, they came to grips with sparsity and the utter necessity of hard work. From their pioneer work, a sense of personal and communal worth arose. The adventure of the frontier offered its own reward, the satisfaction of life lived with meaning, purpose, and faith that crops would yield their bounty.

This lasting legacy undergirds the very mission and ethos of Storybook. Storybook is more than a venue in a popular area of venues; it’s an event space, where stories of worth are woven into time.

Storybook Barn Near Springfield Missouri, lit up at night,
Storybook Barn. Copyright © 2019 417 Photo Works, all rights reserved.

Two words, a pair, like the wings of a bird, guide all that takes place at Storybook. Aspirational and inspirational—that’s the coupling of words with the warmth of meaning.

They live on in the scented sphere of Storybook, where a tiny plaque on a large wall beckons all to “be an opener of doors.”

Bill Jefferson
Author | Owner | Storyteller

Lead image credit: 417 PhotoWorks.

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