My son, Elihu, is colorblind. It’s not merely a case of confusing red for green. He sees no color at all. However he is keenly interested in color; as a prolific artist he seeks to use color as accurately as possible. He knows the colors, shades and nuances of every bird without being able to see them for himself. His love of birds is a great motivator. He has simply memorized them all.
When it came time to choose a color to stain our new chicken coop, I’d thought I’d like a lovely dark gray, a color I’d hoped would create the likeness of cedar weathered by the seasons. And I had to include my child in the decision, even if he didn’t see color for himself. So I told him my plan, my objective. It was met with fevered and immediate disapproval. “It’s a barn! It needs to be red!” I offered that he couldn’t see the difference, so really, what did it matter? “What good is having a barn if it isn’t red?” he continued, near tears. “A red barn is a cozy barn! Everyone knows that!” Ok. I was the one who would have to adjust. So I did. I bought a gallon of semi-transparent stain in barn red.
But the bucket of paint sat unopened for several months as I continued to postpone what appeared to be a bigger project than I’d first thought. Thankfully, in the very nick of time a solution presented itself. Yesterday, a classmate of Elihu’s came over for a play date. His father is a painter. Before his father left, I asked if he might be able to help me with the project, as the mild temperatures seemed to be fleeting and the coop needed to be sealed before the snow came. In fact, he could – the next couple of days would work fine. And his brother might be available too. We went online a made a quick check of the weather. Mid to high 40s through the week. Just in time.
When I went to purchase more stain today (I was advised we’d need more), the man at the counter strongly advised against it, as it was now too cold for staining outside. To make things a bit dicier, the paint department was out of the stain I’d wanted. All they had left was the top of the line stuff. I assured him I knew what I was doing and gave him the go ahead to mix up the fancy stuff. I could only afford one gallon. If it wasn’t enough, the rest of the project would have to keep until spring.
By the time I pulled into my driveway this morning with the extra gallon of stain, the men were here, ready to work. Inside of two hours the coop was finished. Two gallons had turned out to be just enough. Standing back and taking it in I was thoroughly pleased. Barn red was perfect! And now I think that gray might well have looked tired, cold – a bit uninviting.
Elihu, hat’s off to you, my little colorblind son. I agree; a red barn is a cozy barn.