Throughout the year there are a lot of days to which I look forward, even though one of my good friends recently reminded me that, at my age, I should look forward to any day I can get out of bed.
For example, I eagerly anticipate the first new calf born each February because that signals the start of an exciting time here on the farm: cows calving almost every day, making sure mother and baby are fine, tagging the little ones, and even helping the few momma cows that need a little assistance. I also look forward to the last one to be born, hopefully sometime in April, but, more often than not, sometime in August.
I also relish the day when I climb into the tractor to begin mowing the first cutting of hay every spring, because that, too, is the signal for a new season and all of the optimism that accompanies it. Within a couple of months, however, I look just as forward to baling the last bale and putting the equipment away until the next year.
Of course, I am always apprehensive when I sell the calf crop in the late fall. After all, it’s the only payday I have for an entire year and you would think that day would be the one that stands out from all others, but it’s not.
No, the time that I savor more than any other is Christmas Day, and more specifically, Christmas morning. You see, for more than 30 years, that has been my happiest time because our family always gathers on Christmas Eve to enjoy each other’s company, partake of an immense amount of delicious snacks, watch a movie together (the same movie every year), and open presents. It makes for a tiring evening, but has always been a wonderful time.
On Christmas morning, I awake long before everyone else and get on my way to feed all the cows. With the coffee shop closed that day, I get an earlier start than the other 364 days of the year and find things in that perfect state of quiet and peace. I’m comforted by knowing that my children are safe under my roof again, even if it’s just for a couple of days. I’m also content to know that my wife is happy, as evidenced by her singing along with the Christmas music that was playing when I left the house as she begins to prepare the huge holiday meal. Now, it’s just me and the cows – with no hurried schedule or list of things to be done by days end, because it’s Christmas!
I take a leisurely pace as I arrive at each farm and unroll hay for the awaiting cows. Even they seem calmer with the absence of passing cars and normal noises. I usually give them a little extra and even find myself talking to them as I walk around the creatures. It’s truly a peaceful and enjoyable task and, for that one morning, I can quietly reflect upon the past years, and more fully appreciate the wonderful life I have had.
So, here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas. I hope that everyone can find their own peace, joy and contentment this holiday season.


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