The holiday season

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When I was a kid, the days and weeks leading up to Christmas seemed to pass as slowly as molasses flows on a cold day. Sleep was elusive, as I would lie in bed wondering, dreaming, hoping of what old St. Nick might leave under the decorated cedar tree. Now that I am far, far, far from being a kid, the same length of time elapses in the blink of an eye, and one Christmas is followed so quickly, by another.

The Christmases of my youth were filled with thoughts of the gifts I might receive. As the years passed and my life began to focus on my wife and two little boys, Christmastime was permeated with ideas of what I might give instead of receive. Now that I’m…er…well…old, this time of year allows me to look back and be so appreciative of what I have experienced through now, 71 Christmases.

I’m thankful I was blessed with two wonderful parents who worked extremely hard, through even harder times, to make sure that my two sisters and I never went to bed hungry and always had clean clothes. Neither the food nor clothing was fancy, but when you know you are loved and safe, does anything else even matter?

I’m just as thankful to have married a wonderful woman who has been right beside me for over 40 years, picking me up when I’ve been down and kicking me the many times I’ve gotten a little full of myself. In addition, she has given me two sons, who both, luckily, inherited their mother’s intelligence and good looks. I’m so proud of the both of them.

I have also been overly blessed by more good friends than anyone deserves: neighbors I can depend on for any favor, at any time, to hundreds of former students that still recognize me and never fail to say hello. I appreciate them more than they will ever know.

I am also overwhelmingly beholden to the many faithful readers that have followed me over the past 30 years from all across the country, and to the magazines and newspapers that have allowed me space on their pages. Not many people get to share their day-to-day happenings, their small triumphs, their stupid errors, and their innermost feelings with friends they’ve never met. 

So, during this most special time of year, my wish is for everyone to experience peace on earth and good will toward mankind.

Jerry Crownover is a farmer and former professor of Agriculture Education at Missouri State University. He is a native of Baxter County, Arkansas, and an author and professional speaker. To contact Jerry, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’

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