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CINDY DAY: Memories of Christmas on the farm

Cindy Day
Cindy Day - Contributed

Christmas is the most magical time of the year, but somehow, we manage to get stressed out over just about everything: what to buy for whom, if the house is clean enough for the guests,  if there’s enough baking in the freezer, parties, calories, lights … the list is endless.

I’m no different than anyone else. It’s very easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle but I have found a memory that takes me away from all of that — my walks from the farmhouse to the barn with Dad on Christmas morning. It wasn’t a long walk but it was very special.

It always seemed to be quite cold on Christmas morning. The snow made a high-pitched squeak as we walked down the lane — sending music notes echoing across the fields. There wasn’t another sound for miles. More often than not, the sky was so clear you’d swear you could reach up and touch the stars that sparkled like diamonds. I remember wondering if I could ever find the star of Bethlehem? There was no time for that, we had to get inside and start feeding and milking. Dad would swing open the old barn door and for a brief moment we were wrapped in a puff of steam. I remember on one occasion, it was so cold that the moisture from the warm air rushing out to greet us froze into little balls on my eyelashes. As soon as the steam cleared, we stepped inside — like we had done a millions times before — but things seemed different on Christmas morning. The barn was quiet, warm and peaceful. Dad had made sure to put extra straw under the calves before heading to the house Christmas Eve.  I always felt that somehow, the animals could sense that it was a special day.

After chores, the walk back to the house was special, too.  Dad and I would try to guess how cold it was. Dad had taught me to estimate the air temperatures by listening to the pitch of the squeak the snow made as we walked along: the higher the pitch the colder the air. The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree!

Back inside, Grandma was busy helping mom get the Christmas dinner ready but she took lots of little breaks in order to share some of her Christmas weather lore with anyone who would listen.

Grandma liked sunshine as much as the next person, but she was never too pleased when it was sunny on Christmas Day.  Here’s her little rhyme: as the hours of sun on Christmas Day, as many frosts will be in the month of May.”  So, not too much sun but some snow was always welcome. Grandma believed that snow on Christmas night was a sign that the crops would do well the following season.  

The crops were not always good and there were lean times on the farm, but we always had great food, lots of laughs, wonderful stories and each other. Today, I feel blessed to be filled with such wonderful memories. I still go for that peaceful stroll to the barn with my dad on Christmas morning. The weather has changed and we don’t always have snow underfoot but the goose bumps I get when I step into the barn are still there.

My Christmas wish for you is to rekindle a fond holiday memory and share it with your loved ones … Memories make Christmas magical.

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