Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: Thankful
There is a cold breeze out of the north here, today. It remains dry, which no one seems to mind as much in the winter months. The calves are all weaned and getting on feed. The chores take longer, and the days are shorter.
We are certainly aware of all that is happening in the world. The uncertainty, and the chaos.
But, nearly a year into what has been a nonstop mess, I am immensely thankful.
We have been too busy getting calves weaned, doctoring a few, adjusting rations and double checking headcounts to get overly wrapped up in current events. We are laying in feed, fixing things that are broke, and running to town to grab parts. We have hunters bugging us eight days out of seven, with thirty-point buck stories every noon and every evening.
It’s not that we aren’t aware of what is going on. Oh, we are. We catch a glimpse here and there, and we occasionally watch the news, with a heavy grain of salt. We converse with our friends and relatives who live in other parts of the world, and we know it’s not a pretty picture.
But, we have a full schedule of everyday tasks that make up our life, and our livelihood. Water needs hauled, cows need fed, the caker needs a new belt before we can use it again. A third of our contracted corn just fell through. Payments are due and we know what we have in the bank to stretch and pull to cover them all.
In the house, we are in that very serious of time year with young kids when the fall décor is being replaced with what my husband considers a stifling amount of Christmas cheer. There has been a lot of lobbying on the kids part to get a tree in each of their rooms this year. Odds are they will get their wish on that front.
Our lives are full. It isn’t all positive, rosy and easy. But, we are busy with the simultaneously simple and intricately complex nature of our occupation. There is no time to riot, no time to wallow, no time to stop and become overwhelmed at what happens next in our country.
We have to concentrate on the daily tasks at hand to ensure things don’t unravel down the road, just as we have always had to do. We need to find more corn, and that caker still isn’t running. Thanksgiving is going to result in a couple days where nothing gets done.
We pray at each meal, and again before bed. For our neighbors, our families, our nation, and that the truth comes to light. We have our opinions on just about everything, backed with our personal research, and we’re happy to share them if someone should ask. But, we aren’t spending our days out leveraging them on other human beings. We are far more interested in figuring out what we are going to do next spring if it stays dry and we don’t grow any grass.
In a year where seemingly everything requires twice the effort for half the return, I am thankful for the honest, sometimes hard work that goes into crops and cattle. For an occupation that survives the storms of life and humanity far better than most.
It seems no one has much leftover grass or extra cushion in their pocket book as we near year’s end. But, we do have food, shelter, family and security to a degree most people cannot even imagine. It makes for a priceless combination, and that is worth remembering as we enter the holiday season.
I was tired, driving home from Pierre that warm May afternoon in 1971, tired but happy. My second daughter, Jacqueline Kay had been born that morning. I spent most of the day holding her before…