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Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Merry Christmas 

I always remember my grandfathers at this time of year for what they gave me, each in his own way, one gruff and the other gentle to a fault. They were from different parts of the world; one from Lillihammer, Norway and the other from Flint, MI. but they each had the same story of Christmas on the farm, a story told to them by their fathers and by their fathers before them for generations past.

Each year on Christmas Eve a farm owner would take special care that all the stalls and coups of the farm animals were provided with fresh, warm bedding straw and made dry and protected from draughts. Christmas morning before Yule breakfast all the animals were given a special treat of their favorite food along with their usual portion. It was said that this ritual was in observance of a special day but as my grandfathers were not long on ritual or observance I suspect that this activity was more chironomy than ritual. They acted more out of habit than any special observance of the day because they were farmers, providers, fathers and care givers. They had the habit and understanding of husbandry for the animals, who worked beside them, provided for them and sometimes died for them. Farming is a partnership in labor for man and animal and respect with compassion for each partner. This is the understanding that my grandfathers gave me and I remember them for it

Next year will mark the the centennial year that my grandfather Russell homesteaded a farm in Canada.

  • Merry Christmas


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