A Christmas "Thank You" to all the Farmers by Debbieby Embrace Country Life on 12/25/13
If you read the "About Us" section of Embrace Country Life, you know that both sets of Cliff’s grandparents owned dairy farms in PA. His parents were raised on dairy farms and they worked hard every day to keep the farms up and running. Cliff’s dad started milking cows when he was seven years old. He was responsible for a certain number of cows. He had to wake up at 4:30 every morning and milk his cows before school. Then, after supper, he had to go out and milk them again.
Cliff’s mom was the oldest of seven children. She and her sister took turns helping Cliff’s Grandpa and his uncles in the barn. When she did not go to the barn, she helped grandma with the cooking and cleaning in the house. The girl who stayed in the house also did the homework. The one who helped with barn chores that evening copied the homework by flashlight in the girls’ bedroom. Cliff’s mom told a story that one night Grandpa went out to the barn to check on a sick cow. Upon returning to the house he saw a light flickering in the girls’ bedroom. He was very upset that the girls were not sleeping, as he knew the girls needed to get a good night’s sleep to stay healthy.
Dairy farms are open 24-7; there are no vacation days, no snow days, no holidays. Chores had to be done every day. Needless to say, it could be a hard life at times but if you talk to any of Cliff’s relatives today, there is nothing but good times remembered.
Over the years, when Cliff and I (and even the girls) have mentioned to people that we live on a hobby farm, the reactions have ranged from inquisitiveness to disparagement.
“You shovel what?” some people would say. Others would say, “Doesn’t it smell?” One particular comment led Cliff to retell a story of his father.
Cliff’s dad grew up on a farm with seven siblings. It was a treat to go anywhere back then. They lived simply. Milking cows, shooting deer in the pasture for meat and harvesting corn for their suppers was their way of life. On one special occasion, Cliff’s grandfather got tickets to the circus for their whole family. I can only imagine the excitement of the children! The family dressed up in their Sunday’s best and headed into town. They found seats for their family next to a “well-to-do” woman.
Looking at them all, she said very loudly, “Plagued old farmers!” Abruptly, she got up and left. That label and the emotion it evoked stayed with Cliff’s dad his entire lifetime.
This leads me to wonder why farming in general is often looked down upon in society? Some people would never step foot in a barn. If it weren’t for farmers, that well-to-do woman wouldn’t have had food to eat. We all wouldn’t. Farmers have the strongest work ethic out of all professions in my opinion.
As I sat at mass last night, Christmas Eve, I started thinking about farmers, and animals, and barns. It hit me that Jesus Christ, Himself wasn’t “too good” to be in a barn. He was born in a barn and laid in an animal’s manger. If a barn was good enough for sweet, baby, Jesus then it is good enough for me!
This Christmas, I would like to thank all the farmers who work tirelessly to put food on all of our tables every day of the year. Your effort doesn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated by all of us at Embrace Country Life!