Christmas as a Grown Up

Clydesdales in the SnowThis time of year always stirs up memories of Christmas as we have known it over the years. Hopefully, these are some of your best memories. As we march on through time and our lives take those bends in the road, we tend to look at the holidays a little differently. We might find that those memories that we hold dearest and that warm our hearts the most are the very same ones that now cause us to stop and lament what is no more.

Memories that once held pure joy now hold a twinge of sorrow as we realize that times change and we are swept up in an inevitable progression. Our role changes as we move through childhood to young adult to parent and then onto being grandparents. We may long for the magic that centers around children – whether we are remembering our own youthful excitement, making that magic happen, or just watching it unfold. We may finally realize the effort and sacrifices our own parents made to be sure we had the best Christmas possible as we attempt to duplicate them. Mostly, we may just get a little lonely for that feeling when the immediate family was intact and under one roof for the big day. I know I do. What I wouldn’t do to have another Christmas with my mom, dad, grandmother and my 4 siblings all together again.

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Christmas is for Horses, too!

The gift is sweeter than that first kiss –
Seeing those looks of sheer wonder and bliss…

ChristmasWhile we are all running around trying to find the perfect present for our favorite people, let’s remember our other favorite friends and family members. Specifically, I want to talk about our horses. Horses don’t dream about a new halter, ropes or tack (unless it is a definite improvement in comfort over the present gear). Think they will adore a new set of spurs, crops, whips, or other items used to improve performance? Are they are wishing for a flashy bright neon colored feed or water bucket? Not likely. New brushes might be nice or maybe a new coat or blanket will be appreciated when the time comes. Mostly those are gifts to make you feel better and make it easier or more fun for you.

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A Little Cowgirl’s Christmas Wish

Christmas didn’t hold wishes for baby dolls or Barbies for me –
it was that big deluxe farm set I wanted to see under the tree!

visions of sugarplums

Visions of sugarplums

I always knew I was a country girl at heart, even though I grew up living in town. I loved those weekend visits to the farm – any farm –  and jumped at the opportunity to visit whenever it presented itself, even when I was very young.

I loved everything about the country. I could physically run free on what seemed to be endless acres while my imagination happily played out real life-in-the-country scenes. There were barns with hay lofts, corn cribs, rows of corn in the fields, fresh garden foods in the fruit cellars and homemade quilts on the beds. Everything about it appealed to my deepest sense of harmony. Most of all, I loved the animals. It seemed like there was always a batch of new kittens scurrying around, the family dogs ran at your side without leashes or restraints, the chickens roamed free-range and the cows were treated with care and respect. My cousins and I would climb over the wood fences and roll under the electric wires then make wild dashes across the field with our hearts pounding hoping to get to the other side before the bull figured out he could outrun us. Rides on the tractor, the hay wagon or in the back of the pickup were always a highlight but nothing compared to the rides on the old farm horse. Two or three of us would pile on and away we would go until we would slide off in a heap only to get back up and do it again.

One of my uncles lived on a farm but didn’t have horses. He knew that one of my greatest wishes  was to ride so he would do the next best thing and lead me around on his dairy cow, Knucklehead. Worked for me. In my mind, I was a cowgirl (literally).

Try as they might, my parents could never quite sissify me and I remain a proverbial tomboy to this very day. Luckily, I now am living the life I always dreamed of. My days are now filled with horses, dogs, cats and chickens.

If you know a little girl who loves that life as I did, who dreams of having a horse of her own, do both of you a favor and indulge her whims. It is not a passing phase, especially if horses are at the center of her fantasy. For those natural-born horse lovers, dolls, tea sets, ballet and ruffles will never hold a candle to pair of boots and anything even remotely related to horse stuff. If Santa is listening, he will skip the dolls section in the toy store  and go country.