From as early as I can remember, I was on your heels. I would beg you to wake me up so I could go milk cows with you. It was magical. You were the right hand of God in my eyes. A tall, weathered man , with gentle hands and overalls. You always sucked in air between gritted teeth and a furrowed brow before commenting on anything. Lord knows I asked you plenty of questions. I know this because Wesley is my mini me and he wears me out with the why’s and how’s.
We would walk to the barn and I would carry the milking pail. You taught me to first go in through the feedroom and throw some feed into the bin where the heifer would be stocked. There was this cool little trap door that was right above the feed bin and it made the BEST hiding and seek spot. Then you would holler out “suuuuu cow! Sooie! Sooie!” The old girl would walk right in and we would put her calf up in the stall.
I still remember the first time I was successful in milking a cow. You let me sit on your right knee and placed your hand over mine and the milk hit the pail in two jets. Rhythmically as you altered right hand, left hand, right hand. We made butter from that pail and you made me a big milkshake once the milk was ready. It was so worth it.
When I got older, you taught me to mark the calender for when a new calf was due to be born. I watched that day come and go as the heifer was preparing to labor. The calf was too big and you just knew…so you webt to help. Me and grandma watched as you sat on the ground and repositioned the calf in the birth canal. You didn’t have much education but you knew how to turn a calf for it to slip on out and you showed me how to check for the position of the baby and make sure momma was progressing.
You taught me to love. You taught me that , even though I was a girl, I was a farm girl. I just got it.
You also taught me to say goodbye.
You taught me that ultimately , even though we love them, cows have a purpose…they are either beef or dairy so you have to live with that. God made them for a reason. Love them and give them a good life ……then let them fulfill their purpose.
This year you left. I was not ready. You knew the boys were getting a moo cow of their own. You told me to get a Jersey because they were just gentle animals. I told you the day before you died that i needed help with them. I needed someone to teach the boys what you taught be but then you left.
We brought two pretty heifer calves home Saturday. They are both out of a Jersey bull. One has a jersey mom and one a Holstein mom. They are fine animals. You would like them. The boys have your ways. Connor went up to them like he had fed a cow every day of his life. I guess you we’re holding his hand.
Wesley says that you would like them. I think you helped me pick them out because they sure are pretty.
Tonight, I put the boys to bed and fed them alone. Usually Wesley helps but he crashed early. It was so quiet. I heard an owl but nothing else. I fed both girls and just loved on them. I felt you there with me which propelled me to write this letter.
I hope you are proud of our choices in calves. The boys are going to make you so proud. Wesley misses his “big Papaw” and God only knows how much I miss you.
I know you, mom, David’s dad , grandma and grandma Mary are going on and on about how big the boys are and how cute the calves are. Their noses are so cold, wet and cute.
I miss you.
You were suppose to be here for this.
I’m pretty lucky to have the angels I have.