Diane Prather: A comprehensive community Christmas card

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Diane Prather

This author can remember a Christmas Eve tradition when she was growing up with her family on the ranch.

After enjoying our Christmas Eve oyster stew and the dishes were cleaned up, we gathered around the dining room table again.

It was time to open the Christmas cards.

Mom had the stack of cards in front of her, and she opened them, one by one, reading the Christmas greetings and letters. Then the cards were passed around.

Some of the cards were from family and friends who we heard from only at Christmas.

Today, there are perhaps more Christmas greetings sent via e-mail than by regular mail, but the Christmas card is still an important part of the holiday tradition. Cards are still sent to family and friends. Businesses send out cards to thank their customers for their patronage.

And, many of us reflect on the year, remembering those who have helped us in some way or those who were especially kind.

Consider those Christmas cards that might be sent out from people in the agricultural community, for example.

They might include cards to:

• The people at the feed store who load our pickup trucks with grain, mineral blocks, milk replacer, cat and dog food, baler twine, and more.

• The veterinarian who got up at 3 a.m. to deliver a calf and who stitched up that bad cut on a horse’s leg so that he was as good as ever.

• People at the local Extension Office who answer questions about nasty bugs and weeds, help 4-H kids, and arrange workshops on everything from beetles to home canning.

• The neighbor who pulled us out of the ditch on that spring day when the county road was melting and extra slick.

• The trucker who transported our livestock to the auction barn.

• The brand inspector who is out from the early morning hours to dark, especially in fall, and who braves cold, mud, snow and rain to inspect our livestock.

• The leaders and other volunteers who donate their time to help with 4-H and FFA activities.

• The fencers who stretched wire, put in posts, and set up fence that was down on the ground, getting summer pasture ready.

• The passerby who stopped on the county road to help head off some cows who were headed the wrong way.

• The person who called with a sighting of two cow/calf pairs and a bull, all of which had evaded fall roundup.

• The neighbor with the tractor-pulled snowblower who helped us dig out from a spring blizzard.

• The people who took care of our chores during the National Western Stock Show.

• The people at the implement dealership who opened up on the Fourth of July to find a part for the baler.

• The mechanic who worked overtime to fix the pickup truck so badly needed for hauling bales of hay to the cows.

• The people at the auction barn who worked their hardest to get good prices for our calves.

• The propane man who delivered fuel on Thanksgiving.

• All of the people who bought 4-H and FFA livestock during the Junior Livestock Sale during the fair.

• The neighbor who helped put the fence back up after the bulls got in a fight.

• The rancher who called to let us know that there were two ewes and lambs across the fence from their pasture.

• Ranchers who helped with roundup by loading up their stock trailers and moving our cows home.

• The newspaper reporters who cover agricultural news.

And greetings go out to all of you! Have a wonderful Christmas!

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