One-year anniversary


Kay Reminger, Leader Columnist

This past week has been one year since the fateful day when the trailers lumbered down our driveway and loaded up our girls, taking them away. A vivid memory of an event can be conjured up in a moment, just by turning the calendar, or a whiff in the air or a vague comment.

It was a rainy Monday morning and, I often thought since, my mood matched the weather that day. It was like the Lord was crying with me. I felt such a sense of loss and wandered around the rest of the day like I had lost. Lost something. Lost a connection. Lost organization. The cows had consumed us, structuring our days and nights. Now they were not there. I could not go in the barn for a while. The emptiness was depressing.

However, life does go on. We do have a new normal now, one that is so much more flexible. We never realized how much the herd took from us: our energy, our thought processes, our time. I connected with them on an emotional level. I know that sounds crazy for a non-farmer, but I was in tune with those girls, and my husband even more than me.

He knew when one was just a little off. Those cows hide nothing. They let you know when they have a bellyache, if their feet hurt, if they’re hungry, if they want to be milked, when they’re ornery, when they’re frisky, when they’re stubborn or when they feel a bit more accommodating. They speak without words.

The Shawano County Agricultural Society banquet held a while back was made up of mostly farmers. Looking around the crowd that night I felt a bit out of it, detached. I was no longer getting up, donning my barn duds and heading out to the barn, tilting my head back to gaze at the twinkling starts in the fresh, predawn morning like the rest of the farm wives there.

My dear sister-in-law Dianne reminded me lovingly, “Kay, you’re still a farmer!”

Yes. Yes, I am.

I am so thankful for our herd of Black Angus. There is life on the farm, and for that, I am grateful. They are beautiful animals. You could say I am prejudiced, for they are mine, but in all honesty, when I look at them I see black beauties dotting the vivid green of the pasture. Of course, there’s my Big Red. Sadly, however, his days are numbered. The date on the calendar says it’s so. I cannot think about that too much.

Just recently, we received with much anticipation, our first new Black Angus calf, born in the great out-of-doors, without any help whatsoever from my husband nor myself. It is sheer pleasure to be able to gaze out and see this little bitty black speck kicking up her heels in glee, right out there next to her aunts and uncles and momma.

Her mother was showing signs of freshening and my husband, ever the farmer, was watching intently. “That one’s gonna calve soon!” He kept telling me. The days went on, one after the other without any happy news.

One day, in the thick of yucky cool spring rains, where going outside sent one shivering, the little one made her appearance. Of course.

It took every ounce of willpower for my husband not to get out there and scoop her up, hauling her into the barn. To make him less anxious I declared, “Well, that’ll toughen her right up.” I had my doubts, and I’m sure I did not trick him one bit.

Lo and behold, the mother knew what mothers know and she took her babe and nuzzled and protected her, and now during these bright spring days the missy is looking rightly fine out there. She is a proud little thing. You know how they conduct themselves, those bold ones; upright and feisty, a nice straight back with head and tail held high.

Her mother was the main character of “Calf in the Cornfield,” a story about a little one that got away on us. This calf was born from a Holstein, one of our first Black Angus in our preparation to sell the herd. She had slipped under the fence one morning and ran like the wind. Now I gaze at Calf in the Cornfield’s calf and listen to my husband saying, “Look at her! She’s a runner!”

No doubt. It’s in the genes.

Ah yes, one year ago I felt lost and uprooted and out of sorts. Time has a way of making things right. Now? The new normal feels pretty much right at home.

(“It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ, He had His eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone.” Ephesians 1:11)