Focus on the good things

This is the time of year that invokes a lot of memories and nostalgia. There are times when we need to put aside the worries of the world, the hustle and bustle, and all the clutter to just take some time to remember. It’s so easy to just go along from day to day, week to week and not remember. December is one of those months with mixed memories for me. My oldest brother, killed by a drunk driver, was buried on December 2, 1965. December 2 is also my mom’s birthday. Dad died prematurely in 1989 on December 4th. But the memories are not all bad. This is just part of life and we all live it and experience it. The holidays seem to bring about the most emotion of any time of the year. Focus on the good things.

Seems like a lot of things happened on the farm in the Ohio December weather. No global warming in Northeast Ohio. Decembers were cold and snowy back in the day. It was a time when my Dad was the busiest. He owned a gas and oil company and delivered fuel oil for heating to people’s houses. Winter marked the beginning of very long hours. I would go with him. Even as a young boy, my job was unspooling the hose that went to the tanks. I was also responsible for winding it back up while Dad would make the bills out for the people. Often Dad would get called out during the night by people who ran out of heating oil. More often those calls were the non-paying types. Years later, we found out that Dad had over $20,000 worth of wholesale fuel that he had given to people who couldn’t afford it. That was big money at the time.

Sometimes we had time to play. Dad would hitch up the horses to the sled and we would go on a long ride through the farm, loading on some fire wood for the milk house pot belly stove—that kept the water pump from freezing up during the cold days and nights. We always needed water for the livestock. And if the pump did freeze up, we carried water from the pond, which was about 100 yards from the barn. Set out with an axe and a couple of buckets and trudge through the deep snow to the pond. Use the axe to cut enough of a hole in the ice to fill the buckets and trek back to the barn. It took a lot of trips to water the eight or so cows we wintered and usually about 16 horses. We were ready for bed early!

We had this champion Quarter Horse stallion named Hollywood. Saturday afternoons when Dad was finished with his fuel oil routes, he would saddle up Hollywood and take him for a ride around the farm. Sometimes Dad would tie a rope to the scoop shovel handle and I would sit in the shovel while he and Hollywood pulled me at a gallop through the snowy field. That was better than any snowmobile! These are memories long lost on today’s generation. And they are not that long removed, but they are far removed from computers and cell phones and all that comes with them. It is the time of the year for family and memories and to take the Apostle Paul’s advice found in Ephesians 5:20, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Focus on the good things.

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Bill Wilson