Howdy Friends! “Grandpop – The Week Between Christmas and New Year.”
It didn’t take long to find Grandpop. He usually spent the biggest part of mornings in the barn. Cold weather like this he’d rotate horses inside, “To keep it warm in here.” Every horse had its turn inside on furnace detail. A few of the older ones had the big box stalls in the back, and were in every night if cold was blistering. The others just came and went in their turns.
“Well son, ya here for the week or just a visit?” He greeted me from the far side of a heavily laden wheelbarrow. Without waiting for an answer he added, “you up ta dumping this for me?”
I should know better than to wander into the barn without work boots. But at that moment I realized, I just might never get a full grasp on life’s finer details. I probably would not have loaded the wheelbarrow as high either.
The manure pile laid a good fifty yards behind the barn. I was grateful snow was only a few inches deep. So were my dress shoes. And pants. “Next visit, coveralls and boots.” I promised myself. Again. Deep down there was no doubt Grandpop assigned me the two handled truck driving task just to tease me. And deep inside, I was happy he had.
Back in the barn I found Grandpop perched on a three stack high straw bale throne. Picking his teeth and grinning. “I figured I might need another trip, but when Ol’ Blue heard your car rumble in, well I stacked her up for ya.” He chuckled knowing I’d slip my way out and back on these leather soles. “So you’d only need ta make one trip.”
“Thanks, Grandpop.” My feet were soaked. But the equine furnaces had the barn tolerable, so I snared a bale, sat down, and dumped snow from my shoes.
Grandpop poured a cup of steaming coffee from his old dented Stanley thermos. That thing must be 30 years old by now. Handle’s been gone for more than a decade. Maybe two. I remembered the day I used my Barlow pocket knife to carve my initials in it. It was new then, and Grandpop worked hard to keep from laughing. But Mom and I saw right through him.
“So, ya here for a spell, or just a touch and go?” He asked.
“I might be able to stay ‘til New Years.” I caught his grin. “Not much going on, the family will join us tomorrow. That is if you have the room.” I added for fun.
“Funny thing about the week between Christmas and New Years.” Grandpop said.
“Well, the last few days or so, leadin’ up ta Christmas, everybody’s rushin’ this way and that. Buyin’ all sorts of stuff for folks they love, and for folks they don’t know, and those they only see that once a year.” He sipped his coffee.
I admitted I was one of them.
“Then everybody rushes around ta do whatever it is they do, Church, family gatherin’s, travelin’.” He paused. “I always love every minute of it.” He paused again. “Get a little sad though, I gotta admit, when I see Christ get lost in all the shuffle. But at any account, right up to that glorious day, folks are runnin’ full speed, and tuggin’ the world with ‘em.” He let go one of his great laughs.
“We’ve had some big time Christmas gatherings ourselves!” I said. “And there’s going to be plenty more.”
Grandpop nodded. “That’s true enough.”
He slid down from his straw-stack-throne, went to Blue. “Then, after all the hullabaloo dies down, folks drift apart. Go on back to their ‘busy’ selves, and the week between gets all extra quiet feelin’.” He tugged on Blue’s mane and shot a silly grin my way. “ ‘Til all the crazy of New Years Eve kicks up. And the gettin’ readies start all over again.”
“Yup, that’s about how it goes,” I agreed. Except I knew we were staying on until New Years day.
“Yes sir, this week, between Christmas and New Years, must feel plenty confused about itself. Not knowin’ if it’s comin’ or goin’.” Then he chuckled a good one, “I reckon it’s both!”
~Gitty Up, Dutch.