A Holly Jolly Christmas
Sabrina Ruetz, age 10, Teeswater
Why we like it: The date on this story is left ambiguous; to me it feels like it could be early 20th century, although it could also be a present-day small farm. The story shows a happy family going about their normal duties on the farm. The excitement of a new birth on Christmas Eve is portrayed clearly.
“Ella, I don’t think that your snow’s going to melt,” said Dad on Christmas Eve morning as his daughter came up beside him. “Add three feet of snow from yesterday and four feet over night, and you get what?”
“A lot of snow!” exclaimed Ella.
“It’s still storming and we can’t see anything, Dad. How are we going to get down to the barn?” asked Ella’s older brother Jacob.
“I was going to use the rope from the garage and tie it to the house. If I get lost I can follow it back to the house. When I reach the barn I will attach it to the barn and then you guys can just follow the rope.” Ten minutes later Dad was setting off along the snow finding his way to the barn. Jacob was standing there at the rope waiting impatiently until they could start.
“When can we start?” asked Ella impatiently.
“I think we can now that the line has stopped moving” said Jacob. They started following the rope to the barn, only being able to see a couple feet in front of them. When Ella and Jacob got to the barn Dad was standing there waiting for them.
“How’s Daisy?” they chorused and ran to the calving pen. Daisy was their pregnant cow and was due to calf any day now.
“She’s going to calf soon,” Dad said joining them in the pen.
“I can’t wait,” said Ella
“I know you can’t,” Jacob said with the roll of his eyes. They stayed in the pen until the cows started bawling for food. Dad started the feeding while Ella and Jacob checked all the cows. When Dad was done feeding they started the milking. Ella cleaned the teats while Jacob and Dad milked. When they were almost done Ella left to go and take care of the calves. Once all the milking was done they headed up to the house. For the rest of the day they did whatever. Ella finished making Christmas cards, Mom wrapped presents, and Dad and Jacob watched a movie. When 5:00 came they started the same routine as in the morning, feeding, milking, then feeding the calves. They checked on Daisy over and over again. Like last night they ate supper after they came up then all went to bed.
“Can you carry that bag?” whispered Grace.
“Sure,” said Dad. It was 11:30 on Christmas Eve. They were putting out the presents for Christmas morning.
“I’m just going to go and check on Daisy.” Dad said.
“Don’t worry. I will be fine, just go to bed.” Dad started to put on his coat and Grace headed upstairs. Grace heard the door closed and sat there waiting for him to return. She waited and waited. By now it had been half an hour since he had left and she was starting to worry. She accidentally fell asleep waiting.
Meanwhile down in the barn, “Come on Daisy you can do it, push,” coaxed Dad. “Yes you can do it, push, a little more. Yes, that’s a good girl.” There on the floor was a little baby calf. The calf looked quite healthy. He went to go and get more straw for the calf. When he came back, though, the calf didn’t look so good. 10 minutes later he was pushing the calf across the snow. The calf was wrapped in a blanket.
The next morning when the kids came downstairs at 7:00 they yelled, “Dad why didn’t you wake us for chores?”
“Your father is outside doing the chores. He wanted you to sleep in on Christmas and he thought you would never get down to the barn once you saw what is in the mud room.” said Mom smiling. The siblings ran to look.
“Oh Mom the calf was born!” they exclaimed. There looking up at them were the cutest eyes ever. Ella and Jacob walked up to the calf and started petting it. “But why is it in the house?”
“This little one wasn’t looking so good after a short while after she was born. Dad figured it was too cold for her so he brought her up after he milked Daisy. We wrapped her up in some old blankets, fed her and is looking much better this morning.”
“What should we name her?” asked Ella.
They all decided on the name Holly for Christmas. They said it was the best Christmas present ever.