Monday, December 1, 2014

Message in the Snow!

Snow still covered the fields, but the thawing spring temperatures quickly soaked the moisture into the ground.  Dad was in the milk barn, milking.  I had finished my chores of feeding and watering the cows, sheep and pigs.  I tromped out into the back pasture to leave Dad one final snow message.

Our Border collie, Ponchovia, darted and flashed in the snow and rushed up to the corral of sheep, barking and snapping at them.  Luckily, he didn’t mess up my message to Dad.

As I headed for the milk barn, I watched the cows in their corral wade through the already melting mud and manure.  Their hooves made a sucking sound as they waddled through the soupy mess.  It was not quite runny enough to drain off into the back pasture to use as fertilizer, but a couple of warmer days would do the trick.

I walked past the shop and chicken coop toward the milk barn.  I could hear Dad singing to a country tune on the radio.  As I approached the door and reached for the hook on the leather cord to unlock it, I paused.

If I unhooked the leather from the latch, Dad would pull but the hook would stay latched.  I snickered under my breath like Muttley and Dick Dastardly. What would Dad do?  The only other way out was through the corral in all that stinky, deep manure that would run over the tops of his rubber boots.

I tapped my gloved finger against my cold, dry, smiling lips.  Would he wade through all that yuck?  Would he laugh or kill me?  My brows furrowed while I contemplated his reaction to my prank.  I was pretty certain he would kill me.

I heard the metal stanchion spring open and Dad slap Bessy affectionately on the rump, telling her to back out and head for the corral.  I slipped the leather off the hook, moved away from the door a few feet, and waited with my cold hands nestled in my coat pockets.  Dad shut off the radio.  I heard him pick up the metal handle on the milk bucket.   The leather slowly pulled toward the small hole in the door without the hook and then stopped.  Dad feed the leather back down as if he could rehook the latch.  No chance.

I covered my mouth and giggled.  He made several other attempts at unlatching the door and then beat on it.  My cheeks hurt from smiling.  His movements finally stopped.  I’m pretty sure there was a flurry of cussing under his breath.  I knew he was conflicted about tromping through all that manure.  I could actually feel his tension mounting as he tried to figure out how to escape unscathed.

By the sound, I could tell he cupped his mouth to yell out my brother’s name.  I couldn’t hold back any longer.  I burst into rolling fits of laughter, unlocked the latch, and threw open the door.

Dad stood on the other side frozen in shocked surprise.  “Why you little pipsqueak.”

He grabbed me by the back of the neck and squeezed, but my coat hood protected me from his playful throttling. 

We delivered the bucket of warm, steaming milk to the house, and then I showed him my message in the snow, “I love you, Dad.”

He forgave me that day, and it was a special memory the two of us shared until the day he died. I will always love you, Dad.

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs! 
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Copyright of Snow Photo: Argument / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright of Dog in Snow Photo: gbphoto21 / 123RF Stock Photo

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