Last week I had a birthday. It seems to me that birthdays are just not what they used to be. I remember when I was in grade school my birthday was one of the top five days of the year. It was a great day with presents, taking treats to school, a birthday meal, parties and cake. It was your one day of the year and it was awesome.
Then came high school and birthdays marked milestones like 16 and your driver’s license and 18 and adult status. Birthdays at college were even more non-descript with the only milestone being 21. After college they just marked getting a year older and those marking a new decade seemed more reflective than celebratory. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy my birthday because getting another year older sure beats the alternative.
Throughout the years I have had many co-workers who took the day off and spent it doing things they wanted to do. I whole-heartedly agree with that and I have even heard of companies who give employees their birthdays off. So did I take my birthday off or was I given a day off. The answer is no and before you start to feel bad for me, let me say that I had one of the best birthdays ever. Here is how I spent it.
The morning did not start off on a happy note. The night before I had found out from my neighbor that our bull was AWOL and I was not entirely sure where to find him. So as the sun rose and I finished chores I had a mission, locate the bull and bring him home. At least the weather was nice, the air had just a hint of fall and the sky was a crystal clear blue. Killer, the cow dog, and I loaded up in the pickup determined to find the wayward bull.
We quickly located him about a mile down the road in another one of our pastures. He was not seeking companionship as I had feared, but rather munching on new growth brome grass and seemingly enjoying his solitude. Killer and I got out of the pickup and approached him. He took one look at us and started ambling back home. Yes, he started off on a slow walk straight back from where he had come, stopping every few feet to grab another mouthful of grass. I honestly think he was waiting on us.
Killer, the bull and I enjoyed a nice mile hike back to the pasture where he jumped the fence and rejoined his cows. OK, so the entry back into the pasture was not the way I wanted it but the end result was good. Rest assured that he will be coming to a McDonalds near you later this fall. Killer and I then walked back to the pickup stopping to talk with my neighbor along the way.
The bull did alert me to the fact that the brome had grown more than I had suspected and was ready to be grazed again. However, to graze this patch meant I needed to work on the fence. Again, not exactly what I would have wished for on my birthday, but something that needed to be done. I worked on the fence until noon and then went to Westmoreland to meet Dad for lunch. He had called and offered to buy lunch for my birthday. The special was what I usually order, I know it was just because my birthday was on Tuesday and that was the special ever Tuesday, but it doesn’t hurt to think you are special once in a while.
That afternoon the weather was absolutely perfect and I found most of the insulators the deer had knocked off the fence. There is something satisfying about accomplishing a task that needed to be done. That evening Jennifer and I delivered beef to a customer. This is also something I really enjoy, I love hearing about how they enjoyed last year’s beef and how they are looking forward to having their freezer full. Jennifer and I finished the day by taking in some volleyball and picking up the kids from their activities.
On the surface my birthday may seem like a normal day. Taking care of livestock and chasing kids around; no parties, no cake or presents. We finally got back home around 8:30 and ate sandwiches. I then collapsed into my easy chair, tired and happy. So you ask what made this one of the best birthdays ever.
While I was driving my bull home, I was reminded that I was doing exactly what I had always wanted to. I have all I really need in life, my kids are healthy and happy and I have a wife who puts up with me. To top it all off, the day was a picture perfect fall day, the hills were green and the leaves on the trees were just starting to change colors. My cows are happy and content and where they were supposed to be. I realized that life just doesn’t get better than that and that, my good readers, is why my birthday was the best one ever.