“Yeehaw!” she exclaimed with a big face-splitting grin.
“Yeehaw,” I responded trying to equal her enthusiasm levels, knowing I fell short.
Later in our farm weekend, she noted with disappointment a number of my short-comings: “Mommy, you’re not a cowgirl. You can’t drive a tractor. You can’t ride horses. You can’t work cows.”
All true, I thought in response. I’m a city girl, darling. Your daddy married a city girl. My failings as a cowgirl didn’t seem to stop her. “Mommy, can we stay at the farm tomorrow too? It’s BEAUTIFUL here.”
Yes, my love, it is beautiful here. Despite the heat of the day only slowly dissipating, the sunset and the Monet-quality hay bales scattered about the fields made for a lovely dusk with the seven of us relaxing on the back porch.
The boys we saw even less of because they alternated between daddy’s raking tractor and grandfather’s baling tractor. When the eldest discovered this weekend would be round baling the hay instead of square baling the hay, he declared that he must have a square baling birthday party in October, perfectly timed for fall hay-baling season. The baby was none to patient waiting for his second turn on the big baling tractor and no horseback riding would satiate him until he made it back on the biggest of the four tractors. Hot and bug-bitten, they were still delighted and full of stories of the day. They proudly surveyed their work. The eldest assured me he would teach me how to drive a tractor over the weekend while the youngest “taught me” how to drive daddy’s big new truck.
They are all so brave and strong. They work hard alongside two generations before them. Then they play and laugh and run and ride and come back covered in dirt so thick in their necks I thought I’d never get it out. They hand feed the cattle and cackle at the long slobbery tongues poking over the truck bed insistent for more cubes. They steel themselves as the bulls fight it out for who will get the closest. The boys beg to feed the cows while the pink cowgirl insists it’s time to brush or feed or ride Batman, the eldest and gentlest of the horses, “BY MYSELF!”
They’ve always loved it this much but can do ever more each time we go. I remember a song I made up when they were young when they wanted to hear a song about the farm. The first of the two lines was always the same, There’s a farm in Louisiana, and after that I would make up some line about farm activities. We still sing it from time to time: There’s a farm in Louisiana, and on that farm there are some cows. There’s a farm in Louisiana, we will feed cows cubes and hay. There’s a farm in Louisiana, and on that farm are grandma and grandpa. On that farm in Louisiana, we have fun and play all day……
Here’s to the weekend on the farm in Louisiana, with gratitude that my children have a place to run and play and be kids and be safe and get dirty and learn hard work and get away from the schedules and the technology. From a girl who will never be a proper cowgirl, but may just end up raising one.