Advisees brighten holidays

This column was first published in the Tribune on Nov. 27, 2006.

Today I scrounge through my memories, hunting things that once amused me -- and share some in this week's "Granny's Notes."

Christian College students were eager to get on the Katy train headed for Texas and other Southern states. Other students would take the Columbia-to-Centralia link and transfer to various other rail lines toward home.

Waiting for exams left them restless, and I sometimes invited advisees to the farm on a Saturday to relax in a different environment.

I was adviser to more than a dozen students who were delighted to get away from campus and relax in togs not acceptable on campus or in town. Chub came to the yard on the tractor pulling a wagon and straw-cushioned the wagon's boards.

The girls piled in, and Chub brought a saw and an ax for cutting a fragrant native cedar. I called to the students, "Find a tree with a bird's nest in it. Next spring the birds will build a new nest, anyway."

A couple of students helped Chub make and attach a tree stand while others wandered in the pastures or helped Chub set the Christmas tree. Others helped me measure and mix the ingredients for homemade ice cream.

I asked Dee to bring the kettle of cream from the fridge, and she couldn't find it. I described the kettle, and she had never seen so much cream in one place; when I lifted the container out for her, she asked, seriously, "Mrs. G., is this real cream, or is it from a cow or something?" Yes, Dee, cream comes from a cow!

Later I glanced out of the window and saw that Butch B. had located only one "cow" -- the bull! One Holstein was alone in the pasture, and a college girl was offering the bull grass from her bare hand.

He was the herd bull and was behaving quite nicely, much to my surprise!

I quietly ended the encounter with this: "Butch! Supper will be on the table by the time you can get here. Just toss the rest of the grass and come now." Butch came away promptly and washed up to eat supper.

Some of the students played the piano, and others sang. Later in the woods in a wagon pulled by a tractor, the selection of a native cedar tree for our family was easy, for they were all "the prettiest." They hung the usual decorations after supper.

Time flew by, and the girls had to return to campus. Chub helped them get loaded, and they burst into song. Somehow, farms are like home to town girls and country girls alike. Chub and I repeated this Christmas week event almost every year; I taught there for 33 years in all. The girls made Christmas special for Chub and me and for themselves.

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