The first weekend in January is the beginning of our National Western Stock Show and how do folks know this??? Well, we get hit with bitter cold and usually a big snow storm. As a child I could remember when you could smell the Purina Dog Food Company which was about 75 miles away you know the Stock Show was in town. That smell was the warning that Mother Nature was just about to bite us in the ass!!! As a child it was the most exciting time of the year - better then Christmas because that meant I was going to get to be surrounded by animals for at least one day out of the year. Not dogs and cats but those animals that my heart always knew I belonged with - see dreams do come true.
This weekend the skies grew crystal blue and then the ice crystals started to fall at the farm. As the skies grew dark the air was full of big snow flakes. The snow was on and off but the temp kept dropping and my memories turned to all those years I braved the bitter cold and snow to stand in awe of those marvelous creatures brought to the big concrete buildings on the out skirts of Denver to be judged and sold. I remember as a child walking past the outdoor corrals that housed the buffalo and peeking thru the slots to see this massive animal snorting steam as my eyelashes where heavy with ice. The cowpokes warned me to stay away but I was drawn to them like a moth to a flame. My family could not understand this strange child who could stand for hours just looking at the chickens in their cages or spending all of my Christmas money on purchasing cups full of the goat chow so I could have the thrill of my palm being nibbled by some horned little goat that had no interest in my but rather just the goodies in my hands. I was not one of those kids who walked thru the rows of pens holding her nose shut with her fingers like my sisters would do - I was the kid who asked complete strangers if I could help clean up after their animals. My dad would have to pick me up and carry me out of the building as it closed for the night with me kicking and screaming that couldn't we just stay the night - Honest Daddy, they want me too!!
Fast forward more years then I will admit to and then came my biggest joy - the year we purchased our first two baby llama boys at the Stock Show for my sons - O.K. I admit it, I think I was way more excited then they ever were. I can still see my son Nick - as he walked "Tony Llama" around the concrete floor and down the North wall of stairs like a pro. His smile was from ear to ear and I hoped in my heart this was the start of his life long love of animals and the Stock Show... Over the years I have purchased my best stock there and gathered memories that can never be repeated. As my sons are quick to point out we have also worked very hard many years there when we where vendors in those cold concrete buildings. Getting up in the cold bitter mornings long before even a rooster would think of stirring. Doing our morning chores by head lamp, packing up the truck and driving 75 miles with all of our wares to unload in the freezing air hoping soon they would have the morning coffee ready to warm our shaking bodies. Getting our booth just so and then standing all day talking to thousands of folks from all over the world was the routine of the day. Then after 10 hours of that we would drag our tired bodies back to the cold truck to drive back home, do our chores, eat something quickly and crawl into bed only to get up the next day and do it all over again. Now it may sounds terrible to most folks but there was that little girl inside of me thinking this is the greatest life on the planet. I know my sons did not share that feeling at all. This routine goes on for three weeks and on the last day when we all pack up our wares, animals, ribbons and cash we shake the hands of those strangers who now seem like family and promise to write, call or email once the dust settles. I have made some great friends over the years there and more memories then could ever fill the pages of a scrapbook.
So when I went out this morning to bring warm water to the chickens and noticed the ice crystals on my eyelash's I suddenly got this child like excitement all thru my body - STOCK SHOW is in town!!!
Grace is living that dream she had so many many years ago and now I can see Buffalo anytime I want because they live just down the road and I get to spin their fiber all year long. I get the honor and joy of picking up my chickens anytime I want and not just look at them thru the cage wires as some person screams keep your fingers out of there. I hug on, snug on and get to deliver my very own goat babies. Those sweet goats come up to me and love on me even when their is no food involved. Our sweet Tony Llama may no longer live on this planet but I can see him and Nick still in my heart walking around with the biggest grins on their faces - I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!
I hope you let your kids live their dreams and for that matter I hope you are too!! I sure know for this little gal - she lives the Stock Show everyday of her life and still gets those butterflies in her stomach each morning when she walks out her door onto her farm...