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The Last Windrow: Think twice before buying cow kickers for Christmas

A story of one farmer's quest to buy his wife a Christmas gift

Cow kickers for Christmas? Might be a good idea.

Clem hated Christmas shopping. His farm roots trained him not to spend money before it was totally justified. He made do with rusted wire, broken springs and flattened tires, and he fixed about everything he could by himself.

It was the way one farmed in those days before technology took over and the only way to fix anything was to call someone to fix it for you.

Thanksgiving was over and Clem and his dear wife had hosted a huge family dinner. Clem's wife was an excellent cook but also knew how to grease a combine and run the de-horning chute. In other words, she could do anything that needed to be done on their small farm.

After dinner when the men had all settled into their respective recliners while the women did the kitchen cleanup, Clem's uncle asked Clem what he was going to get his wife for Christmas. Clem hadn't really given that subject much thought after completing the harvest.

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"You better get with it Clem," his uncle spoke. "She's worth getting something extra special. She deserves the best."

The media was touting the shopping that went on during the Black Friday event, but Clem abhorred large crowds so that was not in the cards. He thought to himself that he would wait until later in December before he started getting serious, but he didn't have an idea of what gift might be worth giving.

A new aluminum scoop shovel might be an idea. After all, the one his wife had been using was pretty much worn down to a nub. Maybe she would like that.

Another idea that popped into his head was a new gate for the chicken house pen. He had noticed that his wife had trouble getting the old gate to latch, allowing the chickens to escape on a regular basis, so this might be just the thing to make her life a little easier.

Yes, that might be just the thing.

Then he remembered this one cow that had a mean temperament and tended to kick when the milking machine was attached to the udder. This was the cow that his wife milked every morning and evening of the year, and what could his wife like better than a set of cow kickers?

In Clem's slightly tainted mind he could see his wife joyfully applying the milking machine while not in fear of her life. Yes, that would surely make her happy!

Into the farm store he strode with the kickers rollicking in his head. He spied them over in the dairy supply section. There were several brands dangling from the hangers. Some were painted black, some were not painted at all and then there was one pair that was painted bright red.

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Clem thought to himself that red was really a color that went with Christmas and these kickers would look good under a green Christmas tree.

He proudly brought the kickers up to the counter where a young lady was tending the register. Clem couldn't hold his excitement as he placed his much thought out gift on the counter and drew out his billfold.

Then he asked the clerk, "I don't suppose you could wrap these for Christmas, could you? I'm giving them to my wife."

The young woman took a step back, looked him straight in the eye and said, "You must be kidding, right?"

No, he wasn't kidding.

"You must be out of your mind." she said. "If my husband ever thought of giving me cow kickers for Christmas I'd take his new over-under shotgun to him and he'd be dead."

Long story short, Clem swallowed his gum and asked the young sales clerk what she would want for a gift. The young lady led Clem over to the women's section of the store and showed Clem the fashions of the day, the perfume counter and the outdoor gear section and gave Clem other ideas that would save his life.

Clem thought about the shovel, the chicken gate and the cow kickers for a minute and then relented to the advice of this now smiling young woman. Money would be spent.

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Cow kickers for Christmas? Better give that some thought.

See you next time. Okay?

John Wetrosky - Last Windrow.jpg

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