Spring: Easter, birthdays and new life

Remember when old ones died and new were born. And life was changed, disassembled, rearranged. Remember when 30 seemed so old. Now, lookin’ back it’s just a stepping stone to where we are, where we’ve been. Said we’d do it all again. Remember when

– Music and lyrics by Ivan Kral, Cindy Hudson

By JUDITH SUTHERLAND

Farm and Dairy columnist

My memory is filled with springtimes of years gone by; my birthday and Easter celebrations fill up the circle that holds every piece of it.

Yesterday. A fading photograph is tucked away of a little girl, maybe 3 years old, bending down to get a good look at the first crocus blooming in the flower beds beside the home in which I grew up.

Dressed in a spring jacket, a little hat, well-worn black and white saddle shoes on my feet, I am smiling as if no day could ever possibly be better than this one. On the back, in my mother’s handwriting, is “DoBee’s birthday, first crocus.”

I was given that nickname by three older sisters when I was a newborn who rarely cried. “She is a good little DoBee,” my sisters all chimed, a name given to good children on the television show of that era, Romper Room.

The nickname became my name, forever, to this day. When I started school and was told I needed to go by my real name, I had no idea what those silly adults were talking about.

Today

Flash forward 50 years. Today is my birthday, and it is Easter. I am smiling with happiness and contentment, blessed beyond measure. I listen to others say they no longer celebrate birthdays, and I can assure you that I will never be one of them. Each year is worth marking, each day a gift.

I remember birthday cakes and chocolate bunnies, and searching for hidden Easter eggs that we had colored together at the kitchen table. My big sisters would hide them again and again, just for me, and I felt like a lucky little kid on an endless adventure.

We each had our own Easter basket, saved from year to year, and it felt like an old friend when it showed up filled with green paper grass and jelly beans.

Springtime meant a new Easter dress with a matching bonnet, tiny white gloves and fancy white socks. I looked forward to those shiny new shoes, which we knew without a word spoken were to be reserved for Sunday.

When we came home from Sunday school, we changed into play clothes until it was time for work clothes, all of us heading for the dairy barn. After a quick supper, we almost always changed back into our Sunday school clothes and went to visit grandparents.

New life

Springtime and Easter meant greening fields, helping Dad clean the corn planter, budding trees just waiting to be climbed once again, newborn kittens to be found in the hay mow. Life was beginning anew.

I just returned from the barn, checking on tiny newborn triplet goats. One colt and two filly Haflingers greet us from horse stalls, and kittens will be arriving any day. In some ways, we really do get to do it all again. It is up to us to see the joy in the journey.

About the Author

Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college. More Stories by Judith Sutherland

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