Good neighbors bring back memories


A city friend recently commented she cannot imagine not having neighbors close by. What I have come to know is that closeness can carry very different meanings.

Last weekend, a farm auction consumed the entire beautiful Saturday for my hubby and his brother. After purchasing a couple of traps at the sale for a good price, they stopped by to give them to our Amish neighbor to our north.

A gift of traps

The boys accepted the traps with joy, as though it was the best gift anyone could hope to be given. While they were talking, my hubby commented on their newborn bull calf. “That is one nice big calf. What will you do with him?” The boys said they hoped to sell him. “Sold,” said my hubby.

Yesterday, a bright and breezy fall day, Doug went to pick up the calf. The youngest of the boys, Mosey, inquired just how in the world Doug planned to move that calf from their farm to ours. “I figured I will just put him in the back of the pickup truck.”

Change of plans

Mosey, a very young boy with a grown-up way of thinking, decided against that plan. “Nah, we’ll just throw him in the hack and when it get noon, we’ll bring him to you.” Doug asked if he was sure, knowing the family was busy with harvest. Mosey said, “No, that will be fine,” adding with a grin, “That way we won’t have to shock corn all day long.”

Mid-afternoon, we heard the approaching horse and hack. Three young brothers, Jakey, Willie and Mosey, all had managed to load the big bull calf and were making the delivery as promised.

Deer meat

Late last night, Doug was returning to the farm in his pickup truck when a deer jumped out in front of him. He called the nearby game warden when he realized the deer was injured but still alive. It was a big buck deer, and the question arose: what could he do with a deer this late at night?

The deer was loaded up and driven to the neighbors who had delivered the bull calf earlier in the day, offered to them for meat. Jakey, the oldest at age 13, was the one who had to make the decision as his father had not yet returned from a day away. “We’ll take it. Mother will be glad.” Before the deer was even unloaded, the butchering plan was well underway, each of the children knowing their jobs well.

Comparing childhoods

There are many times I find myself comparing the childhood of our Amish neighbors to the childhood of my father, and while I realize there are differences, I also know there are many similarities.

The multi-generational family worked hard together from a very young age, played together, and looked out for one another from cradle to grave. And the idea of a hard night of butchering for the meat to be canned was likely something my father would have done because it would have made his mother glad.

The harsh stories carried by the national nightly news fortunately seem worlds away from us, and every day I count my blessings to be surrounded by peaceable neighbors who not only take us back to a simpler time, but give us many reasons to smile.


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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, and three grandchildren.



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