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Mary Christmas, part 2

Mary Christmas, part 2

By Bill Stork, DVM

On impact, 125 grams of lead, traveling 1500ft per second, ripped a two-inch gash through two sides of the steel cap… of his concrete silo.

Dave had found himself on the porch with a gun to his head more as the last act of a desperate man, than a product of planning. He had given little thought as to what might lie on “the other side.” Whatever he had expected, sprawled in a snowdrift with a sore wrist and a deafening ringing in his ear while having his face washed by a 30lb lab pup was not it.

As fate would have it, the farmer’s lowest point and time of greatest need precisely coincided with Mary’s most urgent desire for lovin’. Totally oblivious, or keenly aware, she saw a victim at precisely her level and covered in sweat. There was but one thing to do: knock him down and lick him.

Dave would regain his senses long before his hearing. He staggered into the living room and dismissed his dishevelment, “rough calving.” There was no way for the family to know how to react to the ghost in their midst.

After bedtime stories, the boys tucked in, Dave returned to the porch. The Mail Pouch Tobacco thermometer read 8 degrees F. The dampener on the screen door barely kept it from slamming. Each time he opened and let the door fall, it shut and latched securely. He walked out from under the overhang, looked past the stars into the crystalline sky, nodded and mouthed a silent “Thank You.”

He climbed the stairs, crept into the bedroom and pulled Joan close. Crawling under the heirloom quilt, he brushed her long dark hair and kissed her temple. Holding her tighter than he ever had, he slept not a wink.

Rains in the spring of 1989 would quench the parched land and bring feed to the hungry herd. Tommy eventually committed to an institution: the University of Wisconsin - Platteville. He would graduate with honors and go on to teach Agriculture and Special Education. Brett, the kindergartner, would be the fourth generation. He and his wife would give Dave and Joan their first grandchild.

Christians, agnostics and animal lovers may debate, but inarguable is that the 50-stanchion, red hip roof dairy where the 5th generation farmer rides the milking cart with his dad and grandpa, would be someone's repurposed barn wood picture frame, were it not for a lab mutt farm dog named Mary.

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