When I was knee-high to the cattle roaming near my Midwestern home, my grandfather gave me a block of old barn wood for my birthday. Burned into it was that famous Helen Keller quote, “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” My grandfather knew a thing or two about growing things in the dirt, and about his precocious granddaughter.
Not long ago, I heard country star, Jake Owen, sing his hit song, What We Ain’t Got during a concert in Phoenix. It’s not holiday ballad, but the core message of the song certainly applies during this season of list-making and gift-giving.
We struggle to find the right gadget or gear for those on our list. And often spend a fortune mailing last minute gifts to faraway friends and relatives.But what is it that they (and we) really want?
We ain't happy where we are,
There's greener grass in the neighbors yard.
A bigger house and a faster car.
Ask the elderly, the cancer patient or the returning vet what's on his or her wish list and most likely it won’t be more stuff. Perhaps their list includes good health, a roll back of the clock, and extra time with loved ones.
Our favorite doors are always locked.
On a higher hill with a taller top.
It’s hard to say why it’s such a struggle for most of us to askew the stuff and ask for what we might really want. If I knew….well, that’s a discussion for a different time!
But this year, right now, my holiday wish for all is for more sparkling laughter and meaningful experiences.
More fresh air, art, music and poetry. More time listening to snow fall (I know), children giggling, waves lapping on the beach and wind in the trees. More time sharing stories and quiet moments with those we love.
And more time appreciating what we’ve got.
Editor's Note: Teddy Hayes took a break from collegiate studies to spend six months in Ecuador learning Spanish, salsa dancing, volunteering and traveling. He spent time bunking with family friends who were in the midst of a year long Ecuadoran adventure. Their goal: to provide their two young children the taste of another culture.
The sound disturbed me on some primal level. Deep, mournful, incessant. Mother cows calling out for their young calves. Separated by fencing, the pairs would not be reunited until the day’s branding ritual was completed.
I remember that Saturday like it was yesterday, the day I attended my first neighborhood branding. New to Montana, everything about the process was unfamiliar.