COLUMN: Musings of a Simple Country Man
A Mysterious Christmas Dream
The story that follows came in an early December dream. You must decide its meaning. Is the dream’s timing coincidental or a special message with purpose? This is what I remember.
The landscape is barren and brown. Nature’s inevitable cycle of change is subtly preparing for winter.
A young farmer and his small son are preparing for a four-mile trip to the closest village and its popular General Store. Christmas is coming and the farmer’s wife has written a long list of Christmas supplies. The morning is fair but cold. In fact, too cold for his old tractor to turnover.
The farmer will have to use his old draft horse—more of a family pet now. A single harness is found and a seldom used all purpose farm wagon is pushed out of a shed. With his son sitting next to him on a wooden seat, and reins in hand , the wagon pulls out of the muddy barn yard heading down a narrow dirt road. Soon the road comes to a “T” as it intersects with a wider road heading east into the village.
In times past the farmer could go cross lots across an unused field owned by two bachelor brothers. The brothers were always happy to hail their neighbor with waves and shouts of greeting. Usually a brief stop ensued with a few enjoyable minutes of “chewing the fat.” Eventually these friendly bachelors sold this property and moved into town.
The new owners proved not very friendly, seldom waving or hailing greetings to their closest neighbor. The farmer tried to be neighborly but with little success. Now when the farmer went into the village he stuck strictly to the road. (The tallest of the owners was large, bearded and physically menacing.) The owners were hard working, but it looked like they were struggling to make ends meet. The farmer felt sorry for them.
The farmer, driving the rickety wagon, arrived in the village and spent several hours in The General Store purchasing Christmas supplies. It took more time than he had planned, especially with all the inevitable visiting that took place. It is getting on towards late afternoon before the loaded wagon begins the journey home. The boy held in his hands a box of red and white candies. A Christmas present he had purchased with hard earned pennies for his Mother. These were her favorite candies.
Anxious to get home to do the barn chores before supper the farmer, with fatigue setting in, momentarily forgetting, took the cut-off across the new owner’s corner lot. Suddenly the silence is shattered by thunderous yelling and some cursing from the tallest land owner. “Hey, where are you going?” he bellowed at the now fully awake startled farmer, who quickly reined in the horse. “Don’t you know you’re on our posted property? Get out of here now, or we’ll sic the law on you!”
The farmer quickly turned the wagon around and returned to the main road. His son seemed frightened by the big, menacing man who seemed so angry and hateful.
When on the main road, the farmer stopped his horse and wagon. He tried to apologize, but seemingly to no avail.
While he was apologizing his son had slipped off the wagon, went behind it, crossed the road ditch, walking onto the posted land. He walked up to the big farmer who towered over him. The boy held out his opened box of Christmas candies to the big man. “Here, mister, have one of these candies! I think you need to be sweetened up.” Caught off guard the large man’s angry face seemed to miraculously change. He is speechless.
The boy wasn’t done yet. “I’ve got a good idea. My Dad and Ma don’t have any close relatives coming for Christmas dinner. Why don’t you both come up and eat with us? Mom is a great cook and she is always telling us we have to love our neighbors as ourselves. I don’t know what all this means. I’m too young. But will you come?”
The three men all had tears in their eyes, and it wasn’t from the cold air. The boy climbed back onto the wagon for the ride home.
The Christmas dinner is a great success. For now all five ,new neighbors. The happiest , of course, is the young boy. Loving everybody all the time is the greatest Christmas gift we can ever give or receive. This is the dream I had. Why me? Only God knows.
Editor’s note: Hobie Morris is a Brookfield resident and simple country man.