A Friend in Need/ Winter on the Farm
This morning the phone rang early. It was my husband off in Reno at a convention and he was calling to say there was an emergency here. “Go down and check on Mr. Gene,” he said, “I got a call from the medical alert company that he has fallen and needs help. He’s not answering their calls.
I grabbed my coat and set out down to the next farm, hoping the gate would be unlocked and that Mr. Gene would greet me at his door. The gate was unlocked, I opened it and drove in.
I knocked at the door. The dogs did not come as they usually do. No one came, so I tried the door. It was unlocked so I went in and called out. “Mr. Gene, are you here?” No answer.
I headed through the house praying that I wouldn’t find him fallen and dead on the floor. I looked all through the house. No one was there.
I headed outside where I noted both his trucks in the barn. I heard a tractor and heaved a sigh of relief but then spotted the tractor in the pasture surrounded by cows––running––no one in it. That, on a farm, is a very bad sign.
So, I drove through another gate and headed for the tractor. Still no one on foot, no dogs. Strange. Then I saw the tractor move and I saw he had climbed aboard. The dogs chased to me barking and yapping.
When my neighbor got to me, I saw he was okay, and I was so relieved. This elderly gentleman lives alone since his wife died about three years ago. He is quite the man––who is boldly living his dream to be a cattle rancher. He made a living for many years as a plumber and saved and bought a tract of land with an old house and barns. Now he tends about fifty cows.
“Did my alert go off?” he asked me, fingering inside his coveralls for a chain around his neck. “I did have a fall. Two of my cows got caught in a hay ring,” (that encircles a round bale, so cows won’t trample the hay). He tried to dislodge them, and the angry cow whacked him and knocked him off his feet, he told me. The hay ring caught on the cow’s horn and flew up and landed almost atop him. Mr. Gene told me his arm was bleeding, but he refused further help and wouldn’t let me look. He is fiercely independent!
He did reach out and pat my hand and thank me for coming to check on him. “I’m okay,” he said, “Sorry I caused you trouble. If you need any help with your cows whilst Ron’s gone, you just call on me.” Thinking of others and himself the one hurt and bleeding! I do admire and love that man.
I headed back home in the north wind’s cold and came inside to stoke the fire and drink another cup of coffee. We all need each other’s help sometimes. We trust God but can also trust our neighbors. We might be strong and able, but we still need one another––if just to know someone cares. It is a good thing to know you are cared for.
As we pass through our days, farm or city, wherever we are, let’s look out for each other and be brave enough to express that concern. Is your neighbor lonely, sick, grieving? Have you visited? Do you know? Do you show him God cares? I hope so. This winter when the cold north wind howls, let’s be willing and ready for a friend in need. Yes, even when no alert goes off.
Elece Hollis is a mom of seven and a grandmother to twenty-four. She and her husband Ron live on a farm in Oklahoma where they tend cows and an orchard of pecan trees. Elece is an avid photographer and a lover of all thing home and family. She has written many magazines articles and stories, worked on over twenty-five freelance book projects. She also writes poetry and a column for stay-at-home moms. Find her blog elecehollis.com and check out her new book What’s Good About Home!