Déjà Moo

Home is where my cows are.
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Dotty Allen Reeder, circa 1945, Hotchkiss, Colorado, Roger’s Mesa

In my family, the women have loved and spoiled their cows. But to be honest, what was not love? These gentle creatures have provided milk, cream, and especially love and companionship.

My mom told me stories of my grandmother’s favorite milk cow. The two formed a sweet friendship, and her pet would demand to be milked first. Even when my grandmother would try to “ignore” this bovine, her girl refused to be left out. If grandma tried to milk another cow, her baby would push her way into the front and take her milking stance, and all the while, grandma would chuckle at her pet’s sweet act of defiance.

My mom adored cows too. As a child, she and her young friend, Tommy, would play rodeo when the parents would go to town on Saturdays. The pair broke the cows to ride, and often when it was time to round up the cows, mom would hop on the back of a cow instead of saddling up a horse.

And on Saturday evenings, when her parents came home late from a day in town, mama would milk the cows, strain the milk, and rush back to the barn. As evening approached and darkness blanketed the night skies, the young girl hated being alone in the house. She would settle in with her cows and snuggle in close with her beloved pets. More than once, her parents would find their daughter asleep in the hay, curled up with her cows.

Even me, this city girl turned country girl loved her Cow Patty. From the time Patty was a calf, this pet played a vital role in the family. Patty knew she was special and would demand attention if she felt neglected. After riding my horse Bo, I would have to put a halter on my cow and take her for a walk, or she would pout and cry all night long. My big baby warmed my heart whenever she wanted to spend some extra time with her human mama.

And now, my daughter, Leslie, has longed to add cows to her farmhouse menagerie and has missed her former family cows. These creatures have been her favorite animal for as long as I can remember. Now that she has a mini-farm, she has acquired chickens and ducks, and goats and horses, but to date, not one cow. But when the timing has aligned, I know her pasture will once again find a cow or two within its borders. In the meantime, her mama provided a bovine Christmas for her girl. Some of her gifts were all about her favorite pet.

Leslie and her baby circa 2005

Well, until the cows come home, enjoy your family, and don’t forget to love on those special critters that add such a daily spark to our lives.

Cows and Christmas

Ladies and Kings and Knights, Oh My!

Photo by Cederic Vandenberghe on Unsplash

Ladies and Kings and Knights, Oh My!

Years ago, when I started this family history journey, I had no idea what I would find. Years ago, while stuck on bedrest, I became bored watching Netflix. Since I wanted to maintain some resemblance of sanity, I dove headfirst into the tarns of my family history. What an adventure it has been! Each discovery kept me riveted, so I decided to start a family blog to preserve my family history. Last year, after taking some time off, I decided to start researching again, and like before, I was not disappointed.

A few months ago, I decided to check out my 9x great grandfather, Thomas Dudley. After a closer inspection, I found that his family tree included some major historical players! And just last night, Robbie, a sweet cousin of mine, sent me a message on Facebook. She told me about a book that she received as a Christmas gift, Royal Families Americans of Royal and Noble Birth, by Marston Watson. Exciting news, Cuz! Recently, I ordered that book, plus two more, The Great Migration. Immigrants to New England 1634-1635, by Robert Anderson and The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England, by Antonia Fraser. What a find!

Now, as chilly winter weather resides, I will snuggle close to my fireplace. Okay, it’s an electric heater that resembles a fireplace, but I think you get the idea. It’s just so exciting to be writing again. What a great way to start the New Year. Let the adventures begin!

Thomas Dudley Family Tree

The Cornerstone

Summer 1965 – Ann Marie, mother, Dotty, David and Tommy, Alameda, California

Often, recollections from days gone by take up residence in my thoughts as I remember my childhood. Days of warmth and fun-loving doings flow full circle. Yet, each innocent recollection eventually comes to rest on the woman that rendered care for her family, the loving matriarch of my family, my mother, Dotty Allen Reeder.

This woman gave me so much strength, hope, and courage. She taught me to laugh and rejoice at each extraordinary occurrence that took place in our lives. It was the simple things that found a home in my heart, words of encouragement, cuddles on the couch on rainy days or endless board games at the kitchen table. Or, it was summer tournaments of baseball and kickball with brothers and neighbors with mom in the middle of it all.

Always my closest confidant, we shared stories and laughter and silly gossip while doing kitchen chores or sharing a Dr. Pepper, her favorite soda, and now mine. She was the hub of our home, the very foundation that provided prudence and understanding on how to live in a world that was not always kind. She reminded everyone to find joy in each incredible moment and take nothing for granted. As my biggest cheerleader, the world sometimes feels so strange without her. Still, I find her in the shared stories with her granddaughter. I see her smile in my granddaughter, her kindness in my grandson, her ornery humor in another. Her legacy has continued and found residence in each generation that has followed; the cornerstone of our family still stands.