As I looked out my bathroom window one early morning recently, I observed a woodchuck — commonly called a groundhog — wandering around in my yard. It was huge and just taking its good old time chomping away on the grass or something that was in it.

It didn’t seem to have any fear or be in a hurry. I’m sure it knew that there were no longer any dogs around to bother it and that my aim with a gun was really bad! I assumed it was getting ready to hibernate for the winter. It was a beautiful morning and warm, but evidently, Mother Nature had given it some warning signs about the coming weather, as just a few days later we had our first snow.

Cold weather is here and I don’t enjoy it. For years, I trudged out into the snow and cold to milk cows and take care of barn chores. While I miss not having any holsteins, I don’t miss those early morning winter chores. However, I am not certain that hibernation is good for me.

Unlike the woodchuck, I will be eating during that time and not burning up stored calories. I will be spending a lot of time curled up in my easy chair, keeping warm under a blanket, reading books and magazines, especially old holstein ones. I won’t be getting nearly enough exercise! And there will be those unexpected naps that just sneak up on you and the dreams. Not all those dreams are “sweet” ones!

For example, the other day after working on some writing and then spending some time visiting with family members “bearing gifts” (apples, green onion cheese and sourdough rolls), I made myself a cup of tea and headed for my easy chair. I felt chilly, so I pulled my warm afghan up over me and the next thing I didn’t know, I was asleep and dreaming. This often happens!

In my dream, my eldest son had come to visit. He is very good to me and often brings me unexpected things that he feels I need. And so it was in this dream! He took me outside to show me his surprise for me. He had brought me a machine made by that “green company”.

Its purpose was to rid my lawn of all the leaves that were so thick on it that you couldn’t see the grass. All I had to do was run the machine over the leaves and they would disappear! There was no explanation of how it was going to do that! He had me climb on the machine so I could learn how to run it. I was so upset — I didn’t want this darn machine — I didn’t want to drive it all over the three lawns I mowed all summer!

But I didn’t want to tell him that and hurt his feelings! And there was a problem — I couldn’t reach the pedals to make it go! I struggled and tried and I just couldn’t reach them! And then suddenly, I woke up! What a relief! I hope as I take those unexpected “catnaps” this winter that the dreams are more pleasant ones! I think the message from this one is that I am tired of mowing lawns!

Finally, after so many of us were forced to “hibernate” for months and months due to the COVID-19 virus, we can carefully exit our “dens of hibernation”, look all around and if we don’t see any “dark shadows” looming over us, perhaps we can get together with family and friends and enjoy Thanksgiving.

There will be all the traditional food, so delicious and enjoyable. Everyone will be so stuffed but so satisfied. After dinner, some people will watch football games, others will play card games or other types of games, some will fall asleep, some will just enjoy visiting and catching up on what is happening in other people’s lives. The dishwasher will be humming, pots and pans clanging as they are washed up.

Grandmas, moms, aunts and cousins will be laughing and chatting as they clean up the kitchen. As dusk settles in, some will head for home, plates of leftover food in hand. Some will stay late to play more games, nibble on leftovers or just visit more. Others may be staying a few days.

Thanksgiving Day will end. While that woodchuck probably spent the day sleeping, humans everywhere gave thanks for a special Thanksgiving Day that allowed us to get together. Our world has many problems, yet we have so many things to give thanks for! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Barb Lumley wrote this column to be published in The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.

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