The merry ghosts of Christmases past
Seem to find me throughout the farm
They are of the friendly kind
They wouldn’t do me any harm

In a flash they have me back in time
Seasonal sights, smells, sounds are the doors
That open my wild memory and crazy imagination
The ghosts just help me to relive and explore

I walk from the barn under the winter moon
Scanning for those marvelous northern lights
I am by the silos, that gangly age of 10
Staring in awe with my dad at the simple delight

I step into the old milking barn
Full of calves, warm breath, sweet hay
Then I’m milking cows tied in their stalls
The ghosts take me back to the good ol’ days

Christmas music blaring, I’m baking away
Linzer cookies in the oven, apron tied ‘bout my waist
My mom takes my place, and at the table I sit
Cozy, warm and happy, eager for a taste

I search for fitting snow weather wear
Collected from five farm children decades ago
I am 8 in my new sea green snow pants
Bundled up and ready for the cold and snow

I walk the path from barn to house
Each brisk night when the chores are done
I slip, slide, slip, slide, across the icy patches
Clever ghosts, back in time again, they’ve won

Comforts of a wood-heated house steps away
I stop, transported by the glow of lights on the tree
Keeping one eye out for those sneaky, tiny elves
Mom swore they would peek in windows and see

“Let there be peace on Earth”
Vince Gill’s angelic voice does sing
I hear Mom humming along, see her puttering about
The magic this time of year does bring
I toss the hay to my eager, wooly sheep
Then I am feeding Mom’s flock, with donkeys as guards
Dressed as a shepherd, cajoled into costume
To make her unique Nativity Christmas cards

The jolly ghosts of Christmases past
They keep my heart full and memories fresh
They remind me that those we love are treasures
As we pause and search for the meaning of the crèche
    Jacqui and her family milk 800 cows and run 1,200 acres of crops in the northeastern corner of Vernon County, Wisconsin. Her children, Ira (14), Dane (12), Henry (7) and Cora (4), help her on the farm while her husband, Keith, works on a grain farm. If she’s not in the barn, she’s probably in the kitchen, trailing after little ones, or sharing her passion of reading with someone. Her life is best described as organized chaos – and if it wasn’t, she’d be bored.