Wednesday, December 07, 2005


The real Mr. & Mrs. Claus!!!

Last Saturday, December 3rd, during our first snow storm of the season and in low teen temperatures (brrrr!), Refuge Farms was graced with the presence of Mr. & Mrs. Claus...the real Mr. & Mrs. Claus.

Now, these two were not just some neighbors dressed in red with fake beards and hair. No way! These two were right from the North Pole! In fact, when contacted by them earlier in the season to confirm their appearance, I received a voice mail message "from the North Pole..."! These two are the real Mr. & Mrs. Claus! Pulling the beard of Mr. Claus will get a holler of pain - it and he are real!!!

Throughout their time with us came children of all ages - from babies to seniors. All were given time with Mr. Claus to discuss their needs and wishes. Of course, Mr. Claus is a wise, wise man and many times he saw in to the visitor's eyes and hearts more than the guest ever suspected. It was a visit of fun but surprisingly touching for some of us older children....Oh, the power of the season...

Mrs. Claus was always close by and made sure everyone received a special candy cane right from her basket along with a special greeting for a "Merry Christmas!". We took pictures for the guests to take with them and we had hot chocolate and cookies - just tons of cheer for all to soak in!

And the event was in the barn - right where it should be, according to yours truly. You see, watching the entire "do" and learning how we care for one another at this place was none other than Big Guy, our newest minister. And I saw things in this creature that day that left me in total awe and respect of him.

Earlier in the morning, I had ventured out in to the pasture to retrieve Big Guy and once again, he lifted that enormous head of his and left the hay and the rest of the herd to walk toward me and meet me. He lowered that 8 foot high head and allowed me to halter him. We then walked quietly up to the barn.

Doesn't sound like much, I know, but I try to remember that only a few days ago this big horse was standing - trembling, I'm sure - in the woods with chaos all around him. A human came and "rescued" him then, too, and hurt him - body and heart alike.

When other humans finally appeared, he was whisked away from his home and brought to a strange place with new humans and new animals around him...different feed and different barn...! If that were me, I'd be scared and flighty and twitching and certainly wouldn't calmly do anything!!! The trust this horse gives off is remarkable! The gentleness was evident to all of us all day long.

We came up to the barn and I stopped Big Guy at the doorway so he could survey his new surroundings. The barn had been decked out with a Christmas tree, straw bales were lined up to make a sidewalk, there was music and colored lights hanging from gates and the shoeing rack....It really did not appear to be the barn although his sense of direction and habit told him it was..??

Once again, no bolting away.....instead he scanned the entire building and then I quietly took him in to a stall area to spend the day.

Big Guy spent the day looking around and every once in a while taking a mouth of hay. I had been expecting that the backside of his body would be the main thing we would see all day as it would be the hay that he would undoubtedly go after!!! But once again, I am proven wrong. Big Guy spent the day watching us. Absorbing us. Being pet and looked at by us. And looking right back.

At one point early in the morning, a child entered the barn. Big Guy caught sight of that "little person" and the large eyes of this horse were glued - literally fixed - on that child. When the child went to Mr. Claus, so did Big Guy's eyes. When the child went for hot chocolate, so did Big Guy's eyes. When the child went to pet Babee Joy, so did Big Guy's eyes.

Some of us were watching this and we all concluded that Big Guy was seeing his first child! Studying this "little person" to see just what "it" was. Total curiousity and interest...Amazing. Again.

So the real Mr. & Mrs. Claus once again brought the HO!HO!HO! of the season and the excitement of the holiday with them. And once again, they brought us together and caused us to stand quietly so we could observe something that's with us every day of the year - the life lessons found in the eyes and hearts of the children and these glorious animals, if only we stop long enough to look!

One lady, visiting us for the first time that day, said to me as she left, "Maybe here I can find my faith in humanity again. Here in the eyes of Big Guy." We hugged.

Enjoy the journey of each and every day,
Sandy and the Herd

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