Finding something to be glad about

Do you ever feel like the world as we know it is falling apart? I’ve felt that way lately. When I look out the window it looks like a desert, and so far, no April showers have fallen to relieve the wasteland that is the High Plains. The grass literally crunches when I walk to my mailbox and the wind blows incessantly. There are no major chances of rain in the next two weeks and wildfires continue to threaten homes, businesses and livestock. 

Cattle raisers culled more of their herd than they wanted last fall, and with a persisting drought, they were forced to pay high hay prices and transport that forage long distances—most are at the end of their rope at this point. If it doesn’t rain soon, they will have to sell the cows and heifers they’ve overpaid to feed through winter and spring. Being forced to feed hay every day in April is never a good thing. 

We should be looking forward to cutting wheat in the coming months, but most are dreading it in my area. Fertilizer applications don’t matter if it never rains and the wheat prices going up won’t mean much if all the wheat fails. And don’t even get me started on the price of food at the grocery store, because we are all familiar with that highway robbery. To put more salt in the wound, I have chickens, but they’ve been slacking so I am still forced to buy the $7 eggs to supplement their poor work performance.

After listing all these complaints, it would be gratuitous to bring up the politics going on today and the Ukraine and Russia war that continues. You get the message, things not going great in the world right now.

At this point in the article I’m sure I’ve properly depressed you as the reader. You’re probably thinking you could have just turned on the nightly news for a few minutes if you wanted to feel miserable. However, I promise I have a reason for bringing up this list of demoralizing happenings. 

This week I was tasked with writing some positive news stories, but good news is a scarce commodity right now. And as I whine about the weather and my lazy hens, I’m reminded of one of my favorite movies. We watched it when I was growing up and I still enjoy it today. It’s called Pollyanna, and it’s about a poor orphan who goes to live with her wealthy aunt and teaches the whole town there is always something to be glad about—the 1960 version that I love is available through Disney+ if you want to watch it. Pollyanna plays the “glad game” which her father made up for whenever things aren’t going right and she proves if you look for the bad, you will surely find it. Finding the good is more difficult, but it’s always there if search for it.

Yes, it looks like Death Valley outside, but at least I won’t have to make time to mow my yard this week. We would be so happy if the good Lord would send some rain, but rain also brings mosquitos and flies and I don’t miss those blood suckers. It’s difficult to find positives in the wind blowing 50-60 miles per hour all day long, but I’m thankful I haven’t been in the path of one of the wildfires caused by that awful wind. The cattle culling challenges, high hay price and poor wheat crop are other subjects that just don’t have much of an upside. But if you think hard, we are all blessed in many ways that we sometimes overlook. I’m blessed with a loving husband and a home we won’t be forced to leave, family nearby and enough income to buy those pricey eggs. When I think of the people who would love to be living in my house and walking on that crunchy grass, I’m reminded of what a charmed life I do lead. Maybe we all need a little dose of Pollyannaism to look for something to be glad about every day.

Lacey Vilhauer can be reached at 620-227-1871 or [email protected].