altIt’s the first day of winter vacation and our household is filled with the hubbub of getting ready to celebrate Christmas. Our children are all mature enough to help out with baking, shopping and wrapping. Some of them are better at keeping gifts a secret than others. The intense joy and excitement of our two youngest (the boys) is the stuff magic is made of.

The weeks leading up to Christmas break were hectic for our family. We are feeding hay to livestock in two different locations. The kids help with chores. Most nights we are tied up in town at basketball games and dance practice. We are often doing chores with a flashlight.

Our youngest daughter was part of her middle school’s December production of “Alice in Wonderland.” On opening night, we went to watch her acting debut as the Dormouse. Since my husband had to stop at another farm and feed our momma cows, we drove two vehicles. I arrived home first with the kids. As we piled out of the car, we were unloading backpacks, costumes and all the clutter accumulating in the car that week. The kids were running back and forth into the house. The dogs were running around excited to see their people had finally arrived home. Somewhere amidst all of the chaos, the front door was left open a little too long.

You know the song, “Winter Wonderland”? I love that song – gone away is the new bird, here to stay is the new bird…and so on. While we were unloading the car that night, a new bird had flown inside the house. Let’s just say this feathered friend was here to stay. The bird flew up and perched on top of our ceiling fan inside the living room. The kids were loud and the bird was certainly scared.

We needed a plan before this thing started pooping on our furniture! I told the kids to open up all the doors so it could feel the air and hopefully fly back outside. I grabbed my longest broom and tried to shoo the bird back outside with no luck at all. The kids were laughing and screaming as the bird made its way down the hall. We were getting nowhere fast and our ceilings were too high for any of us to reach it.

Finally my husband arrived home to a house full of craziness. He calmly told me he was going to get one of the kids’ BB guns from the safe. I had a fit. I didn’t want him shooting anything in the house. It set a bad example for our children. I was also worried he may not be the perfect shot he thought he was. I lost that argument. He got the BB gun out. With one shot he knocked the bird off the ceiling fan and its feathers were scattered everywhere. What a spectacle!

I will never hear the “Winter Wonderland” song again and not feel a little sad about the new bird who visited us briefly that night. Thankfully one of our boys came home with a bird feeder he made at school. We’ll just stick to taking care of the birds OUTSIDE the house for the rest of the winter. Here’s hoping the New Year will be blessed with friends new and old, feathered and un-feathered. Happy New Year, neighbor.

Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’

Jody HarrisEditorial / OpinionsChaos,christmas,Jody Harris,winter vacationIt’s the first day of winter vacation and our household is filled with the hubbub of getting ready to celebrate Christmas. Our children are all mature enough to help out with baking, shopping and wrapping. Some of them are better at keeping gifts a secret than others. The intense...The Ozarks' most read farm newspaper, reaching more than 58,000 readers in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma