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AMY KIRK: Country gals love big gifts

The kinds of presents rural women receive for Christmas are oftentimes items they view as an extravagance. Many of the gifts they get are Amy Kirk, Daily Republic Columnistthings that help make their lives easier, more efficient, or warmer, so naturally they appreciate them and put them to good use.

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Right after Christmas, several of my farm and ranch women friends posted on Facebook describing with great joy the gifts they got.

An Ardmore ranch wife posted a picture of a new front door she got. My ranch wife friend in Montana was elated that her husband had just finished installing her brand new washer and dryer set. A girlfriend of mine from Oral got a new double oven stove and loves it. One farmwife said she got a new pitch fork — an implement she pointed out that isn’t cheap. Other gifts that were shared were things that benefit women while working outside: new work gloves, insulated coveralls or long underwear made of special material.

It was apparent to me that prior to the holidays, like myself, these ladies were getting by with what they had, whether it pertained to running a household or doing livestock chores. In the eyes of country women, Christmas seems to be the perfect time to justify receiving what we consider extravagant expenditures.

Most often farm and ranch women accept all gifts with appreciation and contentment, but sometimes the gift isn’t a good fit and its purpose can be puzzling. I’m still trying to figure out why a friend’s sister-in-law got an anvil one year. I’m always entertained by the way my longtime Newcastle, Wyo., ranching girlfriend describes the gifts she gets for Christmas. One year her husband got her a new tractor. Uhuh. And he got real fancy new serger sewing machine. This year she and her husband got the same thing: 30 head of bred cows, but in her stocking she got a tow rope, fix-a-flat and a new soldering iron for her stained-glass work. She said her friend in Texas didn’t fare so well; all she got was a new diamond ring.

It’s hard to say whether the gifts these women got were things they wrote Santa about, but by their enthusiasm I’m guessing like me, their gifts had been on their wish list for quite some time. This year, my husband and I went all out and finally got each other a pair of muck boots. I don’t mind near as much the thought of tromping around in the muck once calving time hits.

The only women I know who get excited about new appliances or farm and ranch implements, outerwear, and long johns, are women who have wanted it or were in need of an upgrade for a long time and just made do or couldn’t justify splurging for it. Expensive gifts of this nature provide happiness in useful ways. Such gifts may pertain to work but because of these items, rural women are also among the women who are happier with their jobs.

The gifts that country gals get are typically practical things that enhance their daily life and make their jobs more comfortable or easier. Except maybe those extra 30 bred cows that will have to be calved out. Any farm or ranch wife knows that’s the kind of gift that keeps on giving.