Holbert: Still plenty to be grateful for

Community spirit in towns all across the country seems to be making a comeback, and isn’t that something we can all be grateful for?

Erin Holbert.

Things have obviously been just a little bit different this year including the current holiday season. Thanksgivings were cancelled or scaled down, Christmas parties aren’t happening for most folks, and the plans for Christmas day are still up in the air. To say the least, this year is one for the history books.

The one thing I’ve been most grateful for this year is that my life on the farm hasn’t changed at all. Everything still needed planted, everything still needed tended to, and everything still needed harvested. Maybe I’m mistaken, but going by day to day activities, I’d say that farmers and ranchers were the least affected out of everyone by the pandemic. Every day we showed up to take care of crops and animals just the same as every other year, and this year that’s something I don’t take for granted.

However, my small community that our farm and family is a part of has been affected, and that’s been something that’s taken some getting used to for everyone. Things may be different, but that doesn’t mean we’re down and out.

Our tiny white church out in the country that boasts a weekly attendance of fewer than 20 folks has switched over to Zoom calls and to try to keep our bills paid and the church going, we mail in our weekly offering. It’s been an adjustment to say the least especially for the folks in the older generation, but at the same time it’s been a good thing. Folks who have moved away and found a life outside of our close-knit community are able to attend Zoom church to hear an old friend they grew up with deliver the sermon and visit with those they haven’t seen in years. Zoom church has also made us all that much more appreciative of the Sundays that we are able to meet in person.

Our town booster club puts on a little Christmas festival every year for the kids complete with a parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus, cookies, and sleigh rides. The easy thing to do would be to cancel it and wait until next year, but the people in the booster club know that this is the only Christmas some kids in town get, so they decided to put it on anyways. Obviously, it’s going to be different, but the kids in town will still get to see Santa in the parade and take home Christmas crafts and treats.


Every year our little church puts on a Christmas program as I’m sure most do, and since our congregation is so small, other kids in the community come out to take part in it. This hour-long play with a few off-key musical numbers would never win any kind of award or positive review, but there’s something special about watching kids act out the nativity scene and sing “Silent Night.” Since there’ll be no Christmas program this year, my parents (and by my parents I mean my mom told my dad it was happening) are hosting a live drive through nativity scene for the community at our farm. Not only are they volunteering their time and resources, but other farmers and folks in the area are donating theirs as well by bringing in animals or playing a part in the scene. I have a feeling it’s going to turn into a new tradition around these parts.

This year has put us all through the ringer, and sometimes it seems like there’s no end in sight, but when you think about it, a lot of positives have come out of it as well. The ingenuity and resiliency of rural areas and small towns have kept things going ... albeit in different ways, but still going.

Community spirit in towns all across the country seems to be making a comeback, and isn’t that something we can all be grateful for? The lesson this year has taught us is appreciation. Appreciation for what we already had and for the folks who are working their hardest to make the most of this year for everyone else. This holiday season will still be difficult, but there’s still plenty to be thankful for when you really stop to think about it.

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