I was out on a story to feature a beef farm this week in Pennsylvania. They are a commercial beef operation, but they also raise some registered Herefords.

You will get to read about their operation in the Farm and Dairy Progress edition coming out in June, but for now I want to share something that came to mind while I was at the farm.

I was walking around the pasture at the farm for some pictures and found a calf that just kept looking at me. That’s when my memory clicked, and I stood there for a moment looking at the Hereford.

My grandfather was a dairy farmer and milked Holstein cattle. I was very young when he passed away. Actually, I was only in the first grade, but he had already instilled a love of farming in my brothers and me. (I can remember him teaching me to ride horses and going in the barn with him during milking.)

But the best memory I have of him actually revolves around a Hereford heifer. Gasp… yes, a Hereford heifer.

I was sitting on his lap in the living room (don’t ask me how or why this memory is so vivid — let’s just say it’s been over 25 years, but I still remember it perfectly), when he asked me if I wanted a cow.

So after giving my grandpa the answer he wanted — of course, I wanted a cow! — we went to the barn.

Hand in hand, we walked through the barn. The first barn was the home barn, and as we walked, he keeps pointing out some cattle he thinks would be a good project for me.

I kindly point out I want a red one. To this day, I have no idea why I got it in my head that I wanted a red one.

Nothing jumped out at me in the first barn as far as the milking herd went. So we jumped in the pickup truck and drove to a second barn. Nothing. Third barn. Nothing. Fourth barn. Nothing. We drove through the heifer barns, the calf barns and the beef barn. But nothing.

I remember telling my grandpa, “I want a red one.” I had spotted some Herefords at the neighbor’s farm and was immediately drawn to them.

So after the barn tours, we head back into my grandparents’ house. We were sitting back in the chair and he asks me one more time, if I was sure there wasn’t a cow we had seen I would like to have.

I repeated one more time, I wanted a red one.

My grandfather shakes his head and says, “OK, we’ll get you a red one.”

Just then, my dad just walks in the door and my grandfather says, “We are getting her a Hereford from down the road.” (I guess this is where the power of grandchildren come in.)
I remember my dad getting this look on his face, and even says “I wouldn’t have gotten away with this one.”

Not too long after, I got my Hereford. I named her Jingle Bells and, no, it wasn’t anywhere close to Christmas! Remember, I was probably barely 6 at the time. It was just the name I picked out when I decided I wanted a red one! I remember thinking I wanted a red cow and to give her that name.

Of course, I was too young to figure out what my dad meant when he said that to my grandfather. All I knew was that I was getting my red heifer. Years later, as I see my dad with my nieces, I get it.

Sometimes, it just takes a moment and those memories are made forever.

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses with her husband, Kurt. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism.
Kristy Foster Seachrist
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