Yesterday morning I awoke at 4:30 a.m., grabbed a big to-go cup of coffee and drove 2 1/2 hours to pick up a pig. Then I turned around and drove 2 1/2 hours home again…uh…jiggidy jig. I used an entire tank of gas and, in this economy, that means Louie is a *very* expensive pig. A few hours later Louie slept peacefully between me and my husband while Joe gently scratched the pig’s back with a bamboo back-scratcher and the kids ooooh-ed and ahhh-ed over how cute is.

I  made the right decision adding Louie to our farm.

The situation reminded me of another time. We were living in a strange town and we were unemployed. We were scared and confused and hurting. My niece was visiting and she and I had a girls’ day out. I rarely had a day away from my toddler children and it felt like a celebration in the midst of turmoil. There wasn’t much to do in the small South Dakota town besides go to Wal-Mart so we drove around the town wondering what to do with our freedom.  I spotted a pet store.

“Stop the car! We’re buying a hamster!”

That day I spent $20 on a black hamster we named Mika Oprah Jackson. My husband was a bit confused over why I thought it was okay to spend money on a rodent when we were in such dire financial straits and I admitted  I didn’t really know why I had done such an irresponsible thing. The next day, though, as the entire family gathered around Mika’s cage and watched her spin her wheel and climb around her cage, Joe whispered in my ear, “a hamster was exactly what we needed.”

For our family, a hamster was marvelous morale and morale was something we desperately needed at that time.  Never underestimate morale boosters. They are priceless.



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