Originally posted by Jarom Lunt, on Facebook.
Long post warning.
So this cup represents a lot to me.
You see it is the last cup of milk that I will drink produced at Lunt’s Dairy. It is the ending of an era and the turning of a page that has been written for the past just over 100 years.
It represents the blood, sweat, and tears of my father, his brothers, and his cousins that grew up on the dairy and many that dedicated their lives to the success of the operations, before them was their fathers who did the same. Who saw it survive the Great Depression. Before them it was all started by my great grandfather Broughton and his brother Heaton Lunt.
The Dairy industry has been full of ups and downs during those many years, but through resilience, hard work, and perseverance they made it through it all. The Dairy has always been coupled with the farm land which they worked to produce feed for the cows. Which was key to its success especially when feed cost were high and other operation were shutting down they remained because they had these assets and the knowledge and skill to do so. Many of these years they also had the ranches. The entire operation has lasted as long as it has because of smart business decisions, many of which were not easily made, hard work, sacrifice, service, being thrift, and faith.
Once again a hard business decision was made and this time it was to discontinue the dairy operations. I know this must have been a very difficult decision to make for those family members that are running the operations today and I am glad I am not in their shoes. While I love and am proud of the entire family operation and legacy that it is. The dairy holds a special place in my heart and life. You see growing up my father had the assignment of running the dairy’s day to day operations. When I was very little I was given tasks such as standing in the gate when sorting cows, feeding the new born calves, picking up rocks, and my favorite assignment (really self given, but I was good at it) annoying my older brothers.
By the time I was 8 I would take a milking shift once a week on Saturday, washing tanks with my brothers, picked up rocks out of the corrals and the farm field usually with my grandfather and several cousins, hoeing weeds in the fields with Uncle Elvin, and poisoning gophers with my grandfather. When I was 12 the responsibilities grew to pulling calves, doctoring cows, helping the vet when he would come, spreading manure on the fields, and fixing the corral fences.
When I was about 14, my 2 older brothers had gone off to college and their missions; making me my dads oldest son so when he was gone I would get up in the mornings and help the hired milkers, start the milking, doctor the cows, it was also about this age that I started sorting cows from the list given to me by my father for different reasons. Also about this age is when the barn was starting to wear down and so Bradley and I spent many days between the morning and afternoon milking shifts fixing and patching the warn out pipes and steal to give them extra life. By the tome I was 16 I was learning to artificially inseminate, give IV’s, and be taught to perform some surgeries by the vet and could do most anything that needed done around the dairy.
As a young kid the dairy was a place I loved to be. I loved being around my uncles, grandparents, and cousins working and playing. It was always a treat when other cousins who didn’t live in town would come and visit. I was surrounded by great examples of hard work and service, being taught those same traits, and many more such as honestly and integrity. It was always a treat to go to Aunt Irmas and get gummy bears, frozen grapes, or if you were really lucky she would have some freshly made sherbet in the freezer. Aunt Ethel seemed to always have Carmel’s. Milking with the Hansen girls I always hoped Aunt Beth would bring her bacon pancakes and that they would share, which they were pretty good at doing. Grandma Shirley always had something to eat and a treat. My favorites were chili beans and enchiladas but there were too many great meals there to remember them all.
As I got older it wasn’t so much all fun and games. It became more of a place I had to be while my friends were getting together and I was at work and a place where my grandparents needed me more to help take care of their yard and garden as they were slowing down. I didn’t mind that as I enjoyed being around them and learning from them. I would also help my grandmother cook and she could cook. Even when she couldn’t see anymore. She could tell by the sound, smell and taste what it needed and if the consistency was right it seemed. She would still have you taste whatever was being cooked and ask what you thought it needed. They were people that played a big part in shaping me. My grandfather was in the truck with me when I got my first ticket and I was underage. When the officer asked him if he knew I didn’t have a license he said no he didn’t and that I drove him around all the time.
As I have grown older though I have realized I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is those things that have given me the habits and love for work, and cooking that I possess today.
The dairy is part of a legacy, my family’s legacy, and I am proud of it. This cup of milk means more to me than anyone can ever know. The taste is sweet, a bitter sweet knowing it will be my last. I am proud of the things it has given me and taught me. I am sad the decision had to be made but I am glad that it was made on the terms it was made under and that it wasn’t because of hardships but because it is what those involved thought would be best moving forward. The cows will be missed, as weird as it may sound, the smell will be missed but the memories made, the lessons learned, the lives shaped, the hearts touched will remain and the legacy of once was will continue on.