Last January, I saw the email call for submissions from Christmas Press for their 2017 anthology, A Christmas Menagerie.
I spent several afternoons devising a story based on memories my mother had told me, about a Christmas she had on the family dairy farm at Federal in the 1930s when she was a girl.
Although I have made up the characters and the plot, there really was a cranky cow called Pansy who gave my mother a black eye when being milked.
All their cows had names. This photo isn’t Pansy, the cranky cow. When we were going through photos, sorting out names and places, Mum told me it was Anzac, a nice cow born on Anzac Day.
The surprise Christmas meal was also true, and I know that Mum and her family had sing-a-longs with friends for which my grandfather played the fiddle. They were Methodists, and music was essential to their lives.
We celebrate Christmas without her now, but I hope Mum would be pleased that a story she gave me so many elements for is now in print.