My father died when I was nine years old, leaving my mother to raise our family. My mother was wise. She believed that boys and girls should have things to do. In small Mormon towns, “things to do” meant chores out-of-doors and duties around home. Some of my chores were chopping wood for the cookstove, raking leaves, and mowing the lawn.
Haying time was fun! I liked to help put the hay in our barn. Then my friends and I would play in the hayloft, tumble down the haystack, or hide from each other. How excited we were when we sometimes found eggs in a chicken nest hidden in the hay!
Mother knew we needed to have more to do in our lives than just work and play. Together we read the great stories from the Bible. She taught us to sing, to enjoy church, and to pray.
Mother always kept a cow so that her sons would have what she called “some real responsibility.” This included milking the cow every morning and every night, pitching hay down into the stall for the cow to eat, and watering her morning and night at a nearby stream. Unless we did these chores, the cow would be hungry and thirsty.
There were times when I would be a little late getting home, and then I’d wish I didn’t have to take care of that cow.
One evening when I returned home, I found that she had broken down the fence and run away. I looked in all of the usual places, but I could not find her. I looked everywhere imaginable—but no cow.
It started to grow dark, and I was desperate. I knew that my mother would be worried if she knew the cow was lost. We sold milk to some of our neighbors, and I could picture them waiting for me to take them their fresh milk.
How well I recall that evening! I had been taught to pray, and I knew I could ask the Lord for help. There was a little clump of bushes near the canal, and so I took off my cap, got down on my knees, told the Lord my problem, and asked Him to help me find our cow.
After my prayer, I started walking down the canal bank. And only a few yards from where I had prayed, I found our cow. She was almost hidden in the tall willows by the canal because she was about the same color as the willows. I was grateful my prayer had been answered and that our Heavenly Father had guided my footsteps down the canal bank to where she was.
The many nights my mother knelt by my bed to teach me how to pray helped me learn to talk to our Father in heaven. Ever since the night I prayed for help by that clump of bushes, I have continued to pray for His guidance.
And I know the Lord answers our prayers.