June 1 2020 01:20 PM

Today, forget everything else and just raise a celebratory glass of milk.

I distinctly recall my fifth-grade teacher, Mr. Z. He was a fun and interactive guy, and one of his favorite sayings was “until the cows come home.” He would tack it onto the end of any sentence he could justify. I can still hear him telling our class, “You can add zeros after the decimal point until the cows come home.”

I remember one Sunday near the end of the school year when I got woken up very early in the morning by a variation of this same phrase. “Get up, Maggie! The cows came home.” That was hollered up the stairs at me as my siblings and I quickly threw on our shoes and ran out to the yard to find the heifers we had recently hauled two miles up the road grazing my mom’s lawn.

Although it took us a couple hours to return those heifers to the pasture and repair the fence, I got a kick out of being able to go to school on Monday and telling Mr. Z that the cows had indeed come home.

You see, there are so many horrific, scary, and uncertain things going on in the world today. I know that’s always true, but it has seemed especially apparent these last few months. The older I get, the more I appreciate these moments that we are gifted to stop and get a laugh or celebrate something happy.

I share that anecdote because today is a day to celebrate.

It may seem like the last thing we want to do with low milk prices, uncertain futures, and a world that just can’t get along. However, that’s just the reason we should.

Embrace World Milk Day today.

Pour an extra glass of milk or eat another slice of cheese. Treat yourself to an ice cream cone. Recall an old favorite story that you wouldn’t have had if not for your interactions with dairy people and cows. We all need a reason to celebrate, and I can’t imagine a better one than the beginning of June Dairy Month.

So now, I’ll raise a glass of milk to the men, women, children, and cows that work hard every day to produce this safe and high-quality product. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and until the cows come home.

Maggie Gilles

The author is an associate editor. She covers feeding and nutrition, youth activities, and heads up the World Dairy Expo Supplement. Maggie was raised on a 150-cow dairy near Valley Center, Kansas, and graduated from Kansas State University with degrees in agricultural communications and animal sciences.