Written by Tom Witkowski
Grandmothers pinch their grandchildren on the cheeks, sometimes sneak them chocolates and, every once in a while, inspire them to write a Christmas song involving cows, cowboys and lots of candy canes.
Such was the case for amateur songwriter Greg Adkins, who lives in New York City. Adkins based his tune, “Cows Love Christmas,” on a tale his grandmother, Teresa Witkowski, first told him in the early ’70s when she began visiting he and his family in Daytona Beach, Florida, from Lancaster, New York, a small town outside of Buffalo.
“Grandma Terry,” who passed away in 1998, told her grandson the story of two farmers trapped in the Polish countryside by a snowstorm on Christmas Eve.
The two were forced to spend the night in a barn with a menagerie of farm animals, but to their surprise, when they woke, they found the animals had decorated the barn with ribbons and bows and prepared traditional Polish Christmas dishes. The farmers and animals celebrated together before the men rushed home to spend Christmas morning with their families.
“As a kid, I was fascinated with the idea of animals possessing human characteristics,” says Adkins. “The whole story reminded me of a children’s book come to life.”
At a friend’s Christmas party in 2008, Adkins saw his chance to memorialize the tale when he met music producer Ed Dunne.
“Once Greg explained the premise of the song and sang the chorus,” recalls Dunne, “everyone at the party told me I had to produce it.”
It would be several months before the two met in a studio, but once they did, Cowboy Greg & the Done Goods, as they dubbed themselves, created the single “Cows Love Christmas,” which takes the traditional Polish tale and gives it a country-western twist.
In the new version, the tune is set on Christmas Eve when a couple of cowboys find themselves on a cattle drive. Unfortunately, daylight is dwindling, and the two are forced to camp out before they can reach home for Christmas.
When one of the cowboys wakes at dawn, the disappointment of not being with his family on Christmas morning is tempered by the fact that the herd has decorated the desert, complete with candy canes, tinsel and a nativity. So touched are the cowboys that when they reach the Double K.O. Ranch, they ask the cows what they’d like as a Christmas gift.
“My grandma was the kindest, most gentle woman you could ever meet,” says Adkins, “but she definitely had a mischievous side. I think if she heard what we did with her story, she’d laugh. I also think she’d be pretty proud.” PTD
Watch the video below, and learn more at www.cowslovechristmas.com.