I fell in love with my husband, Brian, for many reasons. Up until now, I didn’t know that one of those would be his mad skill at refrigeration installation. He swept me off my feet with intelligence, wit, humor and attention to detail. I also loved his spirit and willingness to serve others without hesitation.

All that has been put to the test serving our extended family on countless projects, cattle drives and thankless chores. But for some reason, his sacrifice and willingness to help design and install a new walk-in freezer and refrigerator at my parent’s ranch simply tops them all.

One of our business ventures has been Lone Pine Conoco, south of Hamilton. From the moment we began construction in 1997, Brian has been involved in every detail. As a result, he’s our family’s resident expert on refrigeration.

The cooler and freezer are as vital to a ranch operation as a tractor – just not as glamorous and never at the top of the list for capital improvements. From storing bulk groceries for three square meals for 10-15 ranch hands to storing vaccines and medicines – we couldn’t live without sufficient cold storage.

So the day the old refrigeration system blew it’s last cold breath was truly tragic.  Brian painstakingly measured and re-measured the space in the basement where the largest and most efficient system could be installed. He compensated for old electrical and all the variances an old ranch house provides. He ordered all the supplies including the compressor and condenser, wall material and shelving. For two days he worked steady and installed every bit. One night he wouldn’t stop until the caulking was complete.

My brother was impressed but could only shake his head and tease, “All because two people fell in love.”

It has been an emotional event for my mother. At one point she even texted me: “Going down to the cooler is like a religious pilgrimage.  I think I saw the image of the Virgin Mary on the door.” She also has a great sense of humor.  Because food chores never cease, my husband has done more to simply her life than anyone has done in years. She is a hard working ranch woman and deserved a little love from the farm budget. It’s always easy to justify the purchase of another farm implement or tractor or more cows, but this time, the investment was all for her and of course everyone else reaps the benefits by default.

To see my mom that happy, it’s hard for me to describe the level of gratitude I feel. It couldn’t have been a more romantic reveal – even if that was the last thing on Brian’s mind.

His attention to detail is what made all the difference in this first class system. The shelves were designed to be the exact size of the vaccine boxes or 10 dozen eggs or crates of bottled peaches and pears. He dreamt about it at night and woke with brilliant ideas to make it even better.

“If you’re going to do it, do it right,” he said at the time. But that’s his mantra for everything he does – with our businesses, his church/community service and all his work for our family.

My gratitude swelled to a whole new level this holiday season for my man and his mission to help our family succeed.