Changing Perspectives

Free-wheelin 3-Wheeler
Free-wheelin 3-Wheeler

Greetings,

Today, I find myself reminiscing about times gone by. Perhaps it’s the warm Spring weather or the sudden bloom of the season that I am reminded of my youth. When I was a kid, and by kid I mean somewhere in my twenties, I rode various motorized toys. I rode dirt bikes when I could get my hands on them; for a while three-wheelers were all the rage and so I naturally had to have a couple of those; and for a short time I had a Honda Odyssey. If you’re not familiar with the Odyssey it was like a one person dune buggy but with all-terrain tires. I was partial to Honda so all of my toys were, of course, red and all of them went very fast and made lots of noise.

Back then, we frequently had family ‘get-togethers’ at Grandma’s house. She lived in a small farming town in southwest Oklahoma. I would often load up my current toy and haul it out to Grandmas for these ‘get-togethers.’ We had a large extended family with lots of cousins and uncles and aunts and nephews and nieces. We’d take turns all afternoon racing up and down the street and around the block. One time Grandma even took the Odyssey out for a spin and rolled it over. This wasn’t that unusual for my Grandma, though. I remember thinking what fun it was and how cool it was to have these toys that everyone could enjoy.

Now twenty-some years later, I have neighbors who have four-wheelers and go-carts and they race them up and down the road all day long. They’ve worn an off-road trail around their yard that brings them within fifty feet of our house. And, every time I hear the roar of one of them starting up I want to reach for my shotgun. I don’t want to shoot the rider but I find myself speculating as to the exact kill-shot of a four-wheeler.

Strange how our perspectives change with time. What was once big fun is now all noise. I wonder which of Grandma’s neighbors was gritting their teeth and waiting for the day to be over. I wonder if I was ever viewed along the sites of a twenty-gauge barrel. I do not wonder, but am sure, that I am lucky to be alive.

So this Summer when you’re out playing with your toys, tuning up your boat or motorcycle, or washing your car with the stereo cranked up all the way, be considerate of old people. We don’t have as much patience as you might think and some of us don’t have a lot to lose.

Until next time, silence is golden and Light is right.

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch

Toby – Brad Pitt of Min Pins

Toby - Brad Pitt of Min Pins
Toby - Brad Pitt of Min Pins

Greetings,

Life has been a bit – unsettled – here at the CowChows this week. Through a confluence of happenstance, ambiguous communications, and questionable judgment my wife and I became the proud custodians of a bouncing boy puppy. His name is Toby; he’s a Miniature Pinscher; he weighs about eleven pounds and stands twelve inches tall at the shoulders, and looks exactly like a tiny black and tan Doberman Pinscher. He’s smart as a whip, fast as lightning, and cute as a button. He’s adorable, but he’s an eleven pound straw on my back.

A week ago I was a man who had, at long last, begun to feel a sense of balance and wellbeing. Business was still down but I could see and sense that it would be okay provided I continued to work steadily toward the goals I had set. The yard work and home maintenance projects were whelming but not overly so. I had even carved out some time for study, reflection and writing. I had time for work, time to enjoy being at home with BG, and time to indulge my personal inclinations. It was a juggling act but I had a handle on it. Then along came Toby.

He’s a good dog. In fact I would be hard put to imagine a better pup. He’s good natured, affectionate and breed-standard perfect, but he requires near constant attention and supervision. It feels like I’ve gone from juggling three bright shining spheres to trying to catch one hyperactive jumping bean. We’ve discussed trying to find him a new home. After all, he’s young and energetic and loves to be around kids and other animals, and we’re – well – none of those things.

But then, I think maybe it’s just a matter of finding a new balance. Perhaps a little patience is called for. Surely there must be a way to juggle three shining spheres and a jumping bean. Although, if you know of someone who would give him a happy and loving home please let me know. And so it goes – decisions, decisions. What’s best for him? What’s best for us? Can we live with him? Could we live without him? We acted impetuously in bringing him home, but now he’s here and is quickly wriggling his way into our hearts.

I guess the lesson I’ve learned here is that spontaneity is like puppy crap. Sometimes it falls your way; sometimes it doesn’t.

Until next time, watch where you step.

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch

Survivor – Easter Bunny

A very lucky Easter Bunny
A very lucky Easter Bunny

Greetings,

Happy Easter! Or, as B.G. says, “Happy Eather Bunny!”

Well, I imagine by now you’ve had your fill of Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies and you’ve probably heard all about the resurrection of Jesus, so I thought I’d just tell you how I nearly killed the Easter Bunny yesterday.

See, I have this thing about mowing the grass. I’m pretty sure it stems from my childhood. I have two brothers, an older and a younger, and when we were growing up the grass got mowed as a result of something. The brother who did the mowing had either lost a competition to the other two, or was being punished for something he had done. A third possible reason was simple torture, but in actuality my parents are saints and tortured us far less than we deserved. So basically, he who mowed the grass was either a loser or a criminal. As a result of this mindset I tend to put off mowing as long as possible.

Yesterday I finally dragged the mower out of mothballs and set out to mow. I had been at it a while and whittled it down to a small area in the front yard. The grass was tall and thick and I was going very slowly when all of a sudden the ground erupted in bunnies. A doe rabbit had chosen the spot to build her nest and had so well camouflaged it that I never saw it. If the babies hadn’t panicked and sprang from the nest I would’ve mowed right over them and the mulching mower would’ve sucked them right up into the blade. If breaking a mirror gets you seven years of bad luck I wonder what mowing baby bunnies on Easter Eve would amount to.

In the end I chased them down, tucked them back into the nest, and mowed around it. I went out today to check on them and the nest was empty and they were nowhere to be found. Their mother came in the night and carried them all away to safety. That’s the scenario I have chosen and I’d prefer not to hear any alternative ones, thank you very much.

So, what’s the moral of this story? Don’t take the Easter Bunny for granted? Don’t put things off too long? Mower’s not always better? I have no idea. I’m just glad I didn’t have to scrape baby bunnies out from under my mower.

Until next time, look on the Lighter side of life.

Cordially,

Tim Couch

Send a FairTax Tea Bag to Washington

Send this tea bag to Washington
Send this tea bag to Washington

There has been a lot of noise made recently about sending tea bags to Washington to express our growing concerns about unfair and exorbitant taxes. While I think this is a great idea in theory it is not very practical. For one thing the  tea bags will likely not get past the security measures at the Post Office, and for another you would be paying yet another tax in the form of postage to get it there.

Here is the next best thing to inundating our elected officials with an office full of tea bags. Inundate their inboxes with thousands of images of tea bags.  Be sure and include a message regarding your concerns about our tax system. Be respectful, as you would to your neighbor, but not submissive. They need to understand how you feel.

You can find contact links to your elected officials, both Federal and State, by going to the Congress.org web site. Just type in your zip code and you’re off.

For your convenience here is my favorite tea bag image. Feel free to use it or find your own favorite. You can find lots of tea bag images here.

Supporting your government is a duty; taxation is a burden; excessive taxation is tyranny.  Let Freedom Ring.

Sincerely,

Tim Couch

the Guys

I took my truck in to have some service work done this morning. After dropping it off I walked down to the local McDonald’s for breakfast. Just as I was finishing off a second McMuffin my phone rang, and as these things go my one hour service job suddenly became a three hour repair job. As I had some time on my hands I took the opportunity to do a little people watching.

I had taken up temporary residence in a quiet corner of the restaurant where I had a pretty good view of the action. I watched as the customers came and went. I observed the bustle behind the counter as the employees went about their business. It was all pretty ordinary fare for a Friday morning McDonald’s, even down to the “Guys.”

The Guys are as much a staple of McDonald’s as is Ronald. No matter where in the world you go to a McDonald’s restaurant, during a particular part of the day, most every day of the week you will find, the Guys. They are a group of men, usually retired but not always, who gather over cups of steaming coffee for discussion. They sit and sip coffee and discuss current events and politics and philosophy and girls and cars and physical ailments and absent friends and whatever else comes up. And, at some point someone will approach their table and with genuine cheer they will say, “Hi Guys!”

But, there was something different about the Guys this morning. Maybe it was the way they were positioned around the table that made it look more like a Board meeting than a gathering of the Guys. Perhaps it was their obvious ease with their surroundings that made them seem somehow, authoritative. I watched them, these silver haired elders, as they discussed the current topic with energy and animation. It occurred to me that if you replaced the baseball caps and the denim and fleece and flannel and tennis shoes with expensive suits, shirts, ties, and dress shoes, and then if you plucked these men from their seats and deposited them around a conference table in a swank office they would look exactly like the men of Congress and other politicians that we see on television.

And why couldn’t they be? What’s the difference between these men sitting around a table at McDonald’s, and the men and women on Capitol Hill whom we entrust to make decisions that effect our lives and the lives of our children? Is it intelligence? I don’t think so. This Country is swarming with intelligent people, and our politicians have not proven to be exceptionally intelligent or insightful. Is it wealth? Some of the wealthiest have tried and couldn’t get elected. The only difference between the Guys at McDonald’s and the Guys on the Hill is connections. Those with the connections get the votes.

So, why do we entrust them with our lives? The Guys at McDonald’s looked like a smart upstanding group of men, but I wouldn’t entrust them with my life or the future of my children. And yet, that’s exactly what we do with the Guys on the Hill every day. We elect ’em and forget ’em, and then if our lives aren’t better when the next election cycle comes around we elect someone else who promises change. The change we need is not going to come from government or occur within government. The change is going to have to come from us. Ideas, Solutions, Insistence; that is the change we need.

The time is come to pay attention, to step up, and to make your voice heard. Stop looking to government for the answers. Government doesn’t hold the answers; government holds the purse strings, and as long as it does you are at its mercy. Learn about the FairTax plan. It returns control of your money to you. It’s our best hope of restoring sanity to our government. And, it will only happen when enough people rise up and demand it.

Sincerely,

Tim Couch