Time Travel – not all it’s cracked up to be

Happy kids on a toboggan in the snowI experienced time travel today.

When we woke this morning the CowChows lay under a seven inch thick blanket of new snow. It was early; my neighbors had not yet ventured out and so the snow blanket lay pure and undisturbed. All was quiet; save the distant rush of the river and occasional birdsong it was as if the entire world still slept. As I stood at the window sipping fresh hot coffee, tendrils of smoke climbed from neighboring chimneys and curled skyward. And I thought, “What the hell am I doing up this early?” And, I went back to bed.

Some time later I was awakened by the sound of an angry hornet. I peered out through the frosted window pane and saw my neighbor whizzing down the road on his four-wheeler. Behind the noisy contraption and attached by a length of rope was a plastic toboggan with two happily screaming kids onboard. My first thought was, “Wow, a spill at that speed could hurt those kids pretty bad.”

My next thought was, “Man, that looks like fun.”

I was only going down to watch, I swear. But when I got down there and saw their beaming smiles and wind stung cheeks, when I heard their joyful screams and laughter, and as I stood there on the hillside with the other kids waiting their turn I couldn’t help but feel a thrill. Of course, I would have been perfectly happy to share in their fun vicariously, but when the little blond haired girl from next door turned to me and sweetly asked, “Would you like a ride,” well, what could I say?

Three small children took each arm and assisted me in lowering myself onto the toboggan. With animated chatter they instructed me to keep my feet inside, hang on tight, don’t fall off, and one taunting little voice said, “Don’t pee your pants like Jeffrey did.”

Finally I was ready. I squared myself on the toboggan, gripped the sides, and just as I was giving the nod to go I heard a voice from up the hill and behind me, “TIMOTHY LYNN COUCH!!”

I turned; my neighbor gunned the engine; the toboggan jumped out from under me, and I went sprawling in the snow. Suddenly, I was ten years old again; I’d just been caught in red-handed mischief, and all the other kids were laughing at me. As I lumbered up the hill rubbing my butt a sing-song voice whispered, “Timmy got in trouble.”

Time travel, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Frigidly yours,

Tim Couch

Live Free

baby-flagI stepped outside a while ago just to drink in the day, and what a beautiful day it is. The neighbors to one side, a young recently married couple, chatted intimately while grilling their supper. Beyond them, another neighbor meandered about with a garden sprayer tending his lawn. To the other side neighborhood children played and laughed and squealed with joy or excitement or surprise; their lilting laughter wafted across the valley like birdsong.

I looked down the hill to another neighbors home. With one arm he was loading construction tools into the back of his truck in preparation for the coming workday. In the other he cradled his infant son not willing to put him down even long enough to load his truck.

Kids wandered between houses; neighbors stood in their yards and conversed; tires sang on the far-off highway as more-distant neighbors went to and fro. And, as I stood and watched the world evolve around me I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

This country we live in is the freest the world has ever known. The time in which we live is among the most productive, prosperous and progressive in the history of mankind. Few of us have known what it means to go hungry. Most of us have never known mortal fear. All of us have the freedom to pursue that which we believe will fulfill us.

The freedoms that we take so much for granted may be given by God, but they can be taken by man. I wonder what it must be like to live only at the will of another, to live without hope, to live and yet not live. Freedom is a precious thing, even more precious than life itself. It must be earned everyday, guarded with diligence, protected with ferocity, and endowed with generosity.

The freedoms that we have, and have enjoyed for only the last two hundred and thirty three years, are the one thing our descendants can not live without. Live Free.

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch