Haunting of the CowChows

little-girl-screamLife at the CowChows is so much fun. I was out back piddling with something the other day when I heard from behind me a very timid, “Hi.”

I turned and there stood one of the neighborhood kids, a blond haired little girl about eight years old. “Hello,” I responded.

We exchanged a few neighborly niceties, and then she asked, “How big is your house?”

I turned and studied the house for a moment and then said, “Oh, I don’t know. Kinda big, I guess. Why?”

“Some of the kids think it’s haunted,” she whispered.

“Oh, it is,” I whispered back and her eyes got very big. “I’m not supposed to talk about it, but there are several ghosts that live in our house.” I looked around to be sure none were listening before continuing, “Some of them are very nice, but some of them scare me sometimes.”

Her mouth dropped open and her stare went from me to the house and back again.”R-r-really,” she stammered, “who are they?”

“Well, there’s the Riverboat Captain. We don’t know for sure but we think he used to drive a boat on the river behind your house and one time when the river was up, like it is now, he fell overboard. He’s kinda grouchy but he’s mostly nice. Then there’s one that we call Grandma because we can hear her softly humming but when we go into the room no one is there, but the rocking-chair is still rocking. Then there’s the old indian chief. His tribe would camp right down there next to the river, and he tells me lots of stories about hunting in these woods and fishing in the river. He once saw a bear right over there in those trees.”

“What about the ones that scare you,” she asked softly.

“Oh,” I said, and I looked around again to be sure none were listening. Her eyes were big again when I looked back. “There’s only one that’s really scary.  You don’t want to meet him. He’s big and kind of hairy all over. Sometimes when he walks he drags one leg like this.” I took a big step toward her and dragged my other boot through the dirt. She backed up. “He only ever laughs when he smells small children and when he does it sounds like this.” I did my best impression of a deranged hyena, and she backed up some more. “He can change the way he looks and sometimes…,” I took another boot-dragging step toward her, “..he makes himself look just like…,”

I didn’t get to finish the story but I’m pretty sure she’ll come back; they always do.

Mischievously yours,

Tim Couch

Changing Perspectives

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


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