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

Boys being boys

Boys are smart alecksI was out back of the CowChows a little while ago poking around in my collection of undetermined purposes. I’m working on a new project. I got the idea from the Lazy-Susan in the kitchen, but in my design my La-Z-Boy sits on a giant turntable in the center of a donut shaped desk. On top of the donut will be two laptop computers, a television, a compact refrigerator, a toaster oven, a coffee maker, and of course the universal remote control. I call it the Youniverse. It’s going to be revolutionary.

While I was poking around in the pile looking for parts a couple of kids were playing shoot-em-up next door. They were running around chasing each other, making “p-keww” and “kapow” sounds, and arguing about who got who. I wasn’t too concerned about the outcome of the game so long as someone got shot, but then I suddenly realized they had gone silent. I first thought they had simply gone inside but a stealthy giggle told me that was not the case.

I turned to discover two young boys peering over the retaining wall that divides the properties. One I recognized as my neighbor, Mason. He’s the little brother of the little blond haired girl who regularly torments me. The other boy I didn’t recognize; possibly because I didn’t know him but more likely because both boys were making their best horror face. With their nose pushed up and their eyes pulled down and tongues sticking out and heads waggling from side to side they did look barely human.

I watched them for a moment wondering if I had a face in my own arsenal that could send them screaming for Mommy, but decided instead to take the tack of an adult. “You should be careful,” I said, “Your face could freeze like that and then you’d look that way forever.”

“Hunh unhh,” they replied in unison.

“It’s true,” I said. “Every time you make a face at someone you run the risk of your face freezing like that, and then you’ll have to wear that face for the rest of your life.”

“How do you know?” asked the little stranger boy.

“Well, that’s what my Mommy told me,” I said, “and Mommies don’t lie.”

Mason’s eyes grew wide, and then he shrugged his little shoulders and said, “Well, can’t say she didn’t warn ya.” And they ran off laughing and shooting at each other.

I think it’s going to be a long year.


Tim Couch