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

Bruno the Hornet

Bruno the Hornet
Bruno the Hornet

Greetings,

We’ve had some lite excitement here at the CowChows today. I don’t know if you’re aware of this but there are “House Hornets” in the Ozarks. I thought hornets pretty much stuck to building their nests in the woods far away from meddlesome humans, but apparently they will also build under the eaves of your house. Fortunately, for them, one eave of the CowChows is about thirty feet up in the air.

I knew it was coming, this showdown with the hornets. I had noticed the nest about a month ago when it was the size of a golf ball, but I thought I’d wait and catch them early in the morning when they would be less active. Unfortunately, I don’t do early all that well and time slipped away and I forgot about them. I noticed the nest again this afternoon and it’s now as big as a good sized cantaloupe. My first instinct was to pretend I didn’t see them and hope they would do the same, but then my rational mind spoke up. It said, “Hey, it’s pretty cool today. They wouldn’t even see it coming. What are you waiting for?”

So, I drug out my big ladder and placed it against the house; I extended it notch by notch until it was high enough and close enough to do the job. They seemed surprisingly undisturbed so far but I waited a while to be sure they were calm. When my palms stopped sweating I figured they were probably calm enough so I went back outside and began to creep up the ladder.

At about five feet away I could hear the hum, like being too close to a high voltage power line. It wasn’t a high pitched alarmed hum, but more of a just going about our business hum. So, I kept creeping up. I stopped a couple of feet below the nest and all was well. I pulled my sprayer up to get into position and that’s when the ladder shifted.

It wasn’t much but apparently it sent a vibration through the nest that set off all kinds of alarm bells. In a matter of seconds the casual hum changed to the sound of a pissed off jet engine. I froze there on the ladder hoping they would calm down again, and I waited and I watched. It was then that Bruno the Hornet stuck his head out to see what was going on. He looked around and when he saw me I swear he smiled. I’m not sure but I think he turned back into the nest and put two of his little bug fingers into his mouth and whistled for all the other badass hornets to follow him. I’m not sure because I was half way down the ladder by then and headed for the house.

It’s not that I’m scared of a bunch of bugs. I’m not at all scared of them; it’s the stingers in their butts that bother me. Anyway, I’ve decided that as far as neighbors go we could do worse than a clan of hornets, and I’ve learned it’s often best to go with that first instinct.

Until next time, if you see Bruno I suggest you stay out of his way.

Cordially,

Tim Couch