Dog don’t know

Dogs just need to be loved
Dogs just need to be loved

I stopped in to see a friend the other day. Our paths of late had taken us in different directions and it was time to do a little catching up. We were sitting out on his front porch enjoying a cool drink and watching the sun inch closer to the trees. We had gotten off on one of our usual circuitous discussions and were entering the second lap when his neighbor pulled into the driveway next door. Actually, he didn’t so much pull in as he came in for a landing. We heard him coming a block or two away, and it looked as if he wasn’t going to get slowed down in time to make his driveway. He did though, and came to a screeching stop just short of the garage door.

As his truck door flew open and his boot hit the ground, his dog came running around the corner of the house to greet him. He was a regular sized dog and looked to be a mix of shepherd, retriever and probably some other breeds as well. He ran up to within a few feet of the man, and then stopped and cowered as if he could sense the man’s sour mood. He didn’t run away but he didn’t come any closer either. He turned partly away from the man, his tail wagging and his head down.

The man slammed the door of his truck, growled something that we could not hear, and kicked at the dog with his big heavy boot. The dog scampered away and the boot never came close, but you could tell it wasn’t the first time he had dodged that boot. Funny thing was, the dog didn’t run away. He stayed out of reach of the man and his boot, but he never ran away and his tail never stopped wagging. He followed the man until he was inside the house and after a minute or so he crawled under the man’s truck and layed down.

I looked over at my friend who was slowly shaking his head. “They been going through a rough patch lately,” he said. “He lost his job and she’s had some health problems. He’s picking up work where he can. He’s basically a good guy but here lately he comes home like that more often than not. From what I can tell he cools down once he’s inside with the wife and kids, but that poor old dog has caught the brunt of it a few times. I don’t think he’s ever actually kicked the dog. He yells at it and kicks at it, but the dog always comes back for more. Actually, I know for a  fact that he loves that dog, but I guess he needs to blow off some steam and that dog is always the first one he sees when he comes home. Anyway, his problems have got nothing to do with the dog.”

“Yeah, I guess,” I said, “but the dog don’t know the difference.”

Life among the Trees and Vines

I hope the pleasures of your day blend together like beans and cornbread.

I went for a walk around the place today and as I walked through the trees, taking in the cool winter air and feeling the sun on my face, I happened to notice a vine way up in the top of a walnut tree. It surprised me because while I knew the vine was growing there I wasn’t aware how high it had climbed. Either it was always obscured by the leaves of the tree, or perhaps I just never bothered to look up. The tree hasn’t suffered because of the vine, probably it isn’t even aware of it. But just by being there, by standing strong and tall and straight, this tree has enabled a spindly little vine to climb higher than it ever could have climbed on its own.

The tree was only doing what trees do, and the vine merely accepted the opportunity to climb the tree because that’s what vines do. Doing what comes naturally and accepting the opportunities that the Universe presents. Maybe, I thought, life isn’t supposed to be any more complicated than that.


Tim Couch

Old Shoes and Stew


I hope your day is like a perfectly seasoned stew.

Speaking of stew, life is good here at the CowChows. We do our best to keep the heat at a gentle simmer; we occasionally add a new ingredient; we stir frequently, and season and taste often; and when it threatens to boil over we make adjustments as quickly as possible. The recipe may not suit everybody, but we love it.

I find myself in a bit of a quandary and I’m hoping you can help. I have these shoes and I can’t decide what to do with them. I dearly love these shoes. They are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn and they have served me well for years. A while back, I took them in to have another half-sole put on. When I went to pick them up my shoe guy told me this was the last time. He said he had done all he could, that they had out-lived their usefulness and not to bring them back again.

Always before, as soon as I got into the car I changed from whatever I was wearing into these shoes. But, not this time. I sat them on the passenger seat and looked at them. My faithful old shoes were at the beginning of their last life. I couldn’t decide what to do.

On one hand, I could wear them and take pleasure in the comfort of them as I always have. In which case, they will be completely worn out in a matter of months and that will be the end of them. On the other hand, I could set them aside and only wear them occasionally while I try to break-in another pair of shoes. But, that seems hardly fair considering the years of service they’ve given me. I know they’re just shoes but they do have soles, or at least half-soles. Don’t they deserve some consideration?

So, you see my dilemma. Do I use them up in the design and purpose for which they were made, and then move on? Or, do I place them on a shelf where they will last forever, but serve no purpose? Any advice would be appreciated. My feet are getting cold.

Happy birthday to Brothers George Washington and Paul Wilkerson, Jr.

Until next time, may the Light of your being guide others safely through the storm.

Fraternally yours,

Tim Couch