We like to think of the CowChows as a place of higher learning, and not just because it sits at the top of the hill. For example, I learned a valuable life lesson a little while ago. Actually, I re-learned it but like most good life lessons once is never enough.
You may recall that during this past Summer the neighborhood kids were torturing me daily by riding their four-wheelers up and down the road all day long; up and down, up and down, all day long. I’m not sure which was worse, the sound of the machine growling its way up the hill, the sound of it whining its way down the hill, or the two minutes in between when you couldn’t hear it but knew it was coming back. It was brutal because they took it in shifts and never let up. But, wanting to be a good neighbor and not do any permanent emotional damage to their young psyches, I smiled and waved and called them names they couldn’t hear.
Then one day, the little girl next door was out riding a bicycle. I told her how much I liked her bike and how pretty it was, and I praised her bike for being so wonderfully quiet. Over the next several weeks any time I saw her out riding her bike I was sure to tell her how nice it was and how much I liked it. It was working like a charm. Suddenly, the four-wheelers fell silent and all the neighborhood kids were riding bicycles. Peace came once again upon the CowChows, and it was great.
A little while ago I was out messing around in the yard and I looked up to see the little girl next door riding her bike. I waved and she waved back. I called out, “That sure is a nice bike you’ve got.”
She looked at me for a long moment, saying nothing. I was about to repeat my compliment when she suddenly screamed, “You can’t have my bicycle!” And, then she rode off as fast as she could go.
I realized that I had gone too far. I’d commented on her bike one too many times, and sometimes the difference between achieving the desired result and becoming the “freaky bicycle guy” is just knowing when to shut up.
Shortly thereafter, I began hearing growling and whining again. So far it’s just me, but I expect the four-wheelers to start up any time.