Just when you think that certain experiences are behind you, you look up and there is one ahead of you. While recently at my country retreat known as Brief Recess, I went out to the barn to check on the tractor and noticed a fleeting shadow as I approached the door. I paused and looked again, closely. Then I heard his voice.
“Come on inside here before you get sunstroke out there with no hat,” the familiar voice called out.
I walked on inside to the coolness of the barn. My eyes adjusted and there he was, just twirling something like screw driver with a leather string through the handle around his index finger. He was wearing the same white shirt with the familiar pall mall cigarette hanging from his lip.
What, I wondered, was he doing here? Did he have some wisdom to impart about the crazy current happenings in our country and the world? I fumbled around and finally spoke to him. “It’s been over five years since we last talked, I think.”
“Well,” he grunted, “you seemed to be kinda perturbed and I didn’t want to see you bust your bonnet over whatever you got in your craw. Had some time off and thought I would drop in and see how you were doing.”
I related that I had retired from the judging business, started doing a little gardening and traveling around in the world.
“But something ain’t right, is it?” he inquired.
“Nope,” I admitted. “The world seems to be getting a little crazy in some respects and I feel sorta powerless as one person to do anything about it.”
“Does the way that the nation is behaving in the world, does it kinda remind you of the alpha dog in the pen full of hounds at feeding time?” He said while grinning broadly.
“You know, that is sorta the feeling I get; what with all the frustration everybody is venting about politics, about the lack of jobs, and the feeling that everybody’s standard of living is in jeopardy. I mean we don’t seem to see a need to maintain the status quo, but just seem to keep on with each individual just wanting more and more.”
“Yep, that’s lead dog behavior in the pen all right,” he remarked. “Reckon the dog getting put in a pen all by his self will calm him down any?”
“Not sure what you’re getting at here,” I replied. “But sometimes I do separate out the big dog if he gets too rough on the others, eating more than his share and all“.
“Think about it,” he said. “The nature of the world has a balance to it. When one part starts acting up, another part acts in a way to provide a counter balance. What you got to hope for is that no one part gets so caught up in its sense of individuality that it forgets it is a part of the rest. It is the same with the dog pen.”
“And so,” I asked, “your point is what?”
He looked at me thoughtfully and replied, “you gotta hope that the dogs don’t all get to snarling and fighting to the point that they tear down the whole darned dog pen.”
As I pondered this point, I heard thunder overhead, looked back at the barn door, then looked at where he had been. He was gone, but I thought I heard him chuckling somewhere in the eternal distance.