News from Vermont #263 - Dog Talk
May 30th, 2012
Hello again Maple People.
It's Sunday morning and I sit here at the keyboard waiting for the coffee to sink in and pondering ideas about my next story; what to do... tractors, seasons, trees...I "plug" in the ideas one word at a time like I built the woodpile yesterday, one block at a time, but the single words remain scattered, alas, random chunks of wood all over the ground. "Gosh this is hard work" I think, ready to don my gloves and go back to the woodpile.
Out the window I see Betsy returning from her early morning jaunt with the dogs. Yesterday she was commenting on her schedule of late, "like a farmer" she said, in bed by eight and up at five. She said something else interesting: "I'm raising those dogs like I wish I'd brought up the boys...light, loose, happy." I suddenly had my subject..."the dogs", our current children.
Parents always think theirs are the best kids in the world. Dog owners think the same way about their dogs; we're no exception on both counts. Our boys, Robby and Tommy, remain "the best" as young men but are both a bit too "serious". Betsy continually questions her style of parenting when they were young...."Was I too rough on them?" she asks. I carry regrets about my role as their father as well but, unfortunately, we can't go back and "do it again"...or can we?
Tom Morse, eight generatrion Vermont Sugarmaker holding them at the gate!
The dogs, Averill and Fern, are Black Labs. Black Labs are, of course, the best, the most lovable...is there any other kind of dog? In a way, Betsy has started a bad thing with 'em because, again like a farmer, there's never a morning off. They're both up at the crack of dawn clamoring for their walk. She gets up; they follow her, sulking when she closes them out of the bathroom. She goes to the coffee pot, they're there. She sits to get the first sip...four beautiful brown eyes shout "C'mon Betsy, let's go!" And when she finally dons her rain slicker, heavy jacket, or whatever attire is appropriate for that Vermont day and puts on her shoes, they're like race horses at a gate.
The three of them head out for the woods. Each dog has something...a carrot, a tennis ball, a bone...Fern, the younger one, thinks they're all balls but Averill knows the difference. Their first stop these days is the vernal pool up at the top of the hill. Splash...they're both in faster'n a bolt of lightning. They wildly paddle for a stick..."Can you believe that? That's awesome...a STICK!" they say. One time Betsy called me out there just to watch them handle a long stick; both dogs clamped on each end, paddling in tandem toward the shore! The other day she came back bragging about her dogs. "We ran into a huge herd of deer" she said. "There were white flags everywhere and those dogs were off!" She said they came back immediately though when she called, tails between their legs...they know right from wrong for Mom.
A while back, I was the morning person with the dogs. Betsy had worked all night and was still out when "nature called" Averill and Fern. We followed the usual routine, up the woods ski trail, a stop at the vernal pool for stick time, and then we went out into the open pasture. Although the dogs were totally "into" their walk, they acted a bit like school kids do with a substitute; all of a sudden they disappeared over a hill. I worried because the one time they got in trouble with the neighbors was on a "solo" jaunt. I started hollering "Averill, Fern...c'mon...Averill, Fern...c'mere!" I hollered and hollered but, five minutes, ten minutes...those two brats were gone. My final utterance came routinely and out of shear frustration..."Sons-a-bitches!" I shouted. The humor of it struck at the same time two black heads appeared on the horizon. I started laughing like I was a ten-year-old again and they joined in...yes they did...and we three headed home laughing our heads off.
Dogs talk. They talk with their eyes and their tails and their running leaps. Their message time and time again is clear: "Isn't today wonderful...isn't all this just perfect?". I wish we all could be like that.
People need to "take a page" from the dog world. It shouldn't be so difficult for folks to be happy. The way I do it is through faith (yes, I'm talking God here), eating well, and living well. I stay away from alcohol, things smoked, and pills (hope a short sermon is OK). Dogs know enough to munch on a few blades of grass for their "maintenance" ...gosh, they're smart! Nature is always best, like grass for the dogs and, say...pure maple products for people (you knew I'd get around to this, didn't you?). If by any chance you want to include pure maple products as part of your new "get healthy" regimen, try www.morsefarm.com . We're here for you 24 hours a day.