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Blue Spider's Coffee House

Truth, Love, Beauty and all things Virtuous

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Fence

Why You Ramble, Nobody Knows

Rocky escaped again. Proving once again that nature doesn’t care who we are or what we deserve. Megan had called us at our hotel in Knoxville and I could overhear her describing to my wife how Rocky had escaped into our new neighbor’s backyard. It had been a while since Rocky’s last did this, which coincidentally also took place when we were out-of-town.  

I am still slightly befuddled over how he figured out where I had taken down the chicken wire to stain the fence. A few years back in an effort to stymie Rocky’s outbreaks, I had put up little sections of chicken wire over spots in our fence, which sits on hill, that had gaps between the fence and the dirt. Only recently did I take down a few sections to stain the fence. Sure enough, Rocky found those unprotected spots. 

You would think for a dog that was on the cusp of turning 11 years old (at least 70 years old in doggy years) that he’d no longer be interested in going through all that work to escape. But, age does not seem to be a deterrent. Escaping is his jam and always will be. The only saving grace to his running away is that he is not very good at it. Rocky loves people and thinks everyone loves him back equally. So, when he escapes he often ends up in other people’s houses, mostly our neighbors. The other thing is if you are fortunate enough to catch him on the run and you happen to have a half a kielbasa, recently cooked bacon, or duck treats in your hand, your chances of catching him are almost 100%. 

For sure, Rocky does not have a moral compass. It’s hard to know what is right or wrong when you are primarily driven by your instincts and desires. But, I’ve made peace with Rocky’s inclination to escape. I think we both realize it’s hard to find the perfect friend, but having a good friend will do.

A Fence or An Ambulance

grand-canyon-parks-centennial_93378_990x742

‘Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,
Thought to walk near its crest was so pleasant,
But over its terrible edge there had slipped
A duke and full many a peasant.
So the people said something would have to be done,
But the projects did not at all tally;
Some said, “Put a fence around the edge of the cliff,”
Some, “An ambulance down in the valley.”

But the cry for the ambulance carried the day,
For it spread through, the neighboring city;
A fence may be useful or not, it is true,
But each heart become brimful of pity
For those who slipped over that dangerous cliff;
And the dwellers in highway and alley
Gave pounds or gave pence, not to put up a fence,
But an ambulance down in the valley.

“For the cliff is all right, if you’re careful”, they said,
“And, if folks even slip and are dropping,
It isn’t the slipping that hurts them so much,
As the shock down below when they’re stopped.”
So day after day, as these mishaps occurred,
Quick forth these rescuers sally
To pick up the victims who fell off the cliff,
With their ambulance down in the valley.

Ambulance pic 4

Then an old sage remarked: “It’s a marvel to me
That people give far more attention
To repairing results than to stopping the cause
When they’d much better aim at prevention.
Let us stop at its source all this mischief, cried he,
“Come neighbors and friends, let us rally;
If the cliff we will fence we might almost dispense
With the ambulance down in the valley.

“Oh, he’s a fanatic,” the others rejoined,
“Dispense with the ambulance? Never!
He’d dispense with all charities, too, if he could;
No! No! We’ll support them forever.
Aren’t we picking up folks just as fast as they fall?
And shall this man dictate to us? Shall he?
Why should people of sense stop to put up a fence,
While the ambulance works in the valley?”

ambulance

But a sensible few, who are practical too,
Will not bear with such nonsense much longer;
They believe that prevention is better than the cure,
And their party will soon be stronger.
Encourage them then, with your purse, voice, and pen,
And while other philanthropist dally,
They will scorn all pretense and put up a stout fence
On the cliff that hangs over the valley.

Better guide well the young than reclaim them when old,
For the voice of true wisdom is calling,
“To rescue the fallen is good, but ’tis best
To prevent other people from falling.”
Better close up the source of temptation and crime
Than deliver from dungeon or galley;
Better put a strong fence round the top of the cliff
Than an ambulance down in the valley.

-Joseph Malins

 

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