Two dogs lived on Grandpa’s farm, Dolly and Skippy. Skippy was colored like a Beagle but he had long legs and was about the size of a Golden Retriever. He was a sturdy, affable farm-dog. He lay on the porch when Grandpa was home. He followed him to the field when he was farming. When he was gone he ran rabbits and killed ground hogs. He was patient with children and he knew when to stay out of Dolly’s way.
Dolly’s name did not adequately describe her rugged character. On winter nights she would contentedly burrow down into a snow bank and “drift” off to sleep. In the morning grandpa would step out on the back porch and whistle. She would rise from her sleep, shake the snow off her coat and bound for the house.
Grandpa had a fanciful imagination and he had read all the Jack London stories. Maybe that’s why he told me that he was pretty sure she was part wolf. I believed him for a last three reasons; I was young and vulnerable, I admired my grandfather and he knew how to “put a story over,” and even a kid could tell Dolly had a wild side. She could have been a character in a Jack London story herself.
Those dogs were never in the house they didn’t have a pedigree, but they were well-fed, they were loved, and they served a purpose on the farm. They managed the ground hog population. They announced the arrival of guests and warned unwanted intruders. They added life to the place. They lived simple and happy and they both died in a contented old age right there on the modest farm where they lived their lives.
They never did a dog-show, pulled a dog-sled, or attended obedience school. They were never house-broke, they didn’t have invisible fence, they didn’t wear sweaters. They were never penned up or chained and neither of them ever wore a lead. Even without formal training they had common dog-sense. If Grandpa and Grandma left for a weekend visit or vacation they didn’t hire a kennel. Skippy and Dolly just kept and eye on things and looked after themselves. They were just garden-variety, farm dogs.
Sometimes we can just cherish a “too-high” opinion of ourselves and while we are yearning for stardom, success, fame, fortune, promotion, and notoriety we are wasting our precious life and squandering the simple joys all around us every day. I don’t know about you but I imagine myself as a “farm dog” kind of guy.
I don’t mind staying around home. I’m happy with plain food and a simple life. I like it when people take me with them on a walk but I don’t mind hanging out on the porch or curling up by the fire. I’m just a little suspicious of strangers who don’t smile or maybe smile too much. Fancy people are interesting but I think people like plain folk better. Plain like Skippy and Dolly who scouted the hills of my grandpa’s farm when I was a boy growing up.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited.
(Rom 12:16 ESV)
Kenneth L. Pierpont
November 15, 2006