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If only I had their energy

Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2012, at 5:18 PM

Energy is wasted on the young.

I've often thought so, but now as I quickly slide past middle age and into, uh, well more than middle aged, I realize how true it is.

Watching our dog, Flash, has confirmed my suspicions. You see, Flash and I are actually about the same age, if you go in dog years (hers, not mine.)

And our life patterns these days seem to mirror each other. We both do our jobs to best of our ability, when we are actually working. It just seems our ability gets tired more quickly.

And work is no longer the highlight of our days, as it was just a few years ago.

Take Flash for example. Not too many years ago, she would run for the cattle lot anytime someone came outside. If a newcomer came to the farm she would run to find her ball, hoping she could entice the unsuspecting visitor into an hour-long game of catch, her second favorite job.

But now if Flash hears a door open, she instead heads for the door, plowing over whoever is unfortunate enough to be heading outside. And then she heads to her food dish, refusing to leave until it is filled ... twice.

I know how she feels, though. Mealtime is my favorite part of the day, as well. In fact, it's my three (okay, make that five) favorite times of the day. And for Flash and myself, it shows.

Of course, right behind mealtime is naptime on our list of priorities. And then of course, behind naptime is bedtime.

It's not that we don't do our jobs, we do. For Flash, her job involves bringing in the cows. She still does a good job and can definitely bring in the herd when asked. However, she seems to think she should ride on the Gator once she gets the cattle headed the right way, after all who needs stinking exercise anyway. And perhaps it's her eyesight, but she never seems to see those calves lagging behind anymore. Or maybe that is just too much effort.

Of course, when one hits middle age, we start to realize it's time for the next generation and their energy to start picking up some of the workload.

For Flash that means putting up with puppies, as in two. One is a red and white border collie named Angus (don't ask me why). She belongs to my Hubby. The other is a blue merle border collie named Maize. She belongs to my son. Both spend most of their time at our house bothering Flash.

In fact, she tenses every time the puppies come near, because she knows soon she will be bowled over, bitten, licked and then left, shaken, to regain her balance.

While Flash engages in her second favorite pastime most of the day (napping), the puppies, well, act like puppies. Together they've managed to turn my lawn and garden into a pot-holed ridden ,waste-land dotted with trash and a variety of treasures they've managed to steal from our sheds and my garage. And subsequently rip them to shreds.

A braided rug once put outside the back door for guests to wipe their feet, now lays unraveled, stretching at least 50 feet across the back yard. Pieces of card board, once a box of parts, lay strewn along the front yard. And walking across the yard resembles a battle field, riddled with holes. One has to be careful walking, or they just might fall all the way to China.

Flowers, flower pots and the water garden have not escaped the wrath of puppies. In fact, because of the drought and the scourge of the puppies I gave up on flower gardening early this summer, keeping alive the perennials and hoping for better luck next year.

Of course, puppies aren't the only youthful enthusiasm we have on the farm. Just like Flash trains her replacements in the job of cow chasing, Hubby is busy training his replacements on the farm, son A and son B.

And just like Flash, he's not ready to give up the job entirely, but maybe just share some of the hard work.

And just like the puppies, his replacements are eager and energetic. (But thankfully, they are past the digging in the yard stage.)

I find a similar situation in my jobs, both on the farm and at the office. I admire young people's exuberance, and I have to admit, as tired as I get their enthusiasm rubs off.

And I'm constantly reminded that's how it should be, with the older generation, slowly but surely letting go for the younger generation. We deserve the rest and they deserve the chance.

So maybe I was wrong earlier, energy isn't really wasted on the young.

But Flash and I sure wish they'd share, just a little.

Editor's note: A collection of Marcia Gorrell's most popular columns from 2008-2011 are being offered in a new book, Semi View. In order to purchase the book, pre-order online or by calling 660-886-2233.

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Thanks for an update on Flash. You hadn't written about him for sometime. Sounds as if those young whippersnappers are throwing him more than a few elbow punches. Be firm about giving him only the amount of dog food he should have. Too much weight isn't good for beast or man. Five meals a day are fine--portion control is the key for all of us.

Deer can be a scourge in gardens too. My daughter was admiring a Persian Shield plant at my door on a Sunday. On Monday, I asked if she had gotten a photo w/her iphone, because Bambi had lopped off three branches during the night and had a chaser of a nearby azalea.

Great to hear you are going to be published.

-- Posted by upsedaisy on Fri, Sep 7, 2012, at 10:29 PM

Good stuff Marsha, but I repeat myself over, and over. :)

Greater challenges are to come for you. As a septuagenarian I am past the days that I dare attempt the heavy lifting around my place, at least most of the time. Occasionally I still risk a pulled muscle, and the wrath of my loving wife.

Most of the time I call my sixteen year old grandson to come over for the tough jobs. If you are lucky when you are well into stage three as I am now, you will have one of those around.

I hire him, and am the supervisor, but have been busted from paymaster. No one seems to think it fair that Poppa gives him a couple of bucks gas money for driving thirty miles, and working his butt off two, or three hours. So Grandma has become paymaster. It works well all around. Grandma gets to dote, Grandson can cover some of his expenses, and nobody has to listen to my back in the day stories such as working in a snowstorm for fifty cents an hour. ;)

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sat, Sep 8, 2012, at 12:22 AM

Apologies to Flash,

I turned "her" into "him".

Maybe her problems w/the pups is the fact there are two. In our history w/introducing a younger dog, we noticed that the older female would sit on the sidelines observing the bad behavior with a face that seemed to say, "I CANNOT believe you are doing THAT".

The younger dog would stop in its tracks, as if to say, "OOPS!"

-- Posted by upsedaisy on Sat, Sep 8, 2012, at 8:40 PM

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