Once upon a time there was a little boy who was really bad to lie. (This is a hill country expression not normally heard in other parts of the world, but we use it a lot around here.)
His mother, a born again Christian, tried her best to turn him around but it was not an easy task, he being cursed as he was with a natural aversion to the truth. When the mother caught him telling one of his tall stories, her policy was to beat him softly, but the results of such discipline were not good. The problem remained, and she sought another solution -- which was to make him spend time on his knees with the Lord.
One morning he came in screaming, "Lion! Lion! Great big lion in the front yard! Gonna eat us all! Git the gun! Git the gun!"
He continued shrieking at great length as he described the size, color and mouth capacity of the monster he had encountered on the premises. Finally his mother, desperately wanting to believe him, seized on the extremely slight possibility that a large cat might have escaped from a traveling circus and taken up residence in the front yard. Knowing full well that the chances of such a happening were slim to none, she nevertheless went out to check on the veracity of her son's report.
Well, there stood one of the largest dogs she ever had seen, a beautiful yellow animal who had been shorn down for the summer season. The grooming had left a big collar round the dog's huge neck and a great ball of fur on his tail. Indeed he did slightly resemble a lion. Not much, though.
The little boy was told to go upstairs to his room and pray to God that he might be relieved of his lying ways. He was gone quite a while and when he came down to confront his mother he said, "You know what, Mama? God said when He first saw that dog He thought it was a lion too."
As you might suppose, such a report did not bring the mother a great deal of comfort, and she sent her son upstairs to renew his conversation with the Lord God.
We have a beautiful animal in our neighborhood, a cross between a Lab and a chow, which could almost pass for the one I've just told you about, and Jackie has taken control of him. The owner told me once when I was castigating my companion animal for her yapp, yapp, yapping that his dog was terrified of Jackie. The gentle giant could easily take her head off in one bite but instead he puts up with her foolishness by avoiding any type of confrontation whenever possible. He just slinks around onto the deck and for some reason she does not follow him. Perhaps the steps are too high.
By her barking ways, I am afraid Jackie has won a great many enemies in our neighborhood, and several times little brochures and booklets on dog training have appeared in our mail box. I find these anonymous offerings useless and more than a little offensive, for I embrace the old doctrine, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."
My brother, a great dog trainer, hunter, and general all around know-it-all, insists she can be trained, but I'm not sure. We continue to suffer each other in sickness and in health, for better or worse, in wealth and in woe, world without end. Amen ... Amen.