What Are Your Three Things?


My daughter looked at me like I was delusional. I said something about, “Old dogs and children and watermelon wine.”  When I responded that it was a Tom T. Hall song, she remarked: “I have never heard of Tom T. Hall and I’ve never heard that song”.  For that matter, neither had her husband. 


I guess you could say the song identifies three things of importance for “the old gray black gentleman” that was cleaning up the lounge.  He expressed it to the lone occupant still in the lounge this way: ““Ain’t but three things in this world that’s worth a solitary dime, but old dogs and children and watermelon wine.”


Can’t you envision a conversation like that taking place?  I can almost see it in the resources of my mind.  I also like the concept that the old man could articulate three things he valued for himself.  I’m not really a dog person, but old dogs tug at my heartstrings. They move ever so slowly and you get the sense that life is hard and far more difficult for them than what they previously experienced.  Even I can have empathy with that. Secondly, I easily understand the kid thing. I don’t know that I have a favorite age when it comes to children. I like kids of all ages.  Last week I was holding a six month old and someone remarked, “that I have always been a child whisperer”.  That was music to my heart. I like kids.  Watermelon wine isn’t anything for which I have a frame of reference, but I often associate watermelon with my paternal grandfather.  When I was a kid growing up, he and Granny lived next door.  He often brought watermelons home during the summer to share with his grandkids. That too was a feel good memory for me.


Getting back to old dogs and those not so old, I had actually gotten on my hands and knees to retrieve a tennis ball from under an end table to return it to one of Andrea’s labs.  While I was on all fours, the dog for whom I was retrieving the ball licked me squarely in the face.  How’s that’s for a “thank you” while I was attempting to do him a favor?  It was gross!


Of course, it was the younger dog.  Who else?  Both dogs, young and old, think the world of granddad.  Why wouldn’t they? I know full well that if my daughter had a hint that I’d been anything other than amazingly kind to either of her dogs, she make the General look like she needed assertiveness training.  If you’ve been reading my blogs for any period of time, you intuitively know the General is emotionally healthier than that and could teach a master’s level course in pleasantly expressing oneself, making her needs known and being confident that every expectation would always be met to the letter of the law. 


Actually, I’m still struggling to figure out how she does that. “How did the ad for E.F. Hutton go?”  “Yes, I remember.  Thank you for asking.” It goes: “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen”.  The same is true of the General. 


The General’s ability and wherewithal to engage in an open and honest conversation about what she thinks, feels and expects is not an unmet need on her part.  Actually, I think of it as a virtue (okay, at times and annoying virtue) but at least I don’t have to wonder what she’s thinking. Would I want it any other way?  “Depends of the circumstance” is my best answer. “Lucky me”, you say.  I agree. Most folks think she should have shot me by now. Of course, I think they are dead wrong.


Just for the record, “It was the younger dog that licked me in the face. The older dog would never invade my space by doing that.  The younger dog???  “Well, let’s just say that he has boundary issues”.  He is all over the place.  


Think what you will, but a dog’s slobber on you cheek is wet and sticky and serves no useful purpose.  As I wiped the slobber from my cheek, I had the thought: “It could have been worse”.   Earlier, I had observed the younger dog giving Andrea a kiss on the mouth.  I would still be on the verge of having a gag reflex if that had happened to me.  “Oh, yuck! He could have kissed me on the mouth”.  The very thought is unnerving.  The experience of the wet kiss on the cheek was not a feel good moment. I can’t imagine the mouth.


The concept of “Old dogs and children and watermelon wine” immediately came to mind. The old dog was respectful of boundaries.  He didn’t get in my way or opt to lick me in the face. It was the younger dog.  Can I endearingly say: “The younger dog is a loveable mess?”  Actually, in dog talk, he makes Marley look like St. Theresa. The older dog understands and respects my limits.  Not so much for the younger dog.


Andrea and Kevin had been to the “home and garden show” at Palmer Auditorium in Austin. It was a work related venue for them. Reportedly, Andrew and Holly, the hosts of the “Tidy Tech” show on HGTV were present.  Andrea thought we had met them before.  Maybe it is because they live in Buda and are local.  Somehow Andrea thought that maybe our paths had intersected at one of  previous home and garden shows.  You may be thinking that perhaps the General may have procured their services to deal with me. Trust me, she doesn’t need outside help.  She’s got everything under control.


“I am not” a hoarder. Just for the record, let me say that again. “I am not a hoarder.”   I am not emotionally attached to a lot of stuff and nothing makes me feel better than taking the trash out to the street on Wednesday evening for Thursday morning’s trash pick up.  If I were a hoarder, I’d have a problem with that.


Apparently, when it comes to hoarding, there are five different levels.  From Andrea’s perspective, we don’t yet classify for even the lowest level hoarder. Just for the record, there is a big difference between being a collector and being a hoarder.  However, she does think we have too much stuff.


I’ve known people who fall into the Class 5 (severe) category of hoarding.  They have boxes and boxes of opened or unopened stuff sitting in their house to eventually unpack and make some kind of decision regarding the need to keep or to throw away.  In the interim, the boxes which may have represented one’s inheritance from family members long gone continue to occupy space and represent clutter on top of clutter.  I absolutely could not live that way.  Fortunately, neither could the general.


For that matter, our garage is less than stellar, but at least two vehicles fit inside.  I know folks who have never parked their vehicles in their garages because the garage if filled with keepsakes or throwaways that haven’t yet been determined.


If you look around and find that your place might qualify for the description of a mess, you might want to reach out to Andrew and Holly at Tidy Tech.  They will therapeutically help you part with your stuff or at least get it organized.  If you just want the stuff gone, you might check with the General. She doesn’t have the reputation for being particularly therapeutic, but she knows how to clear a room.


All My Best!




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2 thoughts on “What Are Your Three Things?”

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