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Pants on the trees keep water in the trough

August 03, 2009|By TIM ROWLAND

In my defense, I'd been on the road for a few days in several hotel bathrooms. Maybe that's why I found myself staring at my own home shower controls, trying to remember how to shut the water off.

I have less of an excuse for what happened the next morning.

Beth always leaves my lunch on the same table where we dry our goat-milking supplies after they've been sanitized. So on my way out the door, I picked up the milk funnel and started taking it to work instead of my lunch.

Fortunately, Beth was there to administer a gentle "ahem" before I got too far.

The "ahem moments" are getting more common and my mom tells me it will only get worse. I like to think it's because I have so many other critically important issues on my mind that I can't be expected to remember the small stuff.

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But when your chief job requirement is finding a word that rhymes with "booger," that's a hard case to argue.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in a hurry to get something or other, and I purposefully strode into Cappy's stall and then -- just stood there. The big horse looked at me like, "Yes?"

I slunk out of the stall, trying to figure out what I'd been after in the first place and why I thought I might have found it in a bare stall.

Cappy did her best to wave it off, but the moment was clearly awkward. When a horse feels embarrassed for you, something's seriously amiss.

Between us, Beth and I like to say that we have one good memory, but even that would be an optimistic assessment. We have several, hundred-gallon troughs used to water various critters. They must be filled with a hose, which takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

Obviously, you can't just stand there the whole time, so we go off and do other chores and come back later to shut off the water. Sometimes much later. I'm talking hours and hours.

We have flooded the entire cattle shed after forgetting to turn off the hose. We have nightmares about it. We wake up in the middle of the night screaming "THE WATER!" before realizing, hoping, it was just a dream.

I had just about come to the conclusion I was entirely untrustworthy on the matter, and from now on would have to stand at the trough until it was full.

So there I was at the horse trough, waiting impatiently, as the water level rose a centimeter at a time. It was only about 6 inches deep when I was struck with the most brilliant idea of my life.

How could I be sure to remember to come back and shut off the hose? Easy. With an air of mental superiority, I calmly took off my pants, hung them in a nearby pecan tree, and smugly turned and walked away.

Maybe Samuel Morse was just as pleased with himself when he invented the light bulb as I was at that moment, but it would be hard to imagine.

Never had the remaining chores seemed so easy and carefree. I mucked stalls, collected eggs and threw hay, all with, as Mark Twain said, "the calm confidence of a Christian holding four aces."

At one point, Beth came out and glanced at me, but didn't say anything. By now, she's pretty much used to bizarre behavior on my part, behavior that makes sense only to me, and has given up trying to figure it all out.

As the sun set, we tidied up the last of the day's work and started strolling back to the house. Finally she couldn't contain herself anymore: "Why have you been so happy all afternoon and why aren't you wearing any pants?"

I tilted my head back slightly and smiled, ready to be showered with her praises of my genius and said, "I am not wearing any pants, because ... because ... THE WATER!"

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. Tune in to the Rowland Rant video under opinion@herald-mail.com, on antpod.com or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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