I got up early one morning
And rushed right into the day,
I had so much to accomplish
That I didn’t take time to pray.
Problems just tumbled about me
And heavier came each task,
“Why doesn’t God help me?”
I wondered.
He answered, “You didn’t ask.”
I wanted to see joy and beauty,
But the day toiled on, gray and bleak.
I wondered why God didn’t show me,
He said, “But you didn’t seek.”
I tried to come into God’s presence;
I tried all my keys at the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided,
“My child, you didn’t knock.”
I woke up early this morning,
And paused before entering the day;
I had so much to accomplish
That I had to take time to pray.
Author Unknown

This is a lesson that I’ve had to learn over and over. Sometimes we feel so overwhelmed by the tasks that we feel have to be accomplished that we rush right into our day. Before long, we realize that we are not getting anywhere and something is missing. We have to go to prayer to get our day straightened out; then it seems that everything falls into place. We learn again to get our priorities straight.

We had some feedback from readers who had pet animals on the farm when they were young. Don Norman of Normantown and Akron, Ohio, wrote that they had a pet lamb when he was a kid. He said, “You can fall in love with one of those in about 15 seconds. We were told repeatedly, ‘Don’t teach it to butt!’

“Of course we gave it lessons and the lamb had learned a game it loved. By the time it was full grown, it still loved the game. The excitement had palled on us by the time the animal weighed 50 or so pounds. You really had to watch that thing. We had mixed emotions when the folks sold it. We were glad to see it go, but my brother said it should have happened before he got knocked into the cow pie!”

That reminds me of the game that my brother Larry and Criss used to play right after we were married. It was a muddy winter, sort of like we are having now. The boys would go up in the bottom to feed the cows, and Criss would talk Larry into riding one of the steers.

Of course the steer would take two or three hops and buck Larry off into the mud. The next day, Criss would convince Larry that he was ready to conquer that animal. Larry would climb back on, with the same results. I don’t know how many times Larry got bucked off before he wised up and quit the game. Come to think of it, I don’t guess Criss ever took his turn.

Preston Sheets of Hurricane sent us another chicken story. Most of us have had an experience with a fighting rooster, so I don’t know if you’d call this a pet or not. A friend gave Preston a young game rooster, and he acquired a game hen. The rooster began crowing, and flogged him when he fed the pair. They soon hatched a brood of baby chicks, and he put them in a cardboard box and was carrying them to the chicken house when “Roosie” attacked him. Preston thought he’d be a poor dad if he didn’t protect his offspring.

As time went on, Roosie began to rule the roost and the farm. Preston has a 100-pound Walker coonhound named Highball. Roosie would fly on top of the dog’s fence and crow. Soon he put Highball in a corner and was wearing him out. The dog just turned his back and wouldn’t defend himself. Preston couldn’t put up with Roosie flogging his dog, (a little game rooster and a 100-pound dog?) so he took him over to the next farm about a mile away.

His neighbor didn’t have any chickens, so he took up with the wild turkeys and flew from hill to hill. He was gone two months when he came back home and went to the chicken house that night as if he’d been there all the time. He took him to his sister-in-law, who had some hens and no rooster. Roosie thought he was in chicken heaven.

He lived there for a year or two until he started to flogging his sister-in-law so much that he died prematurely. Highball lived in peace until one of his hens decided to use his doghouse to hatch her chicks. This peace-loving hound slept out on the ground until Preston put another doghouse in his lot.

All is calm now on the farm.

Joanne Exline of Maysel has a question about a term that her family used. When someone did something exceptional, such as bake a perfect pan of biscuits, one if the family would say, “Well, you got a good scald on that, didn’t you?” That’s a term I’ve never heard, and I’m curious also as to the origin.

One of our old expressions came back to me this week when Criss asked, “Wonder why that dog is barking?” I replied automatically, “Oh, he’s just barking to hear his head roar!” That’s what we used to say when someone went on and on –”He’s just talking to hear his head roar!”

I remember when Daddy would ask one of us a question and we didn’t answer, he’d say, “Well talk—or shake a bush!” We country folk have many graphic sayings that you’d probably never hear anywhere else. Wilford Bird of Yawkey sent me some “sayings” that were familiar to him. He said that since 1971 he had “trotted in double harness” with a Clay County girl with never a thought of “dividing the blankets.”

I’ve heard Criss use the expression about divorce as “dividing the seed corn.”

“Within a cat’s whisker” was an expression that Mr. Bird remembers meaning a very close measurement. That’s a term we still use, such as, “I come within a cat’s whisker of running over that dog!” “Riding shank’s pony” meant traveling on foot. One of Mom’s favorite expressions was “It’s a fur piece to walk!”