There is a slim line between being hard headed and being determined. Those all too human traits cross the line from one to the other when no matter how hard you work, or how many times you try you just can’t get your arms to lift your weight up off the ground to climb that rope in the gym. Hard headedness keeps your spirit coming back to try, and determination keeps your body trying and trying until your little arms and legs help you to shinny up that rope and clang that all important bell at the top.
I have more hard headedness than determination. My spirit was always willing but the determination to climb that rope? I would find it just as easy to buy a little bell and ring it occasionally. But now and then when I think about how determination can help me, I remember about being told about this one dog…
In the late 1970’s my other half and I lived on the family alfalfa farm and farmed with his family. It was an interesting time. The farmers in this area have always been and will always be determined to make a grand life for themselves and their families. Like farmers and family business’ everywhere.
When summertime comes around the crops need to be harvested and the alfalfa is cut, baled and hauled off to the stack yard. The baling is done in the wee hours of the morning, to catch the dew and make the best bales to serve cows and get the best milk. Adding chocolate and ice-cream to make milkshakes. Along with fries and burgers. Wait-that is not where I was headed…
So one very early summer morning my father-in-law was out baling in a field surrounded by the glow of the rising morning star. Other than the noise of his Allis Chalmers tractor and New Holland baler there was not another person or sound within about a mile and a half. He would go up one windrow, turn and bale going back down the next. Over and over, making three wire tied bales. After one turn he thought he saw something glimmer in the next field, but chalked it up to some sort of broken glass glimmering in the early morning sun that had come up over the top of Diamond Mountain to the East. Another round and the glimmer was still there and a little closer. Again another round and again the glimmer. This time it seemed to be moving erratically. Kind of bumping along the ground.
Now if I were out there, alone, after baling all night I would have thought I was seeing things. Boogie men kinda things. But he just kept watching the glimmer get closer and closer after each round. Finally he could make out that there was truly something out there. Another round and closer the glimmer came. Whatever was out there crossed a dry ditch by falling into the ditch and then climbing back out and still it came towards him.
Now it was close enough. And what he saw was nearly impossible to believe. The glimmer was a shiny 12 cup aluminum coffee pot—stuck on the head of the neighbor’s dog!
That pup, probably hungry or just plain nosey, had gotten its head stuck inside that coffee pot. Imagine having that happen and of course since dogs have no thumbs he was left to the fates. I imagine he squirmed and maybe yelped and rolled on the ground. Probably even fell asleep for a while from plain exhaustion. Then, sometime in the night, he heard the noise of the farm equipment off in the distance and followed that noise to find someone to help loose him from his predicament. Across fields, ditches, roads, through barbed wire fences, tripping and scuffing along over half a mile, following that far off sound without seeing. Just faith and determination.
The dog gets close enough and my father-in-law shuts off the equipment gets down and calls to the pup. When the dog heard the voice his tail wagged and he headed right for it. Then after some wiggling and bending of ears–freedom! In the ordeal the dog had found a new second home to boot. However he never did want anything to do with coffee after that!
But what determination. Stories of that tough hardheadedness bringing about such determination are all around us. We just need to watch for the glimmer.
Trina lives in Eureka. Her book ITY BITS is on Kindle. Share with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.