Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine….

When it is hell hot, the politicians are either licking their wounds or chortling triumphantly at their victory’s and the overdue rains are providing a respite to your lawn, it is a perfect time to slip away and indulge in the wonders of Missouri. So it is that we spent a week at Echo Bluff campground celebrating Tazzy’s 9th birthday with daily jaunts to Sinking Creek where the old men spent time enjoying it’s spring fed coolness, oblivious to the rest of the world.

Tom T. Hall’s old dog………our Tazzy

Years ago, Tom T. Hall penned the song that is the title of this piece while sitting at a bar talking with an old gentleman about life. The old man opined that old dogs, children and watermelon wine constitute the most important triumvirate in life. The old man was right, and Tom’s genius captured the moment set to music. You can see the years in Tazzy’s face, the white cast around his eyes and the magic in taking his time walking down to the creek as opposed to sprinting. Mind you, when taken off lead, there is no evidence of age and he still crashes the water with gusto before easing into a slow, steady cadence against the current. When I am standing waist deep in the cool water, watching him carefully scrutinize each leaf that passes in the current, I am reminded that I am fortunate. Too many of my contemporaries are gone, never to enjoy a Missouri waterway again, and the list is growing, seemingly daily. Tazzy and I have learned to take the path of least resistance these days, the key to survival in our golden years. Each passing leaf, soon gone from our view represents a friend also gone in the current of life. The passing leaves all have a story, having seen manny things over their short time on earth, a story that means little to those watching them pass, but a story never the less.

Waiting for the next leaf to pass……

This is the time of the year when the kiddos are on high alert before returning to the classroom. They were buzzing by on various wheeled devices called “razors”, boards and scooters within the campgrounds. We were up early every morning, tackling the creek before the floaters and funeral tent folks set up on the banks with a chest full of adult beverages to enjoy the finest air conditioning in existence, cold water. Their kids are in the creek too, oblivious to the passage of time that old folks are all too aware of. They are convinced there is no finite number of trips to the creek and the Master’s plan is of little concern to them. I wanted to tell them to enjoy every minute of every day………soon enough the realization will set in for them. It would be cruel to paint a picture of aging for them.

Now we are down to watermelon wine. I have enjoyed watermelon wine on several occasions in years gone by. I find it sweet but burdened with a nasty aftertaste. Today we prefer a good Moscato, preferably bubbling, ice cold with a chunk of cheese and crusty bread. If it gets any better than an iced bottle of Marco Negri, wedge of mild cheddar and loaf of french bread with a slice of apple and a few grapes thrown in for color, I have yet to experience it. While indulging in the wine, add a chorus of children laughing and splashing, an old Labrador who is oblivious to the kids and you have a great song. I can see why Tom wrote this song…..

Summer is winding down, going out with a flourish that midwestern summers often do. Soon the fairs will be under way and the kids will be suited up for another tour in the classroom. Teachers are already preparing for their next set of kids and another cycle of life repeats itself. Thank you Tazzy for another great outing and we hope you enjoyed your birthday celebration at Sinking Creek. God willing, we’ll be there again next year with a bottle of wine, watching you charge the creek bank….alert for those passing leaves.

Have a great week!


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