Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Other Side of the Fence

From the third through sixth grade I attended East Elementary School – about two miles from my house.   I remember walking home from school those days, and one memory stands out more than any other.  No, it wasn't that it was uphill both ways, or that I walked barefoot in the driving snow – which is so prevalent in Texas.  It was a dog – a German Shepherd that I had to walk past in order to get home.  Granted, the dog was kept inside a fenced backyard – but I really don’t believe that fence was any match for this ferocious animal.  Every day when I walked (or ran) by, he came running at me – growling, barking, and trying to jump that fence.  His paws would come flying over the fence, and I just knew that sooner or later he would indeed make it over – or the fence would collapse and leave me defenseless.

This daily panic-induced adrenaline rush eventually brought me to the point of asking my dad for help.  I still remember his words – “Oh, there’s nothing to be afraid of – if the fence ever fell down, that dog would tuck tail and run the other way.”  I don’t think I ever truly believed that if the barrier of the fence were removed, the dog would really turn and run – but since the fence held up I will never know.

However, I do still have a chance to test the concept.  For over 40 years I’ve been working at a job somewhere – the last 31 all at the same company.  With a few short, but notable exceptions I’ve always loved my work – maybe even too much at times.  I also came to feel a sense of obligation and responsibility to my work and its constant and growing demands.  Whether for love or obligation I often let it become a barrier to doing many of the other things I’ve always said I wanted.  It’s kept me from time with my family, from fishing, golfing, camping, woodworking or finding a group of folks I could “pick & grin” with regularly.  I’ve wanted to volunteer more than I have – to learn to speak a foreign language, and the list goes on and on.

But last week I retired – and for now, the work barrier is gone.  I guess it's time to see if I’ll really go after all those things I’ve been barking about – or just tuck tail and run.


Charles said...

I can answer that for you.Since you were big enough to walk you hane never run from anything. I am confident thatyou will accomplish whatever you set out to do!!!

Krista said...

I know that you will be successful in whatever you choose to do in your life. Let your spirit guide you and this will be only the beginning of many more great things ahead!