About six years ago our horses escaped.
We had them on a friend’s land and they had plenty of room, BUT the law of maximum cussedness dictated they “release themselves on their own recognizance.” We went over to check on them and they were gone. Really. Gone.
We searched for two days. I followed so many deer trails so deep in the woods that I actually found a small glade with fairies and gnomes eating mushrooms and dancing around. We literally searched everywhere.
Then, finally, we climbed a locked gate on a back road, off a back road, walked down a very unused drive and came out into a nice hay field. There, on the far side of the field, were our horses. Judging from how much of the field they’d destroyed, they had found this place shortly after their escape. It was bad. The field was nearly ready to be cut for hay, but we had no idea who owned the property. There was no house for at least 1/2 mile and this land didn’t connect to it.
We caught the totally unrepentent equines and walked them the several miles home. I called a neighbor and asked him if he knew who owned the hay field my horses had damaged. He said he thought some fella from Texas owned it, but he only came in town a couple of times a year. Somebody had a lease for hunting and cutting hay on it but he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) tell me who.
I wanted to pay for this damage but I’d hit a dead end.
A day or two later I was sitting in the office typing a hilarious, rousing newsletter (not really) and one of the kids told me there was a man at the door. I walked outside, and, as I stepped down the stairs and looked at the fellow standing in the yard, he returned a glance that left my eyes checking his hands for weapons. Really. He looked like he wanted to punch something and I was the only something in front of him.
The problem was that I’d never seen him before in my life!
“You the one with the horses that tore up my hay field?”
“Oh, I guess so. I’m sure sorry about that. I didn’t know who’s field that was. I’m happy to pay you for the damages.”
That didn’t cool him off. He explained to me that this had happened before with another neighbor’s cows. Problem was, that neighbor knew his cows were out and where they were, but didn’t come get them. Why bother happy animals, right? Wrong. Said neighbor hadn’t done this to him once – he’d done it twice!
And this is where he got to the crux of the story – well, what stood out most to me. He said,
“You can’t do that kind of thing to me! You might get me once………………………
And you might get me twice………………………………..
But you won’t get me a third time!”
I know my mouth was hanging open. I’d heard a version of this saying before – “You might get me once, but you won’t get me a second time,” or “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” But twice? Really, I thought this fella was a dimwit.
After apologizing a few more times and offering to pay for the lost hay, the man before me calmed somewhat and said I didn’t need to worry about paying him. “Just don’t let it happen again.”
Not a problem.
But what he said haunted me. Not in a wwwwwooooooo, bump in the night way, but in a “You won’t believe what this guy said to me” way. Honestly, when he pulled off, part of me wondered how he’d mustered the concentration to pass the test that allowed legal operation of his vehicle.
How blindly proud I was!
Mr. Ray, as I now know him was very angry when he spoke to me about his field. But he was no fool. Whether he meant to or not, he expressed a foundational fact about us humans that is so true, most of us scoff at it.
We think we’re smart. We think we pick up on things quick, but the truth is we’ve gotta get hit over the head not just once to catch on. Usually twice doesn’t work either. If I look back at my track record, I think I’m somewhere between 5 and 17. So, if Mr. Ray was catching on at just 2 times, he’s much quicker than I am.
Here’s to Mr. Ray and catching on to the easy-er way blog link.
What does all this have to do with the picture above?
You’re here spying a newly-opened hole in our fence. No, we don’t have drive-by fence cutters here. We made this gap trying to save time getting our cows to water.
This spot, properly braced and so close to water, was sitting in front of us for years – six years. Simply cutting this hole in the fence didn’t hurt our fence a bit, but saved us easily four hours of fencing and our cattle countless steps, burning off pounds we prefer they gain.
Six years to find a water gap right in front of you kind of makes you wonder if there are otther easy-er ways that have only been in front of you for the past two years…
Happy Fall, Y’all!