Quiet moment at home with Burnsie

I’m just back from vacation in Tennessee. Home of The Smoky Mountains, The Grand Ole Opry, and Jack Daniels whiskey, Tennessee is home also of my son, Nathan. This was a kick-back, do-nothing-and-whatever trip, a time simply to BE with one I love.

It turned out to be a surprising scrapbook time for me, a time to marvel over the winding course of the river of my life. Blogger at Opry House, Nashville, TNAcross my adult life Tennessee leaves a large mark. I went there to college as a 17 year-old Missouri kid right out of high school. I lived in Tennessee three different times as an adult across different decades in two different careers. My first church was in Memphis in the mid-1960s, my fifth and largest church was in Nashville in the early 1980s. Finally, the third Tennessee residency took me from Kentucky to east Tennessee in the early 1990s as college professor of Communication Arts. A substantial heart-tie to Tennessee is the fact it was Gatlinburg, TN., where Charlotte and I got married in 1984, while I was at the University of Kentucky, living in Lexington — married in a tiny Gatlinburg wedding chapel, more like Las Vegas or Reno, Nevada, than Tennessee.

Tennessee, I see in retrospect, has figured large in the winding path of my life. I left Tennessee for Albuquerque, NM., in 1995, left academia and campus life for an entrepreneur’s dream of creating my own magazine, left classroom teaching of students how to speak and write to practice the craft. The old saw says, “Those who can’t, teach; those who can, do.” I laugh at myself for leaving tenure and job security to “go to the dogs” — to the celebration of Scottish Terrier companionship in Great Scots Magazine!

Grand Ole Opry House Nashville, TNSo my life’s round-about path to Scottish Terriers and Great Scots Magazine, in and out of Tennessee by way of Iowa and Scotland and Mississippi and Kentucky, was captured whimsically by Southwest Airlines in the return flight home which sent us from Nashville to Baltimore on the way to Albuquerque!

William Shakespeare said:

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts … “

Looking back at my life recognizing how little of it I controlled yet how even the smallest pieces contribute to a coherent whole leading to what Paulo Coelho calls “Personal Legend”, I see Shakespeare’s “stage” is more like Nashville’s “Grand Ole Opry” than New York City’s Inside the Grand Ole Opry House, Nashville, TNMetropolitan Opera House — real life is not the perfection of grand opera, but the homemade rusticity of “opry”. And no one is a ‘professional’ on the stage of Life; we’re amateurs because no one has lived our life before. We’re hillbilly’s on the world stage, would-be sophisticates playing like we’re “on top of things”, singing our song as best we can, but with nasal twang of homegrown roots, flaws and insecurities.

That’s not a bad thing. That’s the human predicament, our individual and collective ‘Grand Ole Opry’ . . . and it’s all GOOD.

Joseph Harvill, Scottiephile

Quiet moment at home with Burnsie

I had a rather odd and unlikely visitor last Saturday. A tamed ‘wild’ turkey came walking and clucking down my road to meet me when I came home with a load of grass hay bales for my donkeys and goats. A turkey hen in the middle of the road, walking with purpose to meet me, as if an old friend.

“Well, hey, Girl! Where did YOU come from?” I said to her, laughing out loud. She homed in on my voice and walked up beside me. I kept talking to her and the sound of my voice appeared to calm her.

Wild turkey on hood of blogger's truckReaders may not know that turkeys can be aggressive and they’re big enough to be intimidating. I remember years ago in Tennessee a big Tom who could flog the Devil … and send Him running! So, watching this hen coming at me with intent gave me pause. But it was soon apparent she simply wanted human “company”.

I had gates to unlock and hay bales to unload and stack, so I went about my work while the itinerant turkey hopped onto the hood of my truck to watch what I was doing with her big unblinking eye and then followed the truck and me as I drove to the hay shed to unload. She negotiated donkey hooves and goats and paid no mind to Scotties as she followed my unloading steps like a puppy.

Later that day, when my Boys came down from Albuquerque to help me with a clean up project, the turkey hen took to Brian right away, fluffed herself out on the concrete driveway where he sat beside her and stroked her back like a cat!

I’d like to think her visit was Nature saying “Thank you for kindnesses to your goats and animals.” It was the day after I sent the old Mexican packing in reaction to his rough treatment of my two goats (see my blog for Sunday 15 March, 2015). I’d like to think Life sent that friendly ‘wild’ turkey as symbolic affirmation. Whatever her origins, she was someone’s pet, clearly Wild turkey on the ground at blogger's corralsocialized to human company and touch. By the end of the day I saw her one more time at the far end of my grass field at the fence line and then she was gone.

My son Nathan teased saying it was a turkey in search of a turkey … and found one!

I believe angels come in many forms. I’ve known Scottie angels all my life. Christian scripture urges, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some entertained angels unawares.”

So, I’m busy laughing at myself, because it just might be the ‘form’ of my feathered “stranger” had more to say about me than about angels!

Joseph Harvill, Scottiephile