Each morning, as I step out of my home, I am being watched, intently I might add. Each time I stir by the front door, thirty-four pairs of eyes pop to the surface of my little artificial pond in my inner courtyard. It is here that a small school of Koi fish, with mouths wide open for emphasis, swim to the waters edge and beg for food. What’s most curious is they have a limited memory. If I am gone longer than two weeks, they forget who I am. It is then that I must win back their confidence by providing a little sustenance once again. If I am faithful in meeting their wagging tail fins and gaping mouths twice a day with food nuggets, they calm down and retreat immediately under the lily pads awaiting my next passing. Despite my attempts to ignore them, my very presence sends them into a frenzy. It’s like when my children were small and I would come home from work, their excitement in seeing me was heartwarming. Now, that my children are grown and living on their own, no one gives me this level of attention except for maybe a select few bill collectors.
At the Opryland hotel in Nashville Tennessee, a large fish tank sits at the waters edge of an indoor lazy river. The hotel spares no cost at creating the authentic effects of a romantic river. A bridge spans the water and small boats ferry you around. What the casual observer may not know is inside the hotel rests a fish tank. Inside this tank resides a male fish that longs to join his friends in a larger venue: the river. As he swims looking out at the large expanse of water, he feels confined. I am sure his thoughts are consumed with freedom. I know this because so great is his desire to escape, he has jumped out of his aquarium onto the floor, wiggled and thrashed until at the waters edge he flops into the river. I am told he’s been caught and returned countless times to his aquarium. I like his drive, he NEVER gives up.
Our dog Goldie offered us a fresh perspective on persistence when she became fertile. When this happened, we sprung into action. Our plan consisted of one iron-clad battle plan: never let her loose outside. We didn’t want our dog running off with the first stray non-pedigreed hound dog in the area. Each time we took her outside, we kept a squirt gun of ammonia in our holsters so we could disperse all the love-struck male dogs with delusions of cheap romance. Like an overprotective father, I personally was choosy awaiting that special day when my dog’s paw would be given away properly, and not just to any neighborhood loser.
A week later, with a fresh coating of snow blanketing our steep driveway, our youngest son placed the leash over his wrist and proceeded to fight off the typical male suitors awaiting outside. Moments later, with a look of horror on his face, he rushed in to tell us that he had slipped in the snow and the leash had come off his wrist. In mere moments, our precious dog did the unthinkable; she ran off into the woods to sow her wild oats. Standing at the base of the mountainside that stood behind our home, I looked intently upward to see if I could see our wayward dog. I thought I heard doggy giggling far up the hill. It was then that I knew she was mocking me. We knew our fate when the following day not one, NOT ONE male dog made an appearance outside our door. In a few months Goldie gave birth to five puppies and none looked liked each other. My hats off to her five male suitors; she made them all papas.
We can learn a lot from some of life’s most simple creatures. Persistence pays off. Whether you dream of freedom, desire the basics in life, or crave a love story that may be a little on the wild side, never give up reaching for your dreams. Persistence, hard work, and achieving the impossible is what has made this country great. Don’t let anyone make you believe otherwise.