In one of the great songs of our times “Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine” by Tom T. Hall a man tells the story of being in an airport in Miami, Florida waiting for his flight when an old man comes to the table where he is sitting and invites himself to sit down. The old man goes on to spin a yarn about old dogs, children and watermelon wine.
The old man says he turned 65 about 11 months ago, (I passed that station awhile back) and he inquires if the man at the table had ever tasted watermelon wine? The old man goes on to say that old dogs, children and watermelon wine are the only thing he’d give a dime for in his life.
He said women only think about themselves when men folk aren’t around, and friends are hard to find when they discover you are down but old dogs, children and watermelon wine are lasting. The old man said old dogs love you even when you make mistakes; children are too young to hate and watermelon wine just because. The singer ends the song by saying he had to catch his plane to Atlanta the next day but as he left the room he saw the old man picking up the change on the table. That night he dreamed of shady summertime, old dogs, children and watermelon wine.
As the year comes to a close and a new one is about to begin I find myself reflecting on where I’ve been not just this past year but throughout my life and where I will be going in the years ahead. I also find myself thinking about what’s most important to me in my own life. Having been around a lot of people in my lifetime I think about them all and what they all meant to me over the years. I remember people who have shared every stage of my life’s journey and how everyone of them were special to me, each in a different way and each in a way no other can be.
I love dogs, maybe not as much as my dad did but dogs and Chances just sort of go together in our family lore and I’ve never been without a dog. Tucker, whom I still think of as a puppy, is now turning seven and that’s getting on for a Springer Spaniel. I guess his owner is getting on too in people years. Tucker comes to work with me most every day and I think the old man was right about dogs. They love you even when you make mistakes. The people who have meant the most to me in my life are the ones who loved me and still love me even when I make mistakes.
And while children aren’t quite as innocent and perfect as the song makes them out to be they haven’t learned to hate like so many big people hate and they get over their anger a whole quicker than we big people do. There is an innocence and honesty in children that is priceless; no doubt about it. I haven’t met many people I didn’t like in life but I never met a child I didn’t like.
Now, about that watermelon wine, I don’t know that I’ve tasted any yet but there’s always something to look forward to and I’m looking forward to tasting a cool glass of watermelon wine some day. Maybe for me watermelon wine becomes the thing we all need, a hope to look forward to and to keep going on for. The good Lord is always giving us things to hope for and to believe in for the future and watermelon wine only becomes a symbol of far more important and deeper things than that for me.
Like that old man in the song, I’ll sit down with a stranger anytime and spin my own yarns and share my own stories but I think the old guy was on to something…know what’s important to you, live for what’s important to you and don’t give up hoping in the future. I’ll see you on the other side of a new year pretty soon.