Socrates Doesn't Swim


It is too hot for sustained outdoor work today. So I am taking it easy. While my wife watered the garden early this morning, I trimmed back some of the overgrowth in the area adjacent to the outbuilding where Socrates sleeps. It's overgrown just now, and there are a lot of prickers.

My favorite work gloves are tan leather with an adjustable band along the back.  At the end of the band is a little red ball. I can't get a lick of work done without those gloves. A pair without the red ball just doesn't do the trick. It takes about a year to wear out the fingers on those gloves.

Socrates apparently feels the same way about the gloves. This morning he spent all morning snapping at the red ball, and when he wasn't doing that, I swear he was making a pass at my wallet. He was my shadow, making it hard to get a thing done.

Socrates is about six feet tall when he stands erect. Most often he slouches. I figure he weights about 150 pounds. I'm bigger than he is, but still his size means he is no one with whom to trifle. When he gets angry, he kicks, and I don't want to be on the receiving end of one of those kicks, trust me. When I greet him he most often sits right down, as close me as he can get. He's a philosopher and he seems always to want to talk.

"Will you back off," I hissed at him this morning. I was deep in some brush and there were prickers everywhere. I was trying to trim some vine that was growing up along the back of an outbuilding. He kept plucking at the red ball, so I turned my back. I then felt him picking at my wallet.

"Socrates, damn it." I didn't want to get tangled in the brush with him, the prickers and my shears. The heat was getting to me so I put up the shears and headed out to the garden to help my wife stake tomato plants. The world feels like a greenhouse today. Our vegetables seem to explode, rather than grow.

"I didn't expect to see you so soon," my wife said, not complaining. She, too, was wilting in the heat.

"Moo Moo was getting on my nerves," I told her. I do not know how we came to call Socrates Moo Moo. But it stuck. It is beneath his dignity, but he has little to say in the matter.

We staked the tomatoes and then headed for an early morning swim. Today is going to be a scorcher. We'll swim several times to keep the heat at bay.

But Moo Moo won't join us in the swimming. There are limits on what we will permit him to do. He is an emu, after all, and who ever heard of taking an emu for a swim?

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