By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
Bix, the Mississippi mudhound, is a fine companion, but he doesn’t always understand my sense of humor.
The other day we were on a rare predawn walk. At one time in my life, I could say that I’d seen more dawns by staying up all night than by waking up early. That time is well past, but the early morning eastern light remains an unusual sight.
“February showers bring March flowers,” I said.
Bix was several feet in front of me, sniffing the ground around a mailbox. He stopped in mid-sniff, sat back on his haunches and looked at me.
“Is that code?” he said.
“No. No. It’s the weird weather. You know? ‘April showers bring May flowers’ – that’s how it’s supposed to go,” I said.
“I don’t get it,” he said, then resumed his morning mission by marking the mailbox.
“It’s a saying, ‘April showers bring May flowers,’ but I moved it up a couple of months,” I said.
“You’re trying to be funny, right?” he said.
“Yeah. Maybe more clever than funny, but yeah,” I said.
He picked up a scent and lost interest in the conversation. We have wild rabbits and opossums in the neighborhood, so he could’ve caught a whiff of one of those. But he could’ve been captivated by a stream of ooze that had leaked from a homeowner’s garbage bag. There’s no telling with dogs, which are not known for their senses of humor, by the way.
The smell must’ve run its course, when Bix popped up and said, “What’s a ‘saying?’”
“A saying is something people say,” I said.
“Are you trying to be clever again?” he said.
“They say it a lot, like a thousand times or a million times,” I said.
“That’s a lot of talking, even for you, Boss,” he said.
“It’s not one person saying it. Everybody says it,” I said. “Maybe not everybody, but bunches of people. Like ‘Beat the bushes.’ When you need to drum up business or get information, you ‘beat the bushes’ to see what comes out.”
“Beat them with what?” he said.
“One assumes a stick,” I said, “but it could be anything capable of giving a good thrashing. Theoretically, of course.”
“Of course,” he said. “Wouldn’t that hurt the bush?”
“What bush?” I said. “We’re not talking about real bushes.”
Bix snorted, and returned to his business. I respect that snort, and the way it seems to say everything and nothing. It gives Bix an aura of profundity whenever he does it. On that morning, I interpreted his snort as a sign he considered my words worthy of deep thinking.
Sure enough, a few minutes later, he interrupted my enjoyment of the heavenly mix of pink, yellow and orange spreading across the sky.
“When I pee on bushes,” he said, “I’m saying, ‘Bix was here.’ I’ve said that millions of times.”
I sighed, looked at the sunrise and said, “And I hope a million times more.”
Bix wagged his tail at that.
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal features writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.