The countryside around Paeonian Springs, Virginia is very similar in appearance to the hilly and mountainous area where I grew up in Eastern Tennessee. The population is somewhat denser due to Washington, D.C. being less than 45 miles away (you can interpret this anyway you wish!). Nevertheless, the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley are first cousins to the Great Smokies and the Tennessee Valley to the south.
Growing up, I saw more trees than I did houses when I stretched my view. Our house had no neighbors and the woods were at our back door. Our locale was a favorite place for dogs to run. One particular man I remember had a fleet of beagles
. I don't think anyone has ever used "fleet" to describe beagles. It may be a Mike Thomson original. Please feel free to use it, but please be sure to give me the credit, okay?
Anyway, this guy kept his little beagles in cages placed in the bed of his pick-up truck. He would pull the truck into an area at the bottom of the hill from our house and let the beagles run. Wow - what a racket! The baying would carry on for a couple of hours as the beagles explored every rabbit hole on the property. Eventually, the beagle owner would call his dogs back, load the truck, and not return for a few weeks.
Further, into the foothills of the mountains, hunters in quest of bear or boar would unleash much bigger dogs. Even at a distance of six miles, you could hear the distant baying of a Plott
or sometimes, a Blue Tick Hound.
I once watched a Plott Hound being mauled by a wild boar
. Despite being overmatched in the fight, the Plott never backed down. He was rescued, but it took weeks for him to recover. The boar wasn't so lucky.
An old wise saying, which I will ascribe as Southern (I ascribe all wise sayings as Southern) goes, "It ain't the quality of the dog in the fight that counts, but it's the quality of the fight in the dog." This of course brings me to the mini-war raging between the Israelis and the Hezbollah.
First, before I begin my political commentary, please be advised that I believe even the wisest political commentators are guessing a good percentage of the time. This includes me. Here goes:
The President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
is a rather noticeable chap. Some say that he was one of the hostage takers during the Iranian Hostage Crisis, which made the U.S. look like nincompoops. Lately, old Mahmoud – who never wears a tie – has repeated the tired refrain of threatening to wipe Israel off the map, and makes even bigger threats when it comes to his country's right to develop nuclear weapons, which one would presume Iran would use to carry out their threat on the elimination of Israel.
The world for once, with the possible exception of North Korea, has been unanimously opposed to allowing Iran to further develop its nuclear technology. In fact, it was widely believed that Iran would receive an ultimatum in form of a date certain when it must announce what it was going to do about the situation... Then mysteriously – or maybe not so mysteriously - the terrorist group Hezbollah (a terrier - owned, watered, and fed by Iran) decides to pick a fight with Israel (a Plott Hound).
First Hezbollah captures an Israeli soldier from near a garrison inside Israel – a definite no, no. Then Hezbollah - after refusing to return the captured Israelis – there are now more than one – start lobbing short and medium range missiles into northern Israel from their strongholds in Lebanon.
The world outcry is predictable. Horrid says the French. Israel is a bully! Wah! Wah! whines the BBC. Even the Greeks become involved, laying all the blame on Israel. Too late, the Plott Hound has been unleashed…
In the United States, the Texan – who loves dogs
– seems disengaged from this fight between the terrier
and the Plott. In the past, his predecessors have always trotted out their stately Great Danes
to go to Israel or Egypt or Jordan to mediate and make the world nice-nice again. For some reason, our stately Secretary of State – while saying appropriate things – is staying away.
Now that the dogs are unleashed, how long will this fight go on? From my previous youthful experience and observation, I would not want to have a pack of angry Plotts on my tail. Who knows, they might lope through Syria then keep moving east and accidentally tear up Iran's nuclear garden.
Back at the White House, Karl the Pug
watches CNN – oh I'm so wrong – the little Pug prefers Fox
- and waits for the poll numbers to start rising. If this was part of a plan, it's a damn sure good one.
Hold on – if the President can say "s . . t," I can say "damn…"