The Word of the Day over at Merriam-Webster is an old-fashioned one I haven’t heard for years. A COWCATCHER is an inclined frame on the front of a railroad locomotive for throwing obstacles off the track. Since cows no longer wander about freely, I suppose locomotive makers no longer see the need of adding one.
Just for fun I decided to re-purpose this word for our day and created this verse:
Your words hurt,
I try to explain.
I feel the sting;
see the pain in their faces.
But his cowcatcher persona
tosses my words to the winds
and plows on.
One day a young girl on her way home boarded a city bus and took a seat. Mary enjoyed the ride for the first few blocks, but then a large lady sat down beside her, taking up most of the seat and squashing Mary up against the window.
Worse yet, the woman was hanging onto several big packages; these bumped Mary in the face whenever the bus jounced or the woman shifted in her seat. She was thankful when the woman finally reached her destination and got off.
Later she told her brother about her ride home and he became indignant on her behalf. “Why didn’t you just tell her she should move over and stop crowding you. After all, you were in the seat first.”
“Oh, well,” Mary replied. “We had such a little way to travel together. I thought I could bear it for that short while.”
At times we feel we can hardly put up with certain people, co-workers or relatives. Their attitudes or behavior just grates on us. We’re all into the moment and think this will never end. Then in a short while they’re gone from our lives and we carry on, a bit relieved. Later we may even look back and appreciate some aspect of their personalities, or some lesson we learned from them. If we adopt Mary’s attitude, the ride can be less irritating.
In the end we’ll see that we had such a short distance to go together.
“Our understanding of how to live with one another is still far behind our knowledge of how to destroy one another.” – Lyndon B Johnson