On the farm we had a rather small black dog named Nicodemus. Brother always claimed the family dog, and this one truly lead a dog’s life. My sister and I used to dress him up in girl’s clothing, paint his nails red, and push him around in a doll buggie. Nicodemus rather liked the attention, but it drove our brother crazy. Mind you, it was a short drive, and Sissie and I were experts at finding our older brother’s raw nerves. Any entertainment on a busy farm is sparse, but dressing a male dog in drag was an unthinkable outrage from brother's perspective.

I must say, Nicodemus was quite congenial as dogs go, but he obviously had a mischievous side. He co-existed happily with the chickens in the farm yard, but once in a while if he saw a cluster of them in a small spot, he would get this strange look on his face. I swear this is the truth. He would lower his head and watch them. Then suddenly he would shift into high gear and race right into the middle of the cluster while barking joyously. Doggie entertainment was sparse too.

Hens that had been calmly pecking and clucking along would flap into the air squawking and then scatter in all directions. In a matter of seconds, the hens would go back to calmly clucking, scratching, and pecking. The attention span for a chicken is not long. Having had his fun, Nicodemus would trot happily back to the house with his tongue hanging out. He had a very satisfied look on his face. I swear that is the truth; dogs do have facial expressions.

 Actually I had a bank manager who did what I referred to as rushing the hens. He used to get excited about team progress. One or more of us would be deep into some knotty software problem, and he would rush in and demand other things, and as I explained to our team, this old hen squawked and flapped around until he got what he needed. I used the Nicodemus story to explain why I had come to a meeting without some promised material.

The manager's employees loved the rush-the-hens analogy, but one gleefully ratted me out when the manager popped in to our meeting. Thus I had to repeat the story to explain the reference, knowing full well the guy had an awesome temper. Fortunately he balanced his temper with a sense of humor, and he laughed.   He also told me he trusted that he would not hear that reference again. I assured him he would not. In exchange, it seemed he rushed the hens less, or did I just get used to his style? Whatever! In fairness to the manager, his look was always matter-of-fact, and he never hanged out his tongue. Clearly, Nicodemus found his rush-the-hens effort more satisfying.