A Tail of Two Doggies

I was aiming to get out the door peacefully, but they flanked me and were off to the races. Actually, they were the races. Stopping at every house with a dog along the way- to start a barking spree, my two dogs were on the run again.

I had a bill to pay or a utility would be cut off. I had to get on the road. The day was cold and rainy. I pulled out all the stops. Yelling their names and clapping. Hollering about promised treats. Bringing out meat that I hoped they were close enough to smell. But, nothing worked, and I had to get going. I locked the door. “Fine,” I thought, “this will teach them a lesson about running off.” They were never gone more than fifteen minutes anyway. My errand shouldn’t take that long. I searched for them the whole way to City Hall. Dashing up and back down the hill of steps wasn’t preferential in a mask when you were pudgy, but bill paid- check. Now, home to the doggies. Except, there were no dogs or even signs of dogs.

I could hear dogs barking at a distance. I had to climb a ski slope of a hill to get to them. Halfway up I came three-quarters down and hurt my leg. So much for that stunt. I hobbled home and one word hit my already queasy with worrying body: FACEBOOK. Surely someone had seen them. I even had good, recent photos.

I jumped on Facebook and posted pictures and where they were last seen. The platform asked me if I wanted to tie it to community help. I did that, too. Nothing. Back and forth on my knees to God. Nothing. Phone calls. Nothing. Yelling for them. Nothing. Bringing out meat. Nothing. I was heartbroken. I knew that they would come back if they could. Someone had them, and, with my list of enemies rivaling Batman’s, I had an idea who but wasn’t sure. I knew I would never see their sweet faces again.

I sat down sobbing and wrote the following letter on Facebook.-

To whom it may concern:

Please, treat them well so well that they forget about me. Join me in prayer for them every night to ensure their good health and hardiness and joy. They both have seizures and nightmares from past owners. Simply place a hand on their back, softly say their names, and tell them it’s okay. They know sit and stay. Little One (the Staffy) almost has lay down and roll over. They will do these for a treat. Please, don’t make them bait dogs; it would kill their beautiful spirits. Honor them and they will honor you. I don’t know why you did this to them or me, but you broke up a family today. Please, tell them that Mommy will see them on the other side of the rainbow bridge. Hold them, let them run, keep them safe, warm, and their bellies full.

Suddenly, it hit me. Maybe they couldn’t hear me and needed some help and encouragement getting home. But, where was the highest flat surface nearby? THE CHURCH! MY CHURCH!! I jumped in the car and was in the church parking lot in less than a minute. I scrambled out. Seeing the countryside was rather daunting and depressing, but I yelled their names as loudly and long as I could and clapped my bat wings to limper noodles. Nothing.

I returned home, and, leaving the door ajar just in case, I slumped onto the loveseat and began a soft cry. I picked up a cigarette, which I rarely do anymore, and lit it. Then, I heard myself say, “Don’t look at me like that it’s been a daunting day.” Wait. What? I was talking to one of the dogs! Where’s your sister? Then, she came rolling in. Hugs and kisses abounded! I announced on Facebook that they were safe and home. For their punishment, they had to watch me enjoy a wonderful Joel O’Steen sermon. I thanked God a gazillion times for bringing my sweeties home.

King of the Bundle

You know that feeling like someone is watching you-well- because someone is. She had experienced that feeling all day while working at the library. Then, she eyed him, first at the anime collection in juvenile fiction, then from behind the lighthouse in the children’s section, next staring lazily at her from behind a pc in computer arts. The whole ordeal would have been off putting if it wasn’t so funny. He was in his late 30’s to early 40’s. She was a divorced old maid with greying hair and grandchildren. It’s not that the attention wasn’t flattering, but it wasn’t nor was it welcomed. Mom and dad may have been divorced, but they had loved each other at fifteen years old and they loved each other at almost seventy years old. They just couldn’t stand one another.

Mom came home for a late lunch, because she was working that evening. She regaled the story of her admirer to Granny and me until we were all in hysterics. As she went out the door to return to work, Granny commented, “You be careful tonight.”

I later understood the meaning of this warning when Granny explained to me where the man lived. There was a tall, old brick building behind the library that was built to house low income males mainly veterans and the disabled. Now, the housing unit had become a den of thieves filled with ex cons and drunks. “Great,” I thought, “and Mom’s been targeted by one of them.”

That evening at quitting time, Mom answered a call at the library. “I’ve got a little something special planned for us tonight,” he promised and hung up. She turned her computer off, grabbed the buck knife she carried, opened it thinking- I have a little something special for you, too. Turning the lights off, she quickly locked the door and spun around toward her car. A squirrel hurried into the bushes. Damn squirrel! We nearly had vermin for dinner. She refocused and made it into the car okay checking the backseats and locking the doors along the way. Up to her right, she noticed a bright light coming out of a window of the all male building.

Oh, no she thought. Mom couldn’t let him see her satisfy her curiosity of her something special. So, she backed up with her back facing the well lit room. While putting the car into drive, she glanced up with her eyes only to find him in only leopard skin briefest of briefs striking his best Tarzan pose.

Later, when she and I were hooting and hollering over it, she added, “That wasn’t the worst part. He was dripping in some kind of oil, and his biceps weren’t the only things bulging.”

The Reluctant Hero

I wasn’t allowed to speak to him or of him for that matter. He was the reason dad drank and stayed home, alone on holidays- supposedly. I bore the brunt, because I had his blue eyes.

The calls started when I was about eleven. Pepaw would ask if I could talk meaning was I alone. I would give the all clear and he would ask if my eyes were still blue. The smartass in me wanted to respond that no, they had turned brown overnight, but the matter seemed extremely important to him as if he were holding onto something an eleven year old couldn’t see by a thread of hope. Then, we would pack. Pepaw and I were time travelers, you see.

We were back on his battleship in Midway. Being the boat’s volleyball champ and mailman was getting him nowhere fast during this battle. Pepaw tried to saw through flooding compartments to release dying sailors only to hold the hands of men taking their final gasping breaths. He aided medics as best he could running from one to another.

Then, he eyed it- a kamikaze headed straight for the bow. His best friend at guns trying to shoot him down. Pepaw watched in horror as his buddy collapsed- shot several times. Those volleyball champ legs had him flying to the post. If the kamikaze was successful, the ship would flounder. He reluctantly threw his pal off of the guns and strapped in. Now, it was just he and his enemy. The shooting commenced. Suddenly, the aircraft barely switched trajectory and, nearly missing, went over the bow of the battleship. Caught up in their own hell, few even noticed. However, as Pepaw turned around, he ran right into a camera and crew filming him. He took one look at the scene around him and decked the cameraman.

Pepaw came home but never truly came home.

Do You See What I See?

She Walks in Beauty like the Night by Lord Byron as printed by George Gordon

Mom in a tree on a mini vacation

Tonight, if for a brief moment, I visited the past and not the dark parts but the light. Mom was and remains my light on a hill shining truth and goodness into my soul with a love so pure and deep no man could break it. Our bond is unique and beyond the white washed grave.

Christmas. She wove Magic and Beauty and Delight with a heavy helping of what the season entailed (a little bit of Jesus) for everyone she encountered. Mom wore her scarf high and her toboggan low to hide her elfin ears…too much of her spectacular might frighten other children. But not her own! We soaked it in drove on drove and begged for more.

But, not her own, we trudge on grief stricken. I have not celebrated Christmas for over fifteen years- since she became riddled with cancer and died. I had an old visitor who I hadn’t seen in nigh a decade- the Christmas Spirit. Startled at first glance, I welcomed my old friend with a warm hug – the good kind where you let them pull away first. This year is looking like a tight Christmas. There will be no perfectly presented packages under my artificial tree. But, I will pull my toboggan low and my scarf high as to not frighten the little ones.

You Look Just Like Her!

As I look at my stained glass eyes of red, buff, and white, I marvel at how much I look like her-my shaggy auburn mane adding to the effect. I see Mom staring right back at me. My sister must see the quality, too, because, every time I ask her if I should go back to blonde, I get an emphatic YES AND ALWAYS!

If one were to line up my sister, my brother, and me, one would think that we were just friends talking make that arguing make that fighting. From my sister’s 5’2” stature to my brother at 6’2” and me in the middle, we look nothing like siblings taken as a whole. However, if one were to divide us up into pairs, the resemblance is uncanny- short, medium, or tall.

I remember athe snotty photographer at my brother’s wedding. While he pulled off an amazing shot of my brother looking like he was hovering above Granny’s beautiful backyard, he had to do an even trickier photo of the three of us up close without cutting heads off. He nailed it! Of course, all of the things precious to me in the storage units were stolen, so I don’t have the picture.

I miss my brother, but not as much as I miss Mom. The poem, “She Walks in Beauty like the Night,” perfectly describes her- remembering that light and dark are not inherently good or evil; it’s what we do with them that counts. And, she did exceedingly well with both. I love you, Mom. Until we meet again…forever, your youngest.