Monday, February 22, 2016

Dog Park Wisdom

It was warm here in the mid-south Sunday morning. The parking lot at the off-leash dog park of Shelby Farms indicated a good crowd was out enjoying an almost spring day.

The three most popular forms of entertainment for dogs at the park are swimming, chasing a ball or running with like-minded breeds. Many owners of the ball chasers carry a long flexible piece of plastic with a cup on the end to hold the ball. The ball can be thrown much farther across the field with one of these.

Just inside the park gates, a woman with one of these plastic doohickies was entertaining her two dogs, a lab and a small shaggy dog.  Both were chasing the ball, but the owner worked hard to keep the ball away from the smaller pooch.

"If he gets the ball, he won't give it up. Only has a few teeth, but boy, can he hold on to that ball," she explained.

"We picked him up on the streets in Denver," she went on. "That was 13 years ago. Last week I thought I was going to have to put him down, but look at him now." She threw the ball again. "His body had collected fluid; especially around the heart. There was blood there. Vet says he probably has a hole in  his heart."

The lab brought the ball back and she flung it again. "They said he'd only have a little while, three weeks at the most, before the fluid collected again and to keep him quiet. We stayed home for a couple of days. Both of us sat on the couch and were miserable. But then I realized we have a choice. He's had a long and happy life. It can end sitting on the couch or we can come out here where he loves to be." The larger dog returned the ball again with the scruffy mongrel hot on his heels.

She paused long enough to fit the ball back on the end of the doohickey and flung it again. "It's been over three weeks now. And would you look at him? He's acting like a puppy and having the time of his life."

I left the three of them there to catch up with my own dog who had run on ahead of me. I'd skipped church to spend more time at the park, but I'm not so sure I missed the sermon.

Friday, February 19, 2016


My better than standard poodle, George has a "thing" about cats. He doesn't dislike them as much as squirrels, but he definitely has a knee-jerk reaction involving vigorous barking, pulling on the leash and running in circles. It's probably territorial.

We walk twice a day. Some of the neighbors in our zero-lot line subdivision have a strong aversion to dogs walking in the neighborhood, and to accommodate them, George and I do most of our walking in the nearby off leash dog park at Shelby Farms. But occasionally, when I'm pressed for time, we will walk our street and head out to the main road for him to perform his daily constitutional.

One of the houses on the way to the main road has a life-size black cat statue on the top step. George tried to run it off the last two times we came across it. I took him up on the steps the second time to thoroughly examine the offending block of rock, sniff it alll over and learn for himself that it isn't real.

That was about a month ago. Last week we were returning from our walk when we came across a real black cat sitting in the same position as the statue but in a different location. I watched George as he caught sight of the offensive feline. You could almost see the wheels turning in the brain between those beautifully coiffed ears. He told himself it wasn't a real cat and kept on walking. We were almost completely beyond the cat when it panicked and ran away.

George went into his usual "I spy a cat" routine, but there was no heart in this performance. He was too busy trying to work out the difference between the real animal and the stone. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Invitation

I was a rough and tumble little girl. Part of my behavior could be attributed to my having been cooped up at home all my life. The opportunity to ride far away from home in a huge school bus full of other children every week day and spend the entire day surrounded by even more children was beyond my wildest imagination. I was beserk with freedom and companionship.

Next month I'm going back to Bastrop to hold a book signing for the general public with the class of '64 as the honored guests. Each will be individually invited with a formal invation through the mail. Those who were in grammar school with me will receive a special invitation.

Their invitation will read in part: "The formal reason for the event is a reading from my book, but that's just an excuse. My main reasons for throwing this party is to see everyone once again, and to apologize to all the boys I beat up and all the girls whose dresses I tore and made cry." If that won't draw them to the party, nothing will.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Oscars

A boycott has been called on this year's Oscar awards because no Blacks were nominated for any of the major awards. The Academy was accused of being an out of touch group of old White men. I do agree that one film with Black actors was neglected, but do not think the Academy of Motion Pictures was entirely responsible.

 Although I didn't see the film, I've been told that "Concussion" was outstanding. It's the story of the physician who discovered the lasting serious effects concussions have on athletes. Will Smith played the lead and had earned the reputation of a fine actor.

 It was suggested to me that the National Football League used its not insignificant political clout to down play the movie. (Yes, that's a terrible pun but is there any other kind?) Recent findings indicate early head injuries sustained playing a sport can have terrible ramifications on the quality of the players' later lives.

 The National Football League has a great deal more to lose in this situation than the Academy of Motion Pictures. In my old age, I've grown suspicious of all large organizations. This scenario makes sense to me. What do you think? Please comment below.

Friday, February 5, 2016


Yesterday some long-time friends took me shopping in Hernando, Mississippi, which is a mere 17 miles from Memphis.

On the short drive there, I learned Hernando once enjoyed the reputation of being the place to go if you were "in trouble" and needed a quicky wedding.

That was the twentieth century. Today's Hernando is an up and coming bedroom community to metropolitan Memphis with much to offer its residents and visitors alike.

We ate lunch at the Lady Bug Bakery. My chicken salad was made of long shreds of chicken breast with celery and minimal mayonnaise served on a bed of fresh lettuces lightly tossed in an oil and vineagar dressing. The slice of bread nestled on the side was freshly baked in house.

I bought a loaf of Italian bread and an apple fritter to take home. It wasn't an easy selection. The case was filled with original sounding cookies: Dolly Madison's like Mother used to bake along with Not Hostess Cupcakes and German chocolate macaroons. The Dolly Madisons were cut in more than generous four inch squares.

We parked in the parking of the county law library and strolled by the office of the Secretary of State to the yuppie gift shop. From there, we stopped at the dress shop and hit the sale rack. I resisted the temptation to eavesdrop on a young bride and her mother who were shopping for the special event. They were looking at cowboy boots. Could she be planning to wear them to tip toe down the aisle?

The local antique mall offered homemade items, used children's clothing and old furniture. I bought two bars of soap made from goat's milk and scented with kudzoo. I'll give them as a hostess gift next time I visit New Jersey.

A second antique store displayed a huge collection of metal signs on the outside of the building. One in particular caught my eye:    
                                                   One Good Woman
                                                   to cook and clean and sew for a man and six children
                                                   Must own John Deer tractor
                                                   Send picture of tractor