Friday, September 28, 2012

Dog and Toad

Dog and Toad

He was here
A couple of days ago;
The dog found him
Galumphing along
Slowly,
Slowly enough to be caught,
Carried in her mouth
For a short while before
Being dropped back into
The soft cool of the grass
And fallen leaves.
I wiped her chin
Where the toad had been.
Gone is the toad
Must be too cold
Time for making
A home down deep
A place of rest and sleep
Until spring arrives
And warms him
Back to alive
And puts a jounce back
In his bounce.

©Donna JT Smith, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Look! Look! See Lab Fetch!

On our way to the beach at Friendship yesterday, we spotted a few people out walking their dogs. It was a beautiful afternoon for walking. There's a leash law in Maine, so when you walk your dog they have to be on a leash or under your voice command, and, of course, you need to bring little baggies with you, in case your dog drops little treats anywhere.

So it was a bit of a surprise to round a hill and have this huge black lab meandering down the middle of the road and crossing in front of our car. We slowed down so as not to hit him, and then saw the owner, a woman, up ahead about 20 yards calling the dog, who was essentially ignoring her. So much for voice control, let alone leash. Often people from away come up here and think we don't have rules or laws. We're the wilderness, after all. It's amazing what we've seen people from away do that they wouldn't think to do at home. Anyway, that's another day.

So we avoided her dog and went on down to the beach where I walked on the beach, and my husband relaxed. We stayed probably only 15 minutes, before deciding it was time for supper at Moody's Diner.

As we headed back up the road, we encountered the woman first, no dog in sight. She was waving her arms a bit and telling us to be careful, as her dog was somewhere up ahead around the bend where she couldn't see him. We could hear her calling him as we slowly proceeded down the road.

Oh, it was near 100 yards down the road, around another bend, out of sight and sound (for us anyway) of the woman, when we saw the lab trotting at a slow pace up the middle of the road toward us. It looked like he had a white MacDonald's bag or bakery bag swinging from his mouth. Something in his trot told of his happiness with himself. Must have found someone's lunch, I thought.

But as he got closer, I saw something red sticking out to one side and two yellow sticks protruding out the opposite way from the bag. Nope, not a bag of snacks had he retrieved. It was a chicken! He had found a neighbor's nice plump white hen, and he was proudly bringing it to his unaware owner.

We stopped the car in the middle of the road - because everyone knows you don't have to follow the rules in Maine - to watch the proceedings.

The dog continued past our car to happily trot up the road, petrified chicken in his gentle mouth. If you can imagine a cartoon chicken in a dog's mouth with the chicken's eyes wide and bugging out and two stick drawn legs with toes sticking straight out like snowman stick arms, well, then you have the picture. I was concerned for the hen somewhat, but knowing how our retriever carries things around I really was only concerned for how freaked out the hen was, and that it might have a heart attack before she was released from the slobbery lips of Lumbering Lab.

MY dog, with her bag o' chicken!
Really, it did look like this to me.
Soon the owner came into sight as we watched through our rear view mirrors. She called to the dog who didn't change his pace in the slightest. The owner hadn't moved much either. Since she had the dog in sight, she just called to him.  She must not have noticed that huge white thing stuffed in his mouth yet.
She called some more and walked closer toward him when he slowed his pace a bit. Suddenly I heard her cry out and start running toward 'Ole Lumbering Lab.  Aha, she must have finally seen it!

This was confusing to him, and he stopped in his tracks.
"What? She seems upset! Why is she scolding me? I brought her a chicken. She loves chicken. I love chicken. We can share it."

Now the dog seemed a little ashamed of the perfectly natural thing he had done, and had been so proud of just a few minutes before. He put the hen down gently on the ground in front of him in the road as the woman came running up to him.

Of course, at this point the hen had begun to come to her senses and suddenly realized that it was her opportunity to exit stage left. She scrambled to right herself onto her stiff legs and ran into the bushes off to the side of the road.

Problem! Now the prize was leaving and the dog, forgetting to remain ashamed and in one spot, had to charge off into the bushes, followed closely by his master - which, by the way,  I'm not really sure you could call her at this point.

Obviously neither one of them listens to orders. And that is where we left them.

Thought about helping. We could have told her - "He's a bird dog. That's what he does. Tell the dog "Good boy!" and grab his collar (he does have one, right?). Then he'll drop the chicken and you can take the dog back in control to your cottage you're renting down the road." But it would be like aiding and abetting, or enabling, or something. How would anyone learn if it was too easy?

Note to summer folk: Our chickens are free range, but your dog shouldn't be. This is not the wilderness. I shouldn't have to watch out for your dog, and neither should the chickens. Next time wear your leash...both of you.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Warp and Weft

Yesterday was the 9 year mark for my mother's departure for Heaven.  She had surmised in her head that she would be leaving about the same time my father passed away two years prior.  She had her hair ready a few days before she died.  Her affairs were all in order.  She was ready to meet her Maker and see my dad.  Her passing was two years, a week and a day after my father's.  She was ready...not sure we were.  But this is for her.  It was supposed to be yesterday's blog.  I wasn't ready.

Two years after
his death
you left
With worldly reason
We mourned the theft
Bereft
Throwing off
Chain's heft
Now deft
Two soul mates
Once cleft
Again warp and weft
Two years after
He passed
At last
Heaven's Heavenly
Enmeshed
Flawlessly fleshed

I like to think of it that way, not sure God does it that way though. 
I guess I'll know later.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Anniversary Sunday


Today my husband woke up with a cough that started yesterday morning just before church.  In spite of that, we had a fun afternoon at my brother's and sister-in-law's house.  My sister came over and joined us for dinner.  Tim and I had run to the grocery store after church to pick up dessert.  We chose Cherry Chocolate Chip ice cream and strawberry cheesecake - without really thinking of the color scheme - ruby.
So when my sister said, "Good colors for today," it struck me that they indeed were good colors for a ruby anniversary dessert!

Then she brought out the presents.  Wow!  I didn't think we'd get presents!  But we did.  There was a basket of small presents wrapped in red tissue paper and a large red box with batteries stuck under red ribbons.

We decided to open the basket presents first, trying to guess what each could be before opening them.  Well, the first was a bottle of barbecue sauce - red, of course.  The next was a can of beets - um, red (Who gets beets for their 40th wedding anniversary besides someone in our family?)  Then a strawberry-rhubarb scented candle - an obvious choice for a red present.  After that came a strawberry-rhubarb jam.  And last, we felt a strangely tapered can inside the red tissue.  We had some trouble guessing that until my sister said sometimes it was pink and sometimes red.  A can of salmon!  Yum!

The box was opened last.  No guessing would have worked for this one.  Our best guess was electronic something, as the batteries attached to the outside by ribbon seemed to cry out "Use us!"

It was a pillow universal remote.  Now when I go to bed with the remote, it can't fall off the bed and pop open the battery compartment.  I will however, have to be careful not to fall asleep on it and change the channels.  It was not red though.  I think they ran out of red remotes.

After dinner and conversation, we went back to church for evening service.  It was followed by a surprise fellowship time with cake and sherbet punch and sandwiches and other wonderful treats supplied by ladies at the church.  I can't tell you how special it felt.  It was just like our wedding reception, only with a mostly new cast of characters.

Our wedding, 40 years ago, was held in a little church in the middle of Maine.  I made my wedding gown and veil.  My bridesmaids made their gowns.  I made candles for the women and myself to carry down the aisle in our evening service.  My husband and I ordered three different size round marble cakes with white frosting from a local bakery. We stacked our cakes largest to smallest, and I decorated them with some yellow frosting I had made.  I hand wrote 100 invitations with rsvp's.  My brother (who is now the pastor of the church I attend) was our very inexpensive (like free) photographer.  The ladies at the church made sandwiches and other hors d'oeuvres, and some punch to serve our guests.

It was a cozy, homespun event, and our celebration this day was another cozy, homespun event.  My favorite!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

40th Anniversary Ride

Tomorrow is our fortieth anniversary and we are taking a week of  vacation to travel around the state taking pictures and doing things we either haven't done before or going places we haven't gone before or doing and going to places we've experienced before and want to do again.
Today we are taking the Maine Eastern train up to Rockland for the day. Never been on this train and always said we were going to do this someday!  Today is someday! We chose the Parlor Car though it was a bit more expensive. Quiet and roomy!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lessons from Dad's Baseball Games

Today is the day my dad went to be with the Lord eleven years ago.  I miss him, but I can still see his twinkling eyes as he fashioned something out of nothing.  That was his life.


Lessons from Baseball

My father loved to play baseball,
And on Sunday afternoons
We would file out one and all
Ditching paper with cartoons.

We’d head off to our big backyard
With a Wiffle ball and bat
And even though he could not play,
Along came George, our cat.

The stately elm was our first base
Apple trees would make two more
The plum tree was the perfect spot
For the youngest's on-base chore

The plum tree spot was tucked away
Behind grapevine home plate
Where you could still be in the game
But safely watch and wait.

When we were very young and small
We’d get to swing and swing
He wouldn’t let us quit or stop
Till the plastic bat would ring

We always got a hit off Dad
From tree to tree we’d run
You might get tagged and make an out
But the running made it fun.

As we grew up and moved away
And found someone to marry
We’d still come home for our at bat,
Though base and team would vary.

With energy the baseball games
Were eagerly played anew,
Each soul would take a special place
As our young families grew.

When apple trees were hard to find
And Dutch Elm took first base
Still we could play the family game
Any time and any place

A Frisbee or a heel of bread
As targets for our feet
A vacuum cleaner tube for bat,
Rolled sock for baseball - sweet!

We learned you'd never go without
As long as you could see
Potential in the little things
Nudged to be what they could be.

I try to live by Dad’s wise ways
Whether bread or apple tree
I’m blessed to have the life I have
And that is all I need.

Love you, Dad!
©2012, Donna JT Smith