Saturday, June 27, 2009

Names and Apologies

First, the apologies.

It rained early this morning. I looked forward to a day off from working with my good friend, Manual Labor. At 6:30 it peetered out. Darn. Again, I'm on a treadmill of work. I apologize for my attire. Writing this episode in only my shorts is tacky. Then there's my clogged sinuses. I hope you can understand me.

Apologies to Ella and Del. I get so confused sometimes. I went back and reread the blog where I mentioned Del's real name. Gosh, the next thing you know I'll be letting people in cyberspace know you live on the west side of Milwaukee right off Bluemound Road. To make up for the paparazzi on your front lawn, I've hired a security detail from Chicago. It's not like you are in the witness protection program, but with a Sicilian last name, ya just never know. Tell Rachel, oops, I mean Julie that she's just too nice. Linda( oops) I mean Dawn said she asked Julie why she didn't grab more beads from our old store inventory in the barn. Rachel(oops) said she didn't want to take more than she needed at the time. Just too nice.

So, I don't use real names in my writing. A person more clever than me could quickly find out from our e-mail address who we are and where we live. Aach, there I go. Just to clear a few things up, my first name really is Roger. After a few days of clarity my mother decided she didn't like Roger. The birth certificate had already been issued. She changes it to Robert. Then for reasons too numerous in this post, she puts me in a foster home-a nice Polish family on the west side of Milwaukee. My crazy foster mother decides to add Joseph, John, Francis, Aloysis to my first name(s). For added effect, she tacks on their last name:Graczyk. Years go by. Through my business I form association with certain native peoples. One Ojibwa elder gives me a Native American name. Add three more names. To make things more complicated my last name is extremely common. So common that I am often confused with certain other people with the same last name. I get their mail. Once, when I was still teaching, I get a phone call. "Hello," I respond to the caller. " I want you to leave my wife alone," he says.

You know how you wish you'd said something but didn't after you hang up? "I don't know what you're talking about," I tell the angry man. I should have said, " Are you referring to Alice, Cindy, Mary or Sue? I get them mixed up."

sAm, one of my listed followers, comments that her son thinks the Pooch is an unusual name for a cat. His real name is Salvatore Pucci. He comes from Sardinia. Stowed away on a tramp steamer and worked his way from the east coast to the Midwest. Don't believe that one? You know how kids can't pronounce names? When I lived in Milwaukee, I bought a house from a nice couple on the east side. Her name was Mooey. How 'bout them apples. Mooey is the short, kidese form of Muriel. When my urchins were still rug rats, we had a dog. His name was Booker. We wanted to name him Booger, because he was a little snot, but propriety prevailed. Booker was one letter away. I believe it was the youngest who'd call out, "C'mere poochie kitty." It was her way of affectionately greeting the dog.

Then this cat wandered our way one below-zero February night. I began to notice certain dog like traits. He fetches like a dog. We go on walks together in the late afternoon. Early one spring morning, before he was fixed, he treed a raccoon. I'd watch him mark territory like a dog, peeing on fence posts that marked our east property line. Yes, he's a pooch.

Two more "last things".

I'm going to pick strawberries. The crop is just about over, but the Amish say I can pick whatever I want for free. I got yelled at for wanting more strawberries, but these are going to make syrup. In January, they'll be much appreciated.


We had a cat that died in Arizona at age 19. She was and is still missed. Like the Pooch she wandered into our lives unannounced. Afterward, I resisted having any animal because they tie you down. In the country there aren't many people to come and take care of pets or livestock. I knew we'd get another pet and just left it to- if it happens-so be it. Back in 2006 a terrific beagle puppy wandered on to our property. I tried to find its owners with no luck. At the time I was unemployed, hardly able to afford food for myself, let alone dog food, vet bills and so on. I gave it away to a Hispanic couple across the river. He was a great dog. I named him Scratchy.


After his most recent escapades, the Pooch is back in form. The night before last, patrolling the basement he caught a mouse. I thought it might be the one I saw him stalking late one night. When he stands in front of an object, like our dryer, I know he's telling me something. I'm just too dense to get the message. I learned that outside, if I pick him up and he stares at the shutters on the house, there's bat behind them. Once, I unhooked the tie on a patio umbrella after the Pooch repeatedly wanted to get inside. Fourteen bats fell out when I opened it up. My wife tells me that her clothes smell bad. She left them in the dryer overnight. She attributes it to dampness of the clothes and high humidity. I toss a load of sheets in the Whirlpool because there's too much wash to hang outside. Peeyew. I know that smell. Dead animal. I disengage the vent pipe at the back of the dryer. Sure enough, there one soggy, dead mouse at the bend of the pipe. Shoulda listened to the Pooch. He's a good boy.

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