Sunday, June 12, 2011

Free At Last

I turned off the heat because the sun's coming through the living room curtains.  Both kids are on the deck enjoying a quiet Sunday morning.  I wish you could see the swallows flitting across the road, wings folded in prayer, dipping their beaks at the gravel.  At first light when my Blue Heeler jumped on the bed to wish me a good morning, it was foggy-hazy.  Sounds crazy, but the next thing she did was to say hello, after licking my face, her usual greeting.  I guffawed.

Mandy Mae yawns frequently.  I only pay attention to check her teeth and see if she needs more beef bones to gnaw on to keep 'em clean and white.  This time the yawn was stifled, brief and a definite vocalization, "Out," she said.

Trapped in a dog's body, she communicates to me in hundreds of ways.  I listen.  Ears, facial expression, posture and yes, she speaks.  My wife's an expert on dementia and is 10 years younger than me.  She'd be the first to recommend the old folks home if she saw signs of a depreciation of synapses. I ain't crazy.

A while ago, I noticed if  I asked Mandy a question , "Do you want to come in the house?"  she'd turn her head to the right side.  Do this frequently enough with controls on the side stuff -the divertisements-and she responds the same way. The side-ways glance I took to mean NO. Mid day when she's happy being outside, "You you want to come in?" gets me the side-ways glance.  Ask her at 7:30 pm after her dinner and she'll trot briskly in the house.

We're inside watching another flick on TV.  Mandy jumps down from an armchair.  If she's changing position or too warm from the overstuffed side chair, she'll jump down and flop on her side on the varnished wood floor.  Sometimes, she'll get off the chair and walk toward me and stare.  If I ignore her stare, she may decide it isn't worth the effort and go back to slurping the cat's ears, getting a drink of water or jumping back on the chair.

To keep her honest, I know for a fact she tells little white lies, I'll ask her,"Do you really want to go out?"

The stare intensifies.  "Are you sure?"  She shakes shakes her head very briefly, just her head, with no all body wiggling that signifies: I got an itch; I just rolled in poo and want to share it; or I hate being wet. I interpret this short head shake as a yes.  Dawn didn't believe it at first and was inches from her phone ringing for the gurney. Mandy does the same thing if I ask, "Do you want to go for a ride."

I pointed out each time the circumstances were controlled and confined confirming that she wasn't shaking off fluff, but rather responding with an action that means:

"Yes, you got it. Good for you!  Do you know how hard I work to get you to listen?" 

Imagine the frustration if you are a dog.  The cat has it worse because he's a dog trapped in a cat's body.  I heard him bark the other day, but that's 'nuther story.

How weird it is to have free time.  We spend all day in Lacrosse shopping.  One major stop is at the campaign headquarters for Jennifer Shilling

who is running against the Republican wiener Dan Kapanke a marionette in the Skippy Walker-Wisconsin Governor's show. We've been seeing six foot long signs of cut out letters which just say SHILLING.  Posted in our front field, the hundreds that pass by on the state highway would clearly get the message.

Jorge is on a vegan diet. He's the driver.  We stop at the Flying Carp Cafe, a downtown bistro that serves Cajun food under the alternate moniker of Buzzard Billys.  He orders the veggie Po' Boy without the cheese.  The cook thinks that slathering it in olive oil makes up for the lack of cheese or meat.  My catfish Po' Boy is pretty good. 

I pick up a 24 pack of good beer for Mountain Man Johann.  It's the last part of the deal in our window trade.  He gives me sixteen , one hundred year old windows from a church and I give him a small amount of cash and the promise of good beer.  I call him when we get home. He's unloading firewood.  I toss the case in the chest freezer because he says he'' come over shortly.  Johann is off the grid.  Having a cold one is a bit more complicated.  He shows up 45 minutes later beat to a pulp after putting in another hard day.  I ask, "How was it painting a barn in 96 degree heat?"  I get an understated, "The paint dried real quick?"

We stand there exchanging gab.  The night before a 'coon ate all his laying hens, killed his rooster and gulped down three chicks for dessert.  The goose hid by the cabin door.  Eating blueberry yogurt, Johann pours a trail leading to the live trap.  Next morning, Johann says, "There was the biggest, raggedly looking 'coon in that trap." He holds his arms out to show me the size.  Trial and sentence were brief.

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