Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Another Storm Story (she's killin' me! ;)

This morning dawned rainy and cold, typical fall weather for the day before Thanksgiving in Missouri. Will had to work, but I have the day off, and thank you for that because I need to clean before tomorrow's festivities. There is, however, a delay in the process because both of the adult children are still asleep, one with a crashing headache.

So while I'm waiting for a decent hour to start running the vacuum cleaner and crashing dishes and clutter around, I'm enjoying a quiet cup of coffee with no school or urgent jobs to interrupt. As I wander out to the kitchen to warm up my cup I'm shadowed by a beautiful black German shepherd with pitifully sad eyes. "No, Storm. I'm sure Daddy already fed you." She lays down flat and looks up at me with all the sorrow of a starving puppy on a pet shelter ad.

I've become inured to her various attempts to manipulate me, so I ignored her and went back to the living room. She waited about five minutes before coming out and sitting by my feet - read as: sat on my foot and leaned her 75 pounds on my leg with her head pressing heavily on my knee. Again the sad eyes looked up at me. Bolt couldn't do a better job with all the acting coaching that little black cat could conjure.

I picked up my cell phone. Maybe he didn't feed her because he knew I was getting up and staying home. I dialed the number...she lifted her head enough to take the weight off, still hopeful. But when I asked Will if he had fed her, she turned her head away and started looking guilty. That's right. Not only had he fed her, he gave her all her morning meds and treats. After I hung up, laughing, she walked over to her pillow and sits now with her chin on the window sill looking dismally out at the rain.

It's really too bad I can't teach a smart dog like that to clean bathrooms.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Storm: My GSD on DST

Let me begin by saying that my German shepherd, Storm, is one of the smartest dogs I've ever known. As a puppy she learned commands quickly and eagerly and surpassed our trainer's expectations. She's almost eight years old now and a genuine joy in our lives...except when her aging bladder wakes us up at 4:30 a.m.

She has a pretty regular schedule. We get up at 5:30 and shower, then Daddy takes her out to go potty by 5:45 and feeds her breakfast. No problem except when we change the clocks, especially in fall. I can understand. I can even relate. My body clock wakes me up as promptly on Saturday mornings as the alarm clock does on weekdays. When 5:30 a.m. rolls back to 4:30 a.m., I try to enjoy the extra hour of sleep.

Not so with Storm. She comes fussing at his side of the bed. Then she comes whining at mine. For a few days after the time change we try to put her off a little at a time to help her adjust, but here we are a couple weeks later and she's still trying to convince us to get up an hour earlier.

Last Saturday we had had enough. Storm started with Daddy. He told her it was too early. Then she came to me. "Storm," I moaned. "It's too early! Another hour at least!" so she walked up to the night stand, read the clock - I kid you not, read the clock - and went back to her pillow, laying down with a big sigh.

I love that dog. :) 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Prelude to Deer Camp

I recently published a Thanksgiving poem on Associated Content, but my husband liked this one better. So, just for him, here's "Prelude to Deer Camp."

On a crisp fall Thursday morning in November,
with smells of dinner already filling the house, 
we rushed around
fighting for the bathrooom, searching desperately for run-free pantyhose that fit--
No Slacks for Church!

Dad smoked his cigar in his chair
waiting quietly on the fringe of the chaos,
its gnawed stub the only indication
of his increasing urgency
to leave.

After church 
we rushed back home
to put finishing touches on food,
find enough flatware,
pack our dishes and maybe a change of clothes
and back into the car we went,
off to town for the Big Family Dinner.

Aunts, uncles, cousins
flooded the church annex.
The men sat around tables with cards and smokes
while the women prepared the buffet tables,
leaving us kids the task of setting the tableware
and staying out from underfoot.

Rich cooking smells flooded the senses
finding every hidden corner of the building.

Piles of plates,
huge bowls of rolls,
platters of turkey, dressing, and every
   vegetable dish known to man at that time,
each recipe carefully followed from
Betty Crocker's Cookbook 
and the latest issue of Better Homes and Garden.

Dad or one of his brothers
would lead the blessing.
We ate to bursting and went back for more.
Parents in their own zone
monitoring us on the edge of their vision
before sending us off.

we put on plays and hosted
family talent shows,
played games for prizes
and sang songs and hymns
like a spontaneous angelic choir.

And sometime
during the course of the day,
Dad slipped out to the car for his gear,
transferred it to the trunk of another cousin's car
and headed north to the woods for a week
or more
while we waited at home,
hoping for fresh venison.