Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Raining, Cats, and Dogs

Raining. The remnant of Dolly has brought us some much needed rain today! The arbitrary storms rain down both burden and benefit. I pray for those suffering damages and ill effects from her. Having grown up on the coast, I know well the preparation, emotion, and aftermath the gulf storms trigger. I remember being in our turn-of-the-20th-century house, dark with its boarded up windows, listening to the tempest rage just on the other side of the walls; trying to concentrate on reading, by flashlight or kerosene lamp if necessary; following Daddy outside when it was over into a daylight that seemed eery and a landscape that seemed eerily altered. Those memories of emergence always make me think of butterflies and baby birds escaping their confines into a strange new atmosphere.

Cats. I have a friend who is a crazy cat lady. I call her this with the utmost affection. I don't dislike cats...we keep quite a few 'working' barn cats that I can get attached to, but I do not invite them into our home (unlike the crazy cat lady who has a dozen or so). I was driving with the CCL late last night, and on the edge of a dark, narrow country road suddenly appeared a muddle of kittens. She cried out, 'KIT-tens, Kathleen! KIT-tens!" with such alarm that I had to fight to maintain my concentration on the job at hand, namely avoiding the scattering mass of furry little creatures without rolling my car again! With luck (and skill) I managed to avoid injury to both (wo)man and beast. Today I am feeling proud of myself for having regained my driving nerve and successfully avoiding more pain, injury, and loss. That the kittens were spared was a nice plus, but saving her hide and mine was definitely the first priority, and I'm not apologizing for it.


Dogs. We have a big yard. Today it is a big muddy yard. We have big dogs. Today they are big muddy dogs. One is a German Shepherd, and one is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. The shepherd was s-l-o-w to mature. For the first couple of years, she thought her name was 'dammit.' I used to joke with the vet that either she needed Ritalin or I needed Prozac. Thankfully, she has grown into a great dog. The retriever is still young. And he's pretty well behaved except for chewing up hoses...tree limbs...porch railings. Yes, we do give him safe things to chew, but he's like a beaver. I recently bought a pair of Adirondack chairs, and to safeguard them, I put them in a separate part of the yard and closed the gate. Then Jared's dog, Spike, came to visit for awhile (until Jared gets his fence repaired) and had to occupy that portion of the yard. Spike promptly began snacking on my new chairs' arms. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr. The chairs are now in the barn for awhile. Outdoor seating is nice to have. Dogs are essential.

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