Ol’ Slobber

Me and Chuck was in the fort in the back yard playing I Can Take It. I already won the hold-your-breath contest and we was decidin’ whether to use Ma’s straight pins or the matches he’d brought for the next contest when we heard a tank coming up the alley. Through the cattails, we saw a great big green rich guy’s utility thing. Rich Guy parked right behind us and didn’t see us in the stealth edition fort. He got out and took a white garbage bag out the back.

Something in that bag was bawling and clawing and one little paw was waving at us. He threw the bag in the ditch between us and the alley, then hauled ass on out with an awful lot of dust.  We forgot all about pins and matches.

The ditch is pretty deep and had a lot of water in it running right quick. If it wasn’t for snakes, I’d have jumped on in anyway, but the bag was done out of sight downstream. Naturally we jumped over the ditch and lit after it.

There was a bunch of sticks across the culvert and an empty white garbage bag. We heard the little fella in the weeds and dropped to our knees so we’d look less scary. In two seconds, he shot out the weeds and knocked me on my back. I pushed him away and sat up. I pulled my t-shirt off to dry my face off.

“Joe, that’s the ugliest damned dog I ever seen in my whole life.” Chuck was standing with his arms crossed, kicking the weirdo dog away. “We need to get us another plastic bag.”

I’m thinking that Slobber just needed a chance to show his value. I put my shirt back on. “Chuck, I gotta keep him, he ain’t garbage and he ain’t that ugly.”  He was, but he was sitting at my feet looking up with the most begging brown eyes and I had to say something good.

Slobber was long like a wiener dog, mostly shaggy and had a mashed in face with bottom teeth sticking out, about the size of a long-legged beagle. I tried teaching him fetch, to come when I called his name and to keep him from jumping up to lick my face; I failed at all of it. At the rate he was eating through my allowance, I confess a second thought about keeping him wandered into my mind.  When he dug up Ma’s flower bulbs, she went on and on about responsibility and that ten was old enough to control a dog. I had to tie him up but she compromised and started bringing home bags of dogfood, so not a bad trade since he was getting’ bigger fast.

It was raining that day and I knew better than to take the shortcut home from school, but tried jumping the ditch anyway. I slipped and fell back into the water. I was getting pulled downstream, so I grabbed a handful of cattails. Using my hands and knees to make it up the bank, I got bit by a damned water moccasin as I put a knee down. I hauled on up somehow and laid in the back yard crying my eyes out, holding my leg. Up runs Slobber.

“Get Ma! Go get Ma!” Slobber run off trailing his chewed off rope. I heard him banging on the back door, so I scooted around so I could see. Ma opened the door with a broom and he licked her as far as he could reach before running back to me. She chased him.

I loved that mutt and miss him every single day. I’ve had other dogs over the years, but none as wonderful and downright beautiful to me as good ol’ Slobber.

An Unfortunate Phobia and Chess

“Shawn, did you dump Chess somewhere?

“’Course not. Shut up.” He kept his eyes on his phone, his thumbs in a frenzy.

“You dump off every dog I get. Emery gave me that one, said she’d be quiet and not dig anywhere. So why’d you dump her?”

Home Road with Dog“Shut up. You think I dumped you stupid mutts somewhere, go look for ‘em.”

“You know I have a phobia about going outside in the open. You are so cruel to me. Are you really my brother or did they find you crawling around in a pile of pig shit?”

“You want cruel, how about I tie you to the clothes pole out there and whistle for the birds to peck your eyes out?”

“You did that when I was nine. I was in the hospital for a week. Hilarious, right?”

He put the phone down to let the thing charge a while. “I got the tar beat out of me, all because you keep playing that scaredy-cat ‘I cain’t go outside pity me’ thing. He checked his phone, 30% charged. “I still have the bite marks from the time you sic’d that poodle-mutant mutt on me.” He hiked up his jeans leg and pointed at the faint scars.

“You rolled me in a blanket and left me at the post office.”

“The mailman brought you back in the blanket, that was a hoot and a half!” He grinned until the memory kicked in. “You made that mutant mutt bite me and I got beat for that too, while I was bleedin’ all over the floor. Meanwhile Mom made over you like you was gold, the witch. I still got strap marks.”

“Don’t talk about Mom that way.”

“She chased Dad away and shot herself. You’re weak just like her.” He retrieved his phone and scooted over so the cord would reach.

“I do take after her.” She pointed a Ruger .38 at him. “Only I’m not gonna shoot myself.”

He glanced up. “It ain’t loaded.”

“I have a phobia. I am not stupid. It is loaded.” She clicked the safety off.

As he stared into the barrel, she heard a flurry of paw scratches on the front door. She lowered the pistol and Feb Cabin mutated barkypushed the safety back on.

She peeped through the curtain and focused on the dog. “Chess!” She put her back to the curtained door and closed her eyes. She let in three dogs.

Shawn stood a dozen feet away, frowning. “Where’d they come from?”

“Chess brought Minkie and Growlzilla back!” Petting the shaggy Schnauzer Chess, she cooed, “Clever doggie, oh yes, you kept me out of prison, didn’t you?” She smiled at her brother. “If they stay, the bullets stay right where they are.” Minkie, the very muddy Pomeranian-Dachshund mix, whined for some lovin’.

Growlzilla, the Chow mix, advanced on Shawn with a tightly curled tail and hackles rising.


The Apple Toy

Feb Cabin fruit tree lineI have a chewed up Winesap that is not going to make it. If everybody had as much trouble as me when it comes to fruit, the suppliers would not be able to give trees and plants away. Phooey.

You may know I work in town and only get home to the cabin on weekends. I have a small rocked front yard with the center cleared for a good-sized strawberry patch. My dwarf fruit trees live in big containers arranged around the patch. Last March one Friday, I rolled in after dark, so missed the tragedy on the snow covered ground.

That next morning I went out to check on my trees, to see the bud progress and look for bugs. I saw to my horror that one had been dragged away. I followed the dirt trail to the gnawed, misshapen fiber container. Then I spied the five foot switch in the weeds, chewed, that used to be a healthy second year Winesap Apple tree.

Thinking it might still be dormant enough, I replanted it. I sprayed it along with the others. I hoped. It really seemed like it might survive. Now I despair. Unlike the Gala, the Rome and the Yellow Delicious, this poor guy is brittle. No burgeoning buds. I can’t help but believe that if I could have found it much sooner I could have saved it. But I was 70 miles away.

I put a taller fence around the center garden patch. Ugly. However I do have indoor critters to raise my spirits…

Krink Beg 2Squirrel tableau WWJD Bear Chick Cracker More Cat Than Box Fatima RelaxedI


Luminary CatLab Dog by Keeping WatchColorful geckoNene Fairy penguinBeaverBat toy

HooDoo Remembered

I had money in my past life way out in sunny California. That’s now I earned enough to buy my land and cabin kit. Ain’t got none now, money that is, but that’s a different story. One of the unnecessary but cool things I bought in that halcyon time was a nice German scroll saw. These are the ones that have the fine serrated blades that go up and down so you can cut out all manner of intricate shapes. I got a wood burner pen with a nifty set of tips too.

A dozen years or so ago, the sad little boy down the way had brought me two puppies in a sack, saying his Mom had told him to go shoot them. Right, don’t take care of the cause, just keep killing the helpless effects…or get your impressionable son to do the dirty work. We have low-cost spay and neuter here and laziness is not a good excuse. I step from soapbox now, sorry.

Of course, I adopted them. I named them HooDoo and WhyNot. Hoo and Why were shaggy and gangly, truly goofy with one blue and one brown eye each. A couple years after I got them both fixed, Whynot disappeared…coyotes? There is heavy predator pressure around here and he was a brave fella.

HooDoo, the forty-seven shades of brown female, stayed closer to the cabin and became the sloppiest leap-and-lick sweetheart. Hoo became shaggier and more fun as the years passed and got along swell with my other animals. I loved the way she’d loll her head back and forth, dripping slobber. Rowdies in pick-up trucks tearing up the narrow gravel road hit her and fled without observable remorse.

Cabin June 2015 071

Fast forward, that saw is in the back of the garage with junk piled on and around it. I have no idea where the wood burner pen got off to. However, at one time I put it to good use. The doorway to the garage has a double light switch.