When but a wee one, and actually probably into my pre-teen years, I hunted around in the yard for "things", meaning flowers, worms, rocks, tree bark, or bugs. You name it. I found it. I dragged it into the house. Other stuff fits into the "things" category I'm certain but it's bugs that brought all those adventures back to mind.
The yard was huge, or so I thought. Now it seems decidedly small. It was easy then to spend a day crawling around close to the ground looking for other forms of life. Bugs were fascinating. Therefore, I had a bug jar.
You had one too, didn't you? Mine rose from the stash of items my mom had stored reminding her and now me of my explorative childhood. Inside was a note telling what it was "First Bug Jar" Outside was just as telling for it was a Peter Pan peanut butter jar bearing a metal lid with yellow paint and red lettering delcaring "Mothers love it." Stabbed into the lid were the humanitarian breathing slots my dad made, using his ever-present pocket knife, to keep the captives alive.
Funny, one simple item from the past brings for the evening's fresh air smells, the hops of grasshoppers and chirping of crickets, the burning trash in the barrel, marshmallow roasts. Dogs in the neighborhood barked when my hunt extended beyond the yard and a pal or two joined me. Squirrels were often canvassing the same land as we were, and would chatter. That bug jar held many a firefly or lightning bug for I was interested in watching them glow not in smearing their glow across another surface to see how long it would last. By having a bug jar a child had reason to be outside. It was the science of life or the life of science; educational and imaginative.
Just wondering; me in jeans and my teddy
What do kids do now? Are they allowed to get dirty outside? Do they observe?
I fear our senses are all becoming dulled by the invasion of foreign materials - the plastics, the polyesters, the stuff that lasts forever.
It'd be so much nicer to have a bug jar with a firefly and appreciate what we've been given to observe for only a short while. Then it would be the memories that last forever. I'm not just saying it would be the bug jars but the memory of what went into getting one made, a parent-child memory as well as the independence of a child on her own, not aware that big people were watching her as closely as she was watching the world around her.
The O'Hein Clan extends warm - yes, WARM - wishes for a glorious St. Patrick's Day to all. The lone human male wears green and one poocheroo has a green collar but we salute our shamrock plant and raise a pint or two (only humans do that) in celebration on the authentic day.
"Lucky Bill Cosby Hein" speaks for all of us!
The two on the right are our seniors so they sat out while the rest of us went hunting for leprachons, early this a.m. The little rascals are pretty good at hiding and I'm not sure we actually saw much more than their shadows as they scurried about in the creek bed. Nor did we happen to find any pieces of gold they may have dropped in their darting to and fro.
What's with that? Look really closely at the mossy rocks below. If you see one of those tiny guys please let me know. I'll help make arrangements for you to get kind and considerate treatments.
O'Leary and O'Toole
Kate's Blarney Stone
As for the black kitties, they don't reside here but how could I resist including them and bringing them a bit o'luck on a day like today?
If you don't have one of your own, please know you are welcome to come and kiss my blarney stone :-)
Yes, the name is Kathleen Merry. Yes, there's more than a touch of Irish running in this blood!
Not too long ago I settled into my car (almost said "jumped" but that would be misleading) and headed into town, probably to go to the library or walk someone's dog or drop something in the mail. That part doesn't matter. Arriving at the first and only stop sign, about 3/4 mile from here, I saw a truck at the end of a long driveway, aka lane. In it was the man who owns the property. He seemed to be lingering, perhaps just waiting for me to stop and go. OK, I could do that. Admittedly sometimes I coast and go but this time I did the full stop. As I looked over and gave him the country folks wave I noticed there was a young goat behind his vehicle.
Well, in spite of the chill in the air, it was nice enough for a young goat to be out and about, briefly. It seems odd that the end of the lane was where he was though. So I rolled down my winda (window to many of you) and said to the guy, "There's a goat behind your truck!" Now, I have no idea what he heard other than that it was not enough and I received a "Huh-what?" back. More loudly I exclaimed something similar and began gesturing. We repeated this till he got the point.
It was his kid all right. Kid, as in young goat, that is. He had no idea it was following him as a pet dog might run behind a pick up, to the end of the lane. The goat may have even gone into the road, who knows. Clearly it was "attached" to the guy! Maybe this old goat was the only parent this kid had ever known.
This week there are new calves showing up in the pastures. Sadly one new baby had managed to get across a downed fence and into a plowed cornfield. Mom had followed and was shielding the calf from straying too far.
Once again I was headed to town for some mundane task but first I pulled into the farm to tell them they had a cow and calf loose. No one was home. No sense in leaving a note. About all I could do was hope someone who knew the herd came along and "shoo'd" them back in place and fixed the fence. Late that evening I noticed neither was standing in the cornfield. It's hard to tell who was who in the grazing herd. Gotta hope the coyotes didn't get the baby. Oh, I know they have to eat too but, please, not a brand new calf.
Circumstances and nature create memorable and sometimes bittersweet stories. Quirky critters pop up every so often and we notice it most in our pets. But out in the country, if we take the time to observe, we see other of God's creatures making their way in the world. Most often it is the undomesticated or non-farm animals but at times it's the stray goat or calf. Makes me realize that we do need to take good care of this earth for all who reside here.
It was bound to happen. I ended up in yet another PA-rade. Granted, it had been about 3 yrs. since I tackled the parade route, dog on leash, feet in comfy shoes. But this St. Pat's Day parade, albeit a few days early, was a real eye-opener. Shameless BEGGING for candy. Delays. People drinking far too early and looking far too hopeless. Really, it was difficult to look at the crowd.
I couldn't help think...what if I was from another planet and this was my first day, the first place, the first thing I saw? Cripes, what if I was from another country on this planet?
I have to let that go though. It's not my issue. I don't like being accountable for my own well-being - it'd be much more fun to whooooooop it up all the time. It was each person's decision to be there doing whatever they were doing. No doubt they are all perfectly civilized every other day of the year, even the guy who spilled beer on my dog.
Well, I had to get a pet reference in there, didn't I?
READY FOR A COMPLETE TURNAROUND?
I am reunited with THE most wonderful female friend! We have been trading messages, real US mail cards, and emails and tonight finally spoke on the old-time tellie-phone for, oh, over an hour, I'm sure. And I have happy feet because that's where the dancing starts and works its way up to my heart and head. Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming back and being so vulnerable. There will be time soon to return to our vagabond days - why, I'm ready to pack now! I think we have destinations we've not even discussed. We have hours of talking and walking and ...well, whatever it takes!
Amen to that! Life is no longer on hold anywhere, officially.
It just came to me, that name "Calgon". Those who are too young to remember must be informed that Calgon (a bath additive for soaking and softening) used to run a commercial that suggested taking a Calgon bath could transport one from a rough day to a decidedly better one.
So today, when I worked with the animal rescue/transport I realized we were bringing better days to many "Calgon" dogs and cats. Lord, have mercy, believe me, the tears flow in this volunteer effort. I don't now and never will understand vicious treatment of animals (or people).
Coming home from unloading and walking and re-loading dogs for the next leg of the transport my vision blurred and my heart pounded. I was angry and disturbed. Stick with me.
I'll share 4 stories, all from just this week. You keep in mind that these 4 are roughly 1/8 of the total number of stories each week, so 4 x 8 x 52. Some people are right. I should write a book.
OK, first I'll tell you about Jackie. I met Jackie's owner while doing "Donation Dog" for the Forever Home Feline Ranch . In January we were raising money; he came tottering over, cane in one hand, cap on head, etc. We chatted and he revealed he had adopted a wonderful 2 yr old dog that soon would need to be re-homed as he was to move to assisted living. Ah. Well. He gave me his number when I said "I'll try..." Knowing I'd need more info and some time, I called the next week to get the details and a rough idea of when he was moving. He and his wife had decided "...not yet..." OK - Good News. Last Saturday she called me.
He had passed away (86, WWII vet). Jackie needed her new home quickly as the widow could not take care of her. Thanks to the solid efforts of the transport team's coordinator who selects dogs and matches them with loving rescues and welcoming fosters at the other end of the route, Jackie traveled on the transport today. Jackie had a happy (third) beginning.
Realize now, I will sandwich in the stories of Hannah and the dog I call Calgon, then finish with another good story. If you can't stand agony skip to the bottom.
Hannah, a Vizsla mix, needed to be walked and then crated up for the ride. That went well but then we had to move her to another vehicle, tethered rather than crated, so Calgon could go in the available crate. Hannah came out of the crate nicely and she and I fell into a little love-fest with her licking my hands and me getting down to do some tummy rubs. The driver who brought her, Calgon, and others over came to me and revealed her story.
Hannah was the sole/soul survivor of a litter of pups. The person who had possession of them had beat them with a baseball bat and she managed to survive and get to freedom. Her head was a bit mis-shapen but I hadn't noticed until it was pointed out to me. And, frankly, would it have mattered? She had the forgiveness of an angel. She loved me, right there, right then, as if anything before made no difference. Dogs don't hang on to the harm done all the time, not unless there's something that strikes a remembrance or a familiar situation. Hannah received more hugs than ever and was gently put into the front seat of the young man who would drive her to the next stopping point. She was moving on, going foward, happily unaware of the impact her precious acquaintance had made on more than one person.
Looking over to the "walking/exercise" area my eyes fell upon Calgon. I know that's not her real name but I never did catch it so she's the "title" dog. She was being walked by another of the female volunteers because a man had abused her so badly she would not leave the crate if one was around. Her timidity was heartbreaking. Here was a dog who was remembering the evil she experienced just by the mere presence of a male figure. All our wonderful and caring guys had to move away and give her room.
As I watched her sniffing around it was as if I was looking at a walking skeleton. Had her dulled black coat not been stretched around her frame that's exactly what it would have been. She was that thin. Hip bones protruded where strongly muscled flesh will soon be. Ribs were revealed, encased in skin that will soon be rubbed and patted. A shrunken tummy existed in the place that will soon be full of good food and then overrun with good old fashioned belly rubs. Her big head will be raised and her eyes will be filled with hopes before this day ends.
But until now, her life was dismally empty and, if dogs experience this, she was probably regretful. If thinking or reasoning occurs somehow she had to be wondering why she existed. Now she knows. She's here to bring happiness to someone. We're here to help her accomplish that.
Lastly, let me introduce Dimond, a 4 yr old Cocker. A cuter, softer, sweeter doe-eyed pooch you cannot imagine. She arrived with "mom" and "aunt". Aunt was driving, of course, because Mom was already trying to be strong and handle this. I do not know what Dimond was being re-homed but suspect it was age/health related for Mom. Dimond entered my embrace and I talked with the women to comfort them during this exchange and to assure them she's going to be all right. Dimond, like Jackie, had a decent start in life and like every dog or cat who travels on our weekend excursions, will have a wonderful future. The "aunt" shoved a fist full of money into my palm for helping. It goes to save others.
So there are the 4 profiles. Some weeks most of the stories are sad. The fact that all the animals have been given up is overwhelmingly and emotionally draining because we know there will always be more once these are placed in homes. But we look at the positive - not at the chances but at the assurances that they are going to see better days. Taking the deep breaths and speaking the quiet prayers for safe travels and of gratitude start as soon as we meet the pets with whom we've been entrusted each weekend.
And, to those who have mis-treated them or others, or humans, I only can say that I cannot possibly hunt you all down. I'm too busy and you're not worth my time. But God knows you and knows where you are and just when you will see Him. You will face Him and He will remind you what you did. I rest well knowing that.