Posted tagged ‘barking dogs’

“A procession is a participants’ journey, while a parade is a performance with an audience.”

May 28, 2017

The morning is lovely; the sun so very bright. The air is sweet. When Gracie and I went to the backyard, I felt the early morning chill as I was awake and stirring before the arrival of my newspapers. My neighbors across the street were also awake. Their shades were up. The dogs from the corner house were barking.

I’ve had coffee but nothing else yet. I’m thinking maybe an English muffin. I eat a piece and Gracie eats a piece, but what she doesn’t know is pills are hidden in the nooks and crannies. When it comes to food, Gracie is easily duped.

Okay, my weather prognostication skills are faulty. It is still chilly, and it has gotten cloudy. The sun is on and off.  It is 61˚ and won’t get much warmer. At least it isn’t raining.

I watch far too many Forensic Files. Yesterday I cut my finger, but it didn’t hurt so I didn’t notice. A while later I saw the blood, cleaned my hand, and put a band-aid on the cut. I found blood smears on the door and bathroom faucets. Immediately I thought DNA evidence.

TCM is my viewing choice of the day. I just watched 36 Hours which I had never seen. The theme today seems to be Nazis and spies of all sorts out to thwart them. James Garner was this movie’s hero as was Rod Taylor, a Nazi who helps James Garner and Eva Marie Saint escape a fake hospital run by Nazis pretending to be Americans to get information about D-Day from Garner. Taylor convinces Garner it is 1950 and the war is long over. If you want to know more and wonder about Eva Marie Saint, you’ll have to watch the movie. Next up is 1942’s Journey into Fear starring Orson Wells.

My town has a parade tomorrow. I’m hoping it isn’t raining as I really do enjoy these little  hometown parades. The Memorial Day parade is the shortest. The middle school band provides the music, and every other year the high school band joins them. On the off year, the band goes to Yarmouth, the other half of the school district. Veterans, girl scouts, and boy scouts march. The boy scouts lug the same float they lug every year. There is always one jeep, the same one every year with the same driver. The end of the parade has fire trucks with their sirens blaring. It doesn’t matter that the parade is always the same. I think that’s my favorite part.

It’s game night Sunday!

“I like it where it gets dark at night, and if you want noise, you have to make it yourself.”

February 27, 2016

My stomach is still upset. Every morning our ritual is the same. I wake up first, Gracie is next and Fern last. We all stretch then get out of bed. Fern, Gracie and I head downstairs. Maddie comes out of her room and is last down the stairs. I open Gracie’s door then get my papers. Gracie gets a treat while Fern and Maddie settle on their spots for morning naps. Gracie is the last to settle in. This morning I noticed no Maddie. I called her, made that weird sound with my lips which cats seem to like but still no Maddie. I started reading the paper but was a bit preoccupied wondering where Maddie was. I drank my coffee and called Maddie a few more times. I went upstairs and checked her room, no Maddie on the bed. I was really worried. I checked outside just in case, no sign of her. I opened closets and looked under beds. I even stuck my head into the eaves and called her again and again. I went and walked around the yard not expecting to see her but just in case. I was frantic thinking something had happened to her. I put a can of food in the cats’ dish, came downstairs and checked the front yard. I had no idea what to do next. All of a sudden Maddie jumped on the den table. I have no idea where she could have been. Cats are notorious for hiding. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to throttle her.

We always had a dog when I was a kid. My father didn’t like cats though he never gave a reason. Their being cats was enough. I brought home a kitten my junior year in high school. My dad was working in Maine and came home only for weekends. He told me to get rid of the cat before he got home. I didn’t. He wanted to see it so I gave the kitten to him. It snuggled in his arms. The cat stayed and became the first of many cats. My father told other people the cat was my mother’s and he was not a fan. I always figured he thought dogs were masculine and cats feminine, but when no one was around, he patted them, scratched their heads and let them sleep beside him on the couch. He really was a fan.

My street is loaded with kids and dogs. There are nine kids under ten living in three houses and nine dogs in eight houses. The kids are noisy. Every morning they play on the street and ride those new Big Wheels. They do this around 8 o’clock giving them playtime before the school bus comes. Four of the dogs are barkers, including Gracie. After school the kids are back on the street. They yell a lot.

I know kids make noise. It’s build into their genomes. They grow out of it, but it takes a long time. I’m going to have to be a bit more patient.

I love the nights. The quiet is soothing. I think that’s probably why I have become a night owl. The kids are in bed, and it’s my time to own the street.

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive.”

August 21, 2015

Gracie and I are outside. The air is cooler and far breezier than it has been. The sun comes and goes. Rain is a possibility for later, but that has been the forecast on and off for the last week, and we haven’t yet had rain.

There is a cricket which has taken up residence in my house. I swear it follows me from room to room like the eyes of a creepy picture. My hope is either it finds the way out or has a short life span.

It is noisier than usual out here. I hear dogs barking from all different directions. From the grouchy neighbor’s house I hear voices and things being moved around on the deck. The birds are singing and the fountain is gurgling or whatever it is that fountains do. Lots of birds are enjoying the feeders which I filled yesterday.

Since the class reunion last Saturday I’ve done some thinking about people and time. I hadn’t seen most of those people in over fifty years yet we still had a bond of shared experiences and memories. We were fourteen, still young, when we met. We  hadn’t yet figured ourselves out let alone other people. We gravitated to classmates who had similar interests and senses of humor and, for me, a willingness to try new things and an appreciation for the ironic though I didn’t know that’s what it was until I was older. My friends and I were, in a small way, rebels. I remember reading books from the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, forbidden books for those of you who weren’t lucky enough to have four years of Latin. I didn’t like the book. It was the forbidden part which drew me. Mad Magazine was a favorite of ours, and we bought it every month. We roamed Harvard Square. We rang doorbells for SNCC.

You can say my friends and I grew up together as parts of me were born during those days. Without those funny, irreverent friends I believe my life might have been very different. I would have missed so much!

“Life and summer are fleeting,’ sang the bird. ‘Snow and dark, and the winter comes. Nothing remains the same.”

October 17, 2013

When I went to get the papers, I was surprised by how warm the morning is. The sun is shining but not with much enthusiasm. I am still struck by how much the light has changed with the season. Gracie and I will go out today and one of our stops will be the dump. Right now she’s enjoying her morning nap.

The Sox-Tigers game on Tuesday was the stuff of legend. The Sox managed to win with a single home-run being the only score on both sides, a 1-0 game. Last night was awful. The Sox lost 7-3. I’m still dealing with the horror of it all. The series is tied 2-2.

I saw a clip from a recent Celts’ game, and Paul Pierce was on the opposing team. It was strange to see him in other than Celtic green. I have been a fan of the Celts since I was young. Back then few games were on TV so I got to listen to Johnny Most on the radio. He had this raspy voice, and it filled with emotion when he was describing spectacular plays. He was a screamer: sometimes in joy and sometimes in indignation. I remember hiding my head under the covers so I wouldn’t get caught listening to the games from the West Coast on my transistor radio. I used to try to visualize the plays as Johnny described them. He had names for all the players like Jumping John Havlicek and Leaping Larry Siegfried. He was such a Celtics fan himself he never once criticized the team. He even had nicknames for opposing players but they weren’t complimentary. Magic Johnson was Cry-Baby Johnson so named when he disputed a call so all that season he was just called Cry when Johnny described the action. Even when the games were on TV, I always turned down the volume and listened instead to Johnny on the radio. His most famous line is “Havlicek stole the ball!” and I can remember him screaming that into the mike. That steal gave the Celts the series against Philadelphia, and they went on to beat LA for the championship. I still watch the Celts once in a while now and even took in a game a couple of years ago. Tommy Heinsohn, a former Celtic from the glory days, is the TV announcer, and he’s pretty good, but I miss the Johnny Most days. He made basketball, even on the radio, colorful and fun.

My neighborhood is so quiet now. The storm doors are up so I don’t ever hear voices anymore. The kids are in school. Every now and then I hear a dog bark, and if Gracie is outside, she’ll carry on the conversation, but most dogs are inside until their people come home from work. It is getting to be isolation time.

“alone doesn’t mean lonely. It just means alone. It just means that for now, you’re on your own, and that’s not a terrible thing.”

August 30, 2013

Somewhere off in the far distance, I can hear a dog bark, barely hear that dog bark, but Gracie feels it is her responsibility to respond. That she is standing on the deck directly under my window is of little importance. A dog does what a dog wants to do.

Last night was so chilly I shut my downstairs windows. My feet were even cold. Yesterday was fall. I don’t care that it is still August. Fall drops in now and then to get the lay of the land and last night was one of those visits. Today isn’t much better. It’s still chilly and damp. School should start on a day like today.

My friends are leaving for Ireland on Tuesday. My other friends are going to Ghana in the middle of September. I feel like the poor relation. I haven’t even been to Hyannis lately.

I called Rose Atiah, one of my students, this morning. I needed a Ghana fix, and Rose is always good for a conversation. She said it was getting ready to rain, and I could picture exactly what Bolga looks like with an impending storm. Rose said she was doing nothing, and I told her I was doing nothing as well. We chatted a bit more, and Rose said she would pass along my greetings to Agatha, Francisca and Bea. Hearing a Ghanaian accent always gives me a bit of a lift, and I love that Ghanaians pass along greetings.

Sometimes I feel like a bit of a hermit. With no reason to go out, I don’t bother to get dressed. I make my bed, brush my teeth, do a cursory wash of hands and face and then let the day while by me. Today could easily be one of those days, but I have no choice but to go out to the pharmacy. Gracie gets to come because it will be cool enough in the car for her.

When I finally got to my house in Ghana, I was living alone for the first time in my life, and it was a difficult transition. During Peace Corps training, we had been herded and kept in large groups, and we had each other, but now I had no one to talk to about how I felt, no one who understood what I was going through. I was homesick, doing a rotten job in the classroom and an object of curiosity for my students and just about everyone in town. I fled to books and checked for mail every day at least a couple of times. I was starved for conversation and companionship. I was miserable. I don’t know when that began to change, when I knew I was home, but change it did. I loved living alone. It was fun going into town and to the market. People greeted me all the time, and I returned their greetings. I was madam, a teacher at the school, and that was all.

Talking to Rose today brought a lot of that back. She still calls me madam.

“When you are at home, your troubles can never defeat you.”

August 24, 2012

The morning is already warm, and I’m about to turn on the AC. It’s been a noisy morning as there have been a couple of barkfests with at least four dogs joining in, including Gracie. It has also been a pain in the butt sort of morning. When I poured milk into my coffee, it was bad, not smelly, but floating on the top of the cup bad. I grabbed Gracie and went to Dunkin’ Donuts. The drive-up window line was so long I couldn’t see the little voice box for ordering. I couldn’t get out to order as I didn’t get dressed deciding to hide in the car so I was stuck in the long line. Finally I got my two cups of coffee, sighed in relief and went home to my usual coffee and the papers.

One day, only one day until my trip. I am so excited to be going back. Last year I was both excited and a bit apprehensive given the 40 years between visits, but the trip turned out so well that this time I’m just excited to go back. I know I talk about Ghana a lot, maybe too much sometimes, but it is such an important part of who I am, who I became, that every time Ghana comes to mind my heart swells and fills with memories of friends, of shared experiences, of love for another country and for the beautiful Ghanaians, their smiles and their greetings. I know there were downsides, but they were tolerable once I made up my mind that this was home. It was like living in New England and complaining about the cold and the snow.

I’m going to be meeting the current volunteers. We’ll enjoy dinner together. One of them told me they want to hear all about the old days. Now there are 13 volunteers just around the Bolga area. That amazes as there were only 9 of us in the entire Upper Region, now two regions: the Upper East and the Upper West. The region in my day was primitive with very few schools. Even Ghanaians didn’t want to teach in the Upper Region because of the climate. We didn’t know any better so we loved living there far away from Accra, far away from Peace Corps. We thought it ideal.

I have a single errand left for today then I’m going to start packing. The sports bag I bought last year to haul home the Bolga baskets is coming as are the school supplies for one of the primary schools. My bag should weigh in the hundreds as those crayons are darn heavy. My house/pet sitter is coming this afternoon to find out what she needs to do. Her son is coming with her to translate as she speaks only Portuguese and I don’t.

One day left!

” It’s the way you ride the trail that counts.”

January 9, 2012

Winter is dropping by for a quick visit today: it will only be in the high 30’s. When I went to get the papers earlier, there wasn’t even the smallest breeze so it felt warmer than 36°. The 40’s will be back tomorrow and for the rest of the week. No January thaw this year. We haven’t the need for one.

I never once wanted to be a pirate or a swashbuckler. I was part of the cowboy-cowgirl generation. I wanted to ride a horse and shoot standing up on the saddle like Annie Oakley used to do. She was a hero of mine. Annie was a sheriff, and nobody seemed to mind she was a woman. They never offered to come to her rescue. Annie didn’t need it. It wasn’t until I was older I realized that Annie Oakley was an anomaly because all the other sheriffs were lawmen.

Dale Evans was also a bit of a hero even though she wasn’t a shooter. She and Buttermilk rode the west together with Roy and Trigger. Dale on Buttermilk could jump fences and ride like the wind, and she had the best outfits with all that fringe hanging from the sleeves, and she wore those really fancy leather gloves. Annie wore more utilitarian clothes: a plain skirt, a blouse and usually a vest. She also wore a holster and a gun. After all, Annie Oakley did have bad guys to catch.

I went horseback riding a few times, and I fell off a few times. It was a long way to the ground. I liked the sound the leather saddle made, sort of a creaking sound as I rode on it, and I liked the view from the saddle where I envisioned tumbleweeds and cacti and chasing bandits who had robbed the stagecoach, but I never did get the hang of riding quickly. I was a slow rider better suited for the pony section where you ride in a circle. I figured I wasn’t destined to be the new Annie Oakley.

I also wanted to be Nancy Drew or Trixie Belden. Their towns had mysteries all the time, and they always solved them. My town had none. The local paper had a section about the police calls in town, and I got to read how so and so called because she had heard loud noises in her neighborhood or because someone’s dog was barking too long in the night. Big deal! We had no missing precious paintings or lurking strangers. We just had noisy dogs.

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