“An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox.” ~ Zen Proverb
Wally doesn’t understand grace, but he understands roast chicken and veggies. He also understands that Papaw Terry is a sucker for a pitiful looking dog. Non-starving dog aside, aren’t our heroes sweet? They’re such a blessing to have around.
“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore
One look at this little fella and my heart just melts. I could never get tired of that precious face greeting me at day’s end. He’s sweeter than I could ever hope for. He’s extremely well behaved, and kind even to the cats (now that they’ve figured out his bark has zero bite). I’m just smitten as can be, and lucky beyond belief.
“If somebody is a problem for you, it’s not that they should change, it’s that you need to change. If they’re a problem for themselves that’s their karma, if they’re causing you trouble that’s your problem.”
~ Ram Dass
I turned 52 today. Every year past 50 feels like a milestone. Maybe because so many people I loved didn’t get this far. Or maybe because I have my health so, unless an accident takes me out, I’m still firing all cylinders for a while. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I like it. This was one of the best birthdays I’ve had because I had only one thing planned; breakfast with Stacy at Winchell’s. It was, of course, excellent, and the perfect way to start a day that was sunny, albeit cold as a well digger’s s$$. I’m told it was cold like this when I was born. I also learned recently that I was late by four days. That pretty much set the tone for my life, because if you know me at all, then you know I am always, always, always late. I digress. Then there’s Wally. My, sweet, compassionate, faithful, smart boy. Late this afternoon I went to the Lexington Zen Center for the first time with Marlon as my guide. The reading talked about how we are all connected; to each other, everything around us, in us, on this planet, you get the picture. To truly understand connection, to my way of thinking anyway, requires a high degree of compassion. For instance, Wally loved dad’s dog, Crackerjack. We didn’t know how he’d take up with mom’s dog, Scrappy. Scrappy is fed in the morning. Wally gets supper. One night I fed Wally but he wouldn’t eat until I also gave food to Scrappy. Once the visiting dog had food in his bowl, only then would Wally eat. It was remarkable to see actually. Scrappy likes to mark his territory, so when there are no humans in the house he has to go in the kennel. One day last week I tried to leave Wally out of the kennel because he doesn’t need to be crated, but he wouldn’t have it. Scrappy was in the kennel, so he, too, must be in the kennel. It’s not that the dogs are close like Wally and Crackerjack were, they’re not. It’s that Wally has a sense of justice, compassion, loyalty; all the things we humans aspire to have and yet so often fall short of. I look at that little dog and I see God, plain and simple. He is a great teacher. I am grateful to still be on this plane connected with every little atom that comes my way, and I’m forever grateful for this little Buddha Jesus dog who teaches me the meaning of compassion every day.
“Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there’s room.” ~ Neal A. Maxwell
After cooking for hours, eating for hours, and then cleaning for an hour, mom, dad, and I drove across town to my Aunt Lois’ where all four of dad’s living sisters were gathered. We got there just as the cousins were packing their loot and taking their leave. It was good to see them however brief. They all love dad, and it was obvious they were happy to see him. He loves them, too. I watched him perk up, his color got better, his smile wider. Mind you, he wasn’t in a bad mood to start with. We’d had a fantabulous meal. Stacy joined us, and we four ate until we were full as ticks. Even the dogs got a bite or two because dad thinks every sad eye is that of a starving dog. We had such a great day that we didn’t exchange gifts until we came back from Lois’, which seemed to surprise everyone. But for us this Christmas was about being together. We didn’t take it for granted. We soaked up every moment with each other and our loved ones. A more perfect Christmas couldn’t have been had.
“Walk in peace. Shine love into every dark corner. Show kindness. Maybe a little sassafras.”
~ Vicki Caroline Cheatwood
When the Thurman – Plested clan were here in the fall I told a story about Wally confronting a possum. It’s not as funny without the visuals, but essentially it goes like this: I heard unusual barking after I let Wally out for his evening constitutional. It wasn’t a, “Hey, I see you walking past my house,” bark, or a, “Hey, what are you doing in my driveway?” bark. It wasn’t even a, “Squirrel, squirrel, I hate you, squirrel,” bark. It was more like the talking bark he uses with Leo the cat. It’s conversational, not at all aggressive. Knowing the cats were inside, and the yard was fenced, I didn’t know what could be happening. I popped my head out the back door and there he was about five feet from a possum. Wally was talking. The possum was hissing. I was thinking, “Thank God he’s had his shots,” followed soon after by, “this could get expensive,” when I saw the possum’s teeth. But Wally wasn’t charging. He was just talking. The possum would take a few steps away from him, and Wally, in his best rabbit imitation, would hop. Yes hop after the possum as if he was giving chase…but not really. It was just part of the game, and clearly the possum was wise to the rules. The possum would stop and hiss. Wally would talk and hop. And on they went down the fenceline until the possum made his way under the fence and out of the yard. It was the funniest show Wally has ever put on. Barb and Pam remembered that story, and yesterday, this painting of a possum on a piece of cannel coal (yes, as in Cannel City cannel coal) showed up in my mailbox. I haven’t stopped laughing. Those two remember everything I tell them, and I love it! I love the possum, and I love them, too.
“I am still determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may be, for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances.” ~ Martha Washington
When I turned 50 I very reluctantly filled out my AARP membership papers. This I did after Stacy pointed out the error of my not wanting to do it naturally, what with their incredible discounts all over the Universe. She was right, of course. So, I sent in my check and I waited, and I waited, and I waited. My card never came. AARP didn’t get the check, and I didn’t bother with it anymore until one day last month when the opportunity presented itself again. I’ll be 52 in January. I’ve got a lot of repairs coming due on my house next year (I’ll have been here 10 years in May), so those amazing discounts on everything from car rental to movies are looking pretty good. Guess what showed up in the mail today? Bring on the discounts. This ‘ol lady is ready!
The politics of Jesus:
Serve the poor
Make peace, not war
Do justice & love mercy
Care for all God’s creation.
~ Nathan Hamm
Well, today didn’t go quite as I expected. Dad had been complaining of his belly burning for a while, but he wouldn’t go to the doctor. That is, until this morning when it was so bad he wanted to go. That never happens. I snapped this picture on my way out the door to work. An hour later he was in the ER at the VA. By lunchtime mom was calling to say he’d had a heart attack. The short version is that he has had a mild heart attack at some point in the recent past. He will be okay eventually. I am exceedingly grateful that he was in Lexington when this happened. I’m also thankful that the VA is attached to Chandler Med Center where Janet is. When things get this crazy, little things mean a lot, like location, location, location!
“Don’t give up. Great things take time.” ~ Unknown
A couple of weeks ago Annie Bassoni dropped by with the last of our CSA load. I’d just gotten home from a trip, so Wally was super clingy. I finally picked him up, and this is what he did. Annie instantly grabbed my phone. I love this little dog so much. Kinda looks like he loves me, too. How lucky am I?