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Three score and ten or more

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

DOGGONE--NOT YET--whew, I guess.

I have written before about some of my adventures with dogs.  Dogs have a strange relationship with humans, at least with this human. 

Some dogs are just pets; like a fish, or a feral cat, or a hamster.  You feed them, care for them and they reward you with fellowship, entertainment, service, (my feral cats kept my pecan trees relatively free of squirrels) occasional irritation (we lost a hamster once, and thought he was gone for about six months, then in March I found him in a desk drawer with most of my tax receipts--shredded into nesting material.  If he had been able to find a female hamster in any practical way we would probably have been overwhelmed with hamsters) and a twitch of sadness when he or she dies, runs away, is stolen, or what have you.  Other dogs seem to dig a space deep in one's heart, and the link is almost, or perhaps absolutely as strong as brother and sister, mother and child or any similar familial relationship.

My daughter has a basset hound named Roscoe who, I think, has bonded in this way with her.  I enjoy the dog, love to have it around, and my wife refers to him as one of her grand-dogs.  Lately with all the medical problems we have keeping us from some of our previous activities, Janet has begun talking about getting a dog.  She enjoys Roscoe so much that I think she is a little jealous of  the daughter/dog relationship.  I, on the other hand, though I enjoy Roscoe as much as she, am pretty satisfied with the "occasional" dog experience.  The fact is that two of our last four or five dogs were dogs with whom that "special" relationship was formed, and their deaths were so traumatic to me that I don't want to face that possibility again.  I found it embarrassing to try to teach classes and direct plays with tears running down my face, or to go out in the yard and run across a favorite dog toy and be struck with emotion so strong that there was a need to sit and close my eyes.   I will write about these two dogs in the next few days:  One was a cross between a registered Pit-Bull and-- a brindle bull or . . .  The other was one of these "'manufactured dog name types".  She was a Cockapekapoo, or a Pookacockafiddle or something like that.  Neither of these is the dog I write about today. 

Some time about ten or twelve years ago, one of my sons acquired a delightful pup.  She is a cross between a black lab and a Pit Bull. (I think she, and my own dog mentioned above, are the source of my permanent irritation at people who categorize all pit bulls as vicious.  I think that bigotry is as misplaced as racial bigotry in humans.  To automatically categorize a dog as evil because of its ancestry is a bigotry as vile as categorizing all African Americans as gang members or Mexicans as born fruit pickers.)  She, named DD, I think as short for Damn Dog, is very gentle (though defensive and efficiently dominating when attacked) but for all of her life she has been the Alpha Female of all the dogs within a fair distance.  She is one of the most intelligent dogs I've known.  She probably would have had the same relationship with me that Roscoe has, but my son had occasion to be in the National Guard.  For over a year he was employed by the guard in Atlanta, in a situations to which he couldn't take D D.  Twice he was sent to defense language training school , once to learn Russian and once to learn Spanish (in which he was already fluent) and then, he was deployed to Afghanistan for more than a year.  On those occasions, D D became my dog.  She has tended my health (my neuropathy made it difficult to run or even walk for exercise, but her needs made it necessary, and the exercise not only strengthened me but saved my life).   She is one of those dogs with which I have seriously bonded.  I don't see her every day since her "daddy' came home from the wars, but I always feel an intense pang when she is brought by the house, or when I go out to feed and care for the dogs (she has company) when my son is out of town.  She recognizes me from a long distance, knows the sound of my car, and defers to me a a very intense way. 

When I last really saw her, before the past few days, she was obviously getting old, was getting a little fat, but still enjoying her ownership of the five acres she shares with my son.  A week or so ago, my son said that she is eating, but getting very thin.  He was a little worried.  I went to his house last midweek to do some errand, and I was a little shocked by how thin and weak she seemed.  The son said that she was having difficulty leaving the house in the morning when it is cold outside.

Yesterday he brought her to my house for a little pampering and I was shocked that she seemed almost skeletal.  She got some serious pampering but before even a couple of hours my son and I decided that she needed to go to the vet.  I took her there, and after some three hours of bloodwork, xrays, and examinations they told me that her weight loss (close to thirty pounds in three weeks) was caused by an apparent abscess on or in her spleen.  Her blood was so thin and limited that one of the doctors basically said that he had never seen such blood work in a live dog.  It seems that all her blood was in her very swollen spleen and her only chance was to have the spleen removed.  I perked up at that until they began to list caveats.  She had some kind of infection that was again almost the first of such seen in a dog that could walk.  There was also the possibility that the growth in the spleen was cancerous.  My son is not in any financial shape to spend 12 to 17 hundred dollars (the probable cost given) but Bank of America E-mailed me that the credit limit on my Platinum Plus card had automatically increased to 18,000 dollars, so his dad could handle it.

They said that the likely limit on her life without surgery was  ten to fourteen days, but that she had less than fifty percent chance of surviving the surgery.   It took some discussion, prayer, and thinking but this morning we took her in for surgery.  When she was examined at the vet hospital, we were told that she had deteriorated over night to the stage that her chances of survival were now from fifteen to twenty five percent.  WE took a big gulp and decided to go for it.

That was more or less when I started this.  The original title was DOGGONE- MAYBE-HOPENOT.   The old coot was leaking out the eyes while typing, and making a lot of typos.  While I was  still typing, the   phone rang.  It was one of the doctors from the vet hospital.  DD had completed the surgery successfully.  None of the cancer that they had feared was in the body, though they are sending a section of the spleen for analysis.  She is still in danger, very dehydrated, but she is strong and waking, and now I am leaking in the eyes from joy.  We still have hope, and that hole in my heart that belongs to special animal friends is still full.  In fact, at this moment it is overflowing.  More news as we get it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It is almost here

I have been moping sentimentally around the house all day until Janet has given up trying to decide to giggle or to scream but the time is almost here.  We were married Thursday, November 13, 1958, and in 39 minutes by my computer clock it will be Thursday November 13, 2008, and some time tomorrow we will have been married fifty years.

That is a hard thing really to realize.  We are not holding some big celebration,, although they did that at the church for several of us a little while ago.  We are going to drive up to Columbia S.C. to our daughter's home where we will stay tomorrow night, they go to the South Carolina Craft fair  on Friday.   Big Honkin Golden Wedding Huh?

It is for us.

I am printing a montage that Janet did for her high school fiftieth reuinion a few years ago.  It has a series of pictures of her, one each for the fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties and up to the first decade of the current century, with a bunch of our kids, grandkids etc., surrounding her.  Oh, I am so grateful that this woman decided to settle for me.

Janet and family

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Businesses Wonder Why They Have Problems

Posted below is a coupon that I received both by mail and by Email from a local business (actually a major retailer).  It is a store that was a favorite when we moved to Georgia, and for a long time we carried a credit card for the place.  They used to have wonderful sales on outdated merchandise called Dog Sales (You didn't want em at our price, now  we don't want em at any price), that basically provided the school clothes for our children.  We loved the place.

The coupon below is typical of current sales practice, not just at this store but at most of the stores that advertise an enormous sale evey week.  The sale offers 15 % off on all sale priced purchases storewide (10% if home)  Then, in print too small to read without a magnifying glass (I blew it up a bit for this article, it may still be illegible) is the note "only excludes Red Dot, Clearance, Earlybird, Night Owls, Doorbuster, Bonus Buys" and a list of almost every brand of merchandise carried by the store.  In other words the coupon is a means to get you in the store where you may buy one of the three items in the store not covered by the disclaimer (if you can find them.)  I left the store last week so angry I determined never to return, so they sent me another coupon for this weekend.  It is any wonder that people go more and more to the big box stores, where the discounts are clear, and if the posted price isn't accurate, you occasionally get the merchandise free.

It may be Chinese Merchandise, but the stuff from these traditional retailers (I don't just pick on Belk, this is common in almost all of the general department stores) is from Guatemala, Ecuador, or also from China.  clip_image002

My wife hates Wally World because it is so crowded, and with her illnesses right now she feels very pressured by crowds, but, more and more, I spend my time in Wal Mart, Lowes, Sams, and if they had a store within easy driving distance Costco (Where I would go, if only because I love their hotdogs.)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

So it IS Political

I have tried to avoid political blogging for the last year because I get so passionate about politics that I tend occasionally to harangue, scream and shout, sometimes even beyond the bounds of reason and argument (and Argumentation is a subject that I taught for some twenty of so of my forty years in the classroom.) The election is over and my guy lost (whom I supported even though he wasn't my first choice). He lost, and the guy whom I predicted to win, over a year ago, just on the basis of his amazing rhetorical skills won. I wasn't thrilled to be right.

I still have to say, that now that he is elected, he is my president. I will try as well as I can not to scream and shout about him as he does (and I'm sure he will) things that frighten me, irritate me and violate my personal sense of order, but I respect and honor my president. I was thrilled when, near the end of his term, I saw Jimmy Carter (who went from being one of the worst governors in Georgia history to being one of the worst presidents in U.S. history) on the streets of Atlanta.

Lyndon Johnson was a president who just drove me BANANAS, even though his Great Society package, one of the worst conceived political programs in history, and one that, I am convinced did more to put the black population of the U.S. in a subservient mentality than almost anything since the civil war except the misnamed "separate but equal" schooling policies in southern schools, and provided me with a significant improvement in my living status as a doctoral graduate assistant in Illinois (I had the opportunity to teach folks under that program at a slightly higher income than my regular teaching assistantship.)

That having been said, one of the great thrills of my life occurred when I took my family to the World's fair in New York and traffic was stopped in Connecticut to allow a presidential traffic column to cross our path. The presidential limousine passed directly in front of our car, and my heart beat faster as the silhouette of Johnson' enormous head (and it was enormous) passed before us and I shouted to my wife and kids, "Look that is the President of the United States, you may never get another chance to see the President in person."

I am sure that I will feel the same way if I ever see President Obama in person even though I am sure that I will go to bed muttering about him with some frequency. He will still be the President of the United States, and MY President as long as he is in office, and at this point my prayers are with him.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Not Really Political

I just have to mutter a little.  I stated a long time ago that, as a communications teacher, after hearing Obama give his Iowa acceptance speech,  that I felt relatively certain that he would be the next president.  That didn't give me any thrill since I really don't feel good about him as president.  Since that time I have received Emails that would imply that I have been a rabid Obama supporter, and some of these Emails had really unkind things to say about my character, my ancestry, and  a variety of other characteristics.  That's Okay.  I have been a teacher who posted grades outside his office, and students have occasionally made comments within my hearing that make the ones on my Email seem tame.

My point is that election vitriol is spilling over onto me.  This is possibly because this election has been one of the most vitriolic in my memory, (and I am an oldish sort of coot) and that concerns me.  I am used to election rhetoric that deals antagonistically with policies advocated with the other side, and even with the intellect, personal habits of opposing politicians but I sense a level of hate in this campaign that is disturbing, and, I think, dangerous. 

Right now it looks like Obama is ahead and that his coattails may sweep a lot of Democratic Politicians into office behind him.   It is pretty clear that McCain has some possibilities as well (he has my vote) but the point is that one or the other is going to be president, and the supporters of the unelected one are going to have to live in a country rippling over with hatred.  This does not bode well for either the governors or the governed.  This kind of hatred seeps into  all kinds of relationships and  can result in contempt on both sides.  If the new administration come into power with hate and contempt for the losers the government runs the risk of slipping into the kind of slop we waded through after Vietnam.  The anger about Vietnam left a wound on this nation that has not completely healed and the emotional baggage of the current campaign has the possibility of adding a new wound that will be slow to heal at best.  I think that our freedoms as spelled out in the Constitution could be endangered by this wound as almost never since the end of the Civil War.  Think about it.