Saturday, March 30, 2013

Our Pet, A Member of the Family

The Day We Almost Lost Our Pooch

Our pet dog is a long time member of the family. He is eighteen-and-one-half years old.
Poor guy he can’t see of hear any longer. 

He sleeps a lot and wants to wee often in between to receive his treat.

A few days ago he was resting, sleeping on his side, when suddenly he let out a scream as if something was attacking him. He jerked, his legs stretched out and went stiff. He lay there as if dead. Carol panicked and stroked him on the floor. There was no response. She sobbed. 

The rush to the vet, about three miles from home, provided time for much consternation, kissing the dog, and crying. I kept the peddle pushed.

When we entered the vet’s office the lady behind the counter saw the distress on our faces and came running to our aid. She interrupted her conversation with another customer at the counter and took the dog from Carol’s arms and rushed him to see the doctor.

We sat down to get ourselves ready for the bad news.

The kind folks at the counter tried to give us some comforting words while we waited. 

Soon an elderly couple walked in. The elderly lady carried a black poodle in her arms. It trembled as its tongue loosely hung from the mouth. The elderly man followed her and placed a small cage on the floor of the waiting room. The cage contained a cat. The poor cat laid sprawled and moaned like a small child. The attendant took both to the rear of the clinic.

A large dog on a leash pranced in. He needed his shots. To the owner’s surprise, the dog had also gained ten pounds in the last three month. The sad result, he was put a a diet. Good thing he didn’t understand the conversation.

Another couple came in with one small dog each. The conversation revealed that they were the proud caretakers of five dogs, all rescued from the needle of death at the pound. The frisky little mutt in the man’s lap had on a jacket that said, “Local Bad Boy.” The dog himself only weight five pounds. The lady held her pooch, a female, a diabetic, with a pink cape on her back stating, “Mama’s Baby.” The pet needs two shots a day, she told us. She came in to have her sugar level checked.

Suddenly we heard a jap! . . . Jap . . . Jap jap! Mr. “S” our old warrior had revived, sending a signal throughout the clinic stating that, “I an’t done here yet.” We rejoiced. Our heats soared. 

We agreed to have his blood tested in search of a possible cause. The results were negative. Our guy had a seizure. Not too uncommon at his age.

The old couple, who brought in the poodle and the cat returned. Soon the Veterinarian entered the waiting room with two black, strapped shut satchels. The elderly couple sadly accepted one each. Out the door they stumbled. The doctor watched them go and enter their vehicle. The doctor took a deep breath and said, “I have never gotten used to this.” She stood there a while, obviously distraught, making sure the elderly couple was all right to drive away.

Life goes on, even in the world of pets. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013


A Point Of View
Being in a relationship could have and does have various meanings.

As I look back just a few decades, I see the secular influence now on our culture. I do not travel, as one would say, in a world where new and crude words are used. I hear enough, however, to make me cringe at the ease of which the media and the younger folks use foul and suggestive language.

Homosexual, lesbian, are proper english words to describe the associated behavior. Why has the country stopped using these descriptive words and substituted the word gay in its place? We all know why. Gay means happy, joyous, carefree, bright and showy. The true meaning has been bastardized to suggest that this lifestyle fulfills all the former meanings of the word. Our culture cannot name a girl Gay any longer. One can still pervert the truth, but can not refer to a person as a pervert.

I'm afraid the word "relationship" has become the new word to cover or hide a more deviant behavior that may be offensive to the older, (narrow-minded) folks.

Children in their early teens are referring to being in a "relationship." To a parent what does that mean? Is it an on-line relationship? Are the kids having sexual relations? A girl does not date a boy any longer, they are in a "relationship." Dating is old fashion. Relationship is now the accepted word for "anything goes."I have nothing against teens dating, hanging out, communicating and enjoying each other's company. I do not like the word "relationship" because of its connotations.

What does the term relationship include? Certainly it includes simple dating. It also includes co-habitating and homosexual experimentation. It is a convenient cover or umbrella, symbolizing inclusion and acceptance in the progressive culture.

Thank God our laws attempt to protect our children by prosecuting child molesters and child rapists. Although some of our States' courts show just a wink and a smile to such vile behavior. "Just part of a relationship."

As the culture progresses toward Hell, I'm sure the term will include group relationships, animal relationships and any other perversion that may creep out of the slime pit.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tobacco - Fun Stuff?

This short story is from my book "A TIME AND PLACE The Making of an Immigrant." This version of the story is expanded and will be published as part of an e-book in the future. The story below takes place in Germany around 1946.

Many men rolled their own cigarettes long before the GIs came. Few smoked cigars, I guess they were not readily available. Many smoked pipes. The elders of the town showed off their long hanging meerschaum pipes; the younger men much smaller and sportier ones. Cigar stubs found their way into a pipe and totally used until they turned to ashes. Nobody chewed tobacco or dipped the stuff, between cheek and gum, like they do in the United States. 
Snuff, finely ground tobacco, existed and actually was sniffed up the nose. When the need for a dip came, as Beisser Opa called it, he, with greatly exaggerated and somewhat elegant motion, reached for his silver snuff box, which he kept in his left, inner, jacket pocket. 
After he tapped the box with his knuckles to knock off any snuff stuck to the lid, he’d flip it open. With the precision of an orchestra conductor, he removed a pinch between his thumb and two fingers. He then flipped the lid closed with his pinkie finger. Carefully, he’d return his treasured, little box into his breast pocket. All these theatrics were always evident before the pinch of snuff was placed on the backside of his left hand. With great expectation he slowly raised his hand to his nostrils. His head slightly raised, eyes half closed, he gave one good snort up one nostril taking about half the dip, the other nostril likewise received the rest.

Since a kid couldn’t get hold of any real tobacco, we made our own smoking tools and hunted stuff to smoke. 
We began by making our own pipes. Corncobs we never heard of. No one had ever seen or eaten any corn. Where we lived bamboo or reeds did not grow either, but elderberry bushes did. 
We reamed out the elderberry branches’ pithy center for the stem of our pipe. The pithy stuff of the stem was removed with a wire. We shoved the wire through and pulled it back and forth to increase the hollowness of the stem. 
The bowl of the pipe we carved from the thick branch of the elderberry bush reaming it out with our pocket knife. We then drilled a hole in the side of the bowl with the sharp point of the knife and stuck the two parts together. 
The tobacco substitute we decided on, after experimenting with various dried leaves, was that of the horse chestnut. Some smelled a bit better than others. When we tried to inhale it made our eyeballs almost pop out. None of the stuff we smoked tasted good, and all left you spitting for hours. 
Smoke we did––with spit and tears flying in all directions. 
The closest thing in form to a cigarette, or thin cigar, was what we called Judenstrick or Jewish rope. It is the dried vine of a wild grape. A similar vine here in the States is the Virginia creeper and the possum grape vines. 
The vine grew on banks and in gullies. It grew thick, climbing the trees, and often totally covered small bushes. 
The hollow and shaded underside of these mounds of tangled vines made a perfect hideaway for us boys. One such particular hideout was entered by crawling on our bellies. Once inside, the dark and damp made it very private. We only allowed our closest buddies to a secret fort like that; the ones we trusted to keep their mouths shut. Of course, any clandestine operation done in the vine fort would have warranted a whipping from our parents. Smoking was one of these operations. 
The walls and domed ceiling of the hidden den consisted of years of dead vine; all of it good to smoke. All one had to do was reach out with our pocket knife and whack a smoke. The section between knots in the dried vine made the perfect cigarillo. It was porous, and air could be sucked through it. All we had to do was light up one end and sit back. 
The dry vine stayed lit and even sported a little stub of ashes on the end. Just like a real cigarette. We sat around exhibiting various stances and techniques to hold the weed, imitating the grownups and their cigarets. Some folks held theirs between two fingers. Others held their cigarettes in their mouth all the while dodging the smoke from getting into their eyes. We felt grown and quite in control. 
The trouble however, after one or two smokes, the bitterness and smoke of the vine seemed to dry up the saliva glands. The mouth became parched, and the tongue swelled. After we killed our taste buds, we crawled out into the day. If anyone observed a bunch of boys hanging around the water pump, coughing, spitting, they sure knew what we had been up to.

So, then the GIs came to town. They held their smokes with thumb and two fingers, the lighted end facing in. They flipped their cigarette butts all over and created in us an urge to do some real smoking. All we had to do is circle the squad tents and gather all the cigarette butts without looking like chickens picking beans. You might say we boys were in butt heaven.
We were not the only ones to sheepishly pick up the discarded butts. I believe the older boys and even some grownups did the hunt and gather mode as well. With four of us boys collecting butts, we soon had a small tin can full of loose tobacco. 
Since none of us were allowed to be caught with this taboo substance, we decided to bury the tin can in our secret hideaway. We set a date, a non-school day, for the great Bavarian Smoke In. 
A week or so later, the day of all days arrived. Plenty of the real stuff buried and ready. All the practicing we did finally will be tested. The occasion is surely going to elevate us into the world of manhood. 
I remember sitting in a circle in our secret den, each one of us prepared, with either pipe or roll-your-own paper. Matches were on hand and ready to start the grand experience. We unearthed the tin can and carefully pried open the lid. All eager eyes strained to stay focused on that metal box. The box holding the long sought treasure. The lid popped off. What? . . . A strange, fuzzy haze of light blue and green stared back at us. Our much heralded stash had totally molded––grown a green beard! 
I have never longed for another smoke since that day.