Hi, my name is Lenore and I am a table hoarder. Its been five years since I last brought one home.
Thanks to Fred the teenage cat, tables are front and center with me at this moment. He surprised himself when he jumped from the tall china cabinet top onto the glass topped table.
Wow, what a cracking noise!
What in the world?
I ran to see what had happened as he ran past me into the bedroom. He’d done a doozy of a stress-fracture on the old glass. I sure learn my lessons hard. Never and I mean never put a breakable anything in a cat’s path. Saying that a cat lands light on their feet is hog wash and well, not true. I took the little table into a glass shop this morning. The shop mostly works on cars and house windows, but the lady said she’d talk to the fellas. Anyway, that table reminds me that apparently my table addiction is alive and kicking.
A six legged table sits over by my front door. Needing a rest from concentrating on traffic, on a road trip, I stopped at an antiques mall and stepped back out with a black spindled beauty. I looked out at the noisy highway, stared down into my car’s little trunk and gauged its size to the octagonal table. I’d handed over a hundred dollars for something that might and I mean might, squeeze into that trunk.
Another fifty or so miles to go….
It fit. And didn’t bear a scratch from the attempt.
The drum table, the round old lady edifice with the metal lion’s feet? There by the cracking, tall bureau? That three legged beauty was my Grandma’s and must have started life in a Midwestern factory. Its something I lived with, not really seeing it, all through my childhood and then on past middle age. One of the last things my Mom said to me before dementia fogged her words was that the table must be mine. Mom had polished it and kept it in good shape all through her years and soon, it would be my turn.
Then there’s the folding table by my left side. That table has wing like supports underneath it. Those wings are a magician’s wand. Raise them up and yes! Its rectangle becomes a cherry wooden egg. I happened on it in a small antique shop. One of my sisters ‘egged’ me into buying it. I had been using a wooden TV tray, the ten dollar variety that many drug stores sell in December. She said I should have a proper table.
My eyes lit on the cherry table. It begged me to take it home. I heard it sobbing and what to do?
The table that Fred cat damaged, I spotted in a fire hall! The volunteer firemen-women had had a garage sale. The table’s sides are embellished; there’s a little shelf in its middle. Red brown. I am a silly when it comes to sales. I should not have done it but I asked if the five dollar price could go down to four. It could. I handed over four dollar bills, grabbed the table in my arms and ran, giggling all the way down a steep hill to my house.
The dining room table, scarred yellow monster, once lived in a downtown Hallmark shop until that shop and all its dusty doodads went out of business. It still has masking tape on its sides. Every so often I peel off another layer, smiling at the six old chairs that I’ve placed around it.
Can I be the only one addicted to All Things Table? Is there no one out there who will dare to raise a glass and toast a cheer to aged wood, vibrantly scarred yet solid to the hand and friendly to the eyes?
When Sally dear dog was a true pup, she was, well, dear dog, a handful and a half. I decided to be social- very unusual for me the loner. I found out there was a canine group in my area.
I went to one of their meetings. Folks asked me what kind of dog brought me to their table?
I said: Blue Heeler.
They said: you will need help with training.
Keerect. I did need help.
I paid for one set of classes and yup, went back for another set. Paid quite a bit of cash but learned a lot. The human needs to learn tons more than the picked on dog.
I thought about this stuff today when I was out trying to get Sally’s toy out of the butterfly bush- dumb human. Why did I toss it into that mess??
So….I got my feet tangled in the tall weeds. I thought I could fall. Too easy and nobody around to get me a doc if it got that far. Leah dog must have been watching me. Next thing I knew she was there beside me.
I adopted Leah after Sally came along. I started teaching Leah some of what Sally knew. So now that I felt unsteady on my feet, I asked Leah to wait. She did. I steadied myself on her sturdy, large shoulders.
Then I said, “Leah! Back!” She slowly backed, one big foot at a time. I leaned on her and backed out of the mess. After I got to clear ground and felt safe, I gave Leah huge hugs and told her that she was a good, smart girlie dog.
Wow am I glad I met that bunch of people in that dog group. Their wisdom taught me enough to keep me upright and my bones intact. I appreciate them. And of course I appreciate my pal Leah.
Cow tails go up when
sirens hug the road’s curves
my heart fish hooked above the channel
all peering up as a helicopter chop, chops.
Cow tails lift, sirens hug
The road’s curve, my heart fish hooked
With copter’s chop-chop!
Be only a prankster at the door
All Hallows Eve just a candy heist
not a doe blinded by cataracted lens:
leave me from the task of whisking away your fear-entrenched growl
my human’s heart tells me that no broom will do
to remove the webbing from your brain
I’m meant to watch and bide as your Hour nears.
A word of explanation:
This poem was written for a beautiful Lynx point Siamese who was adopted by a person who meant well but worked too much and left her shut up in an apartment with no interaction. She had toys and such but far too little human touch. Even though she got a new home with much love and plenty of interaction, the damage was done and she still acts half wild, even after years of rehabilitation. Please, if you are going to adopt a furry friend, make sure you have time for them and recognize that cats are social animals who need love and lots of interaction.
Fred kitten zips around. His 6 month old brain says that it’s morning and morning means it’s a great time to tease Saia kitty. One busy junior striped tiger taunting an older tiger. On another morning the sight might make me laugh. Oh that Saia can growl and hiss.
My human brain notes the passing of summer. The days cool though sunshine solders on, the rumor of rain sneaking in every so often. Canada geese curve toward the water way below the property. Finches and sparrows vie for a spot at the seeding sunflower heads.
The absurdity of it all. Just an afternoon ago I headed toward the hen’s enclosure, thinking about my waiting supper as I worked through the chore of doling out snacks. A small, deeply orange butterfly skittered past my face. I remarked on its passage to my hubby then said duh! Wake up, lady. I’d planted a butterfly bush down the row toward the driveway. Its lavender cones had at last decided to bloom. Of course there was a butterfly about. Whether I observe life bebopping around is up to me in my insular castle.
My busy brain also chases back to when Mom was young. I was a goofy kid then. The church bells rang, demanding that we all pay attention. Mom had eight kids to herd, though I mostly remember growing up with just two brothers cause I was the youngest. Three of my sisters were teens by the time I was ten and hearing those pealing bells, there in that large midwestern city. Sunshine then and sidewalks that led to dark robed nuns and priests. Now its Sunday morning sun and birds and dogs that chase busy kittens. Those bells could be still waking the universe but I am too far from them to hear.
Google 70’s crocheted plant hangers. Check those babies out. I can’t make them. Not on your life and not on mine. Google dazzling, adorable baby sweaters. Not made by me. Google easily made by a six year old paper snowflakes. Nope. Not scissored by these fingers.
This being stated, I come to the annual conumdrum: the holiday. That quartet of angsts and chocolate marathons: Halloween then trip into Thanksgiving and oh yeah, gay and fah lah lah Christmas and sometimes even New Years. Those festive crowd pleasing eat me into a coma days.
Except its just me and the hubster. No festive crowds milling at our door or at our dining room table. No anxious oldsters clamoring for a ride over the ridge and through the mashed potatoes to our humble double wide.
So do what to make those days festive and fun and clamped into our memory boxes? That is one tall order. How many Scrabble games can be played? How much sitting around glued to the DVD player or the CD player do we want to do-si-do to?
I am trying to limit sugar intake and sugar munching and sugar ingesting. I am trying to also limit calories. Note the word trying as in trying not to shred my nerves as I shred my sanity. The hubster is very good at making butterscotch candy- the real deal, butter and honey and all boiled to a fine, chewy fizzle. And he is attempting to live past say, sixty-five. So…. I possibly will stretch the cumber band with another apple pie that has zero refined sugar in it but does feature white flour and shortening. Note to brain- again- food is not the end all for noting the passing of another Special Day.
This is where the toilet comes in. (No. Not bulemia.) The White Pony- maybe yours is an Appaloosa. Mine is white and boring. And needed. And aggravating when it does not work properly. We talked around the idea of activities. Things to do instead of cramming more carbs down our gullets on our upcoming Special Day. Buy a model off e-bay. Fine. Would either of us be able to figure out how to turn that flat item into a three D wonder? Without cursing the other’s hair purple? Probably not and then: do what with the item if we do get it into a recognizable shape? Yes. Do what?
This line of questioning led us back to the toilet. In a few years we probably will shut the door on this mobile. I hate that the day is coming but it is. If we plan to sell this shebang, we need to make it more normal, middle class, and well, up to snuff. This is where the toilet comes in. Hubby has replaced a toilet in another place so he can do it again. I am not that talented. He is. I guess we found our Christmas activity: the replacement of the hall bathroom’s toilet. Its practical, it costs about as much as the vintage Mouse Trap game on e-bay and it probably will snag in a buyer better than not having a working toilet. If nothing else, I can spend the day reading and rereading the How to Easily Install Your Toilet manual.
For Halloween? Maybe that day hubby will turn the power off entirely, get his handy screwdriver out and put the cover back on that fits over the dryer plug in. That will ensure that when that plug comes out again, and yes, there is an again, he won’t get a shock that will make him feel like he lives in the Munster’s mansion.
Thanksgiving I haven’t quite puzzled out. Maybe that will be another session of decluttering a closet. Or maybe we will go on a Scrabble marathon or even Yahtzee.
At least my list has a fatter girth than it had this morning. And we can always repeat tonight’s game. Hubby says: I need ibuprofen. Where do you keep it? I look on the bathroom vanity edge. No. Maybe its in the backpack? Maybe I hadn’t unpacked it from our last road trip. No again. He finally got down on his hands and knees and reached around under the vanity. Yes! Fred kitten had had a friendly tussle all on his own. He’d grabbed the rattly bottle of ibuprofen and chucked it under that vanity then off he’d headed to find something else to do. So…. we probably will have something else missing by Thanksgiving. I’m pretty sure Fred is working on that right this very moment.
stripes and claws
brown and cream bowl hard against feline teeth
laid low, just outside, a liberated bird
yellow and softly warbled
sagebrush clumps remaining,
autumn winds mottle the ridge.
Recalling an old memory, this poem was written for Lenore to honor her for Mother’s Day.
I live with a dog named Guilt. Those large brown eyes melt my soul, entreating me to treat her kindly, protect her from the slam of the dryer and the squeak of my recliner when I insist that I must lift my legs. The local veterinarian claims that I own this animal that he has listed on his surgery sheet as Leah. My assertion is that I live with her. She doesn’t own me and neither do I own her.
Last week I placed a chain link collar around this creature’s neck. I drove her to a groomer. The groomer also boards dogs and perhaps cats. (The groomer said, “Hello, Leah! I have a nice doggie bed for you!”) That day I needed to drive across the state in my little car. The adventure would mean at least four hours of being cooped up in a two door, well, coupe.
Leah grew from living in a sweet black puppy shell into a grown dog body that has been known to startle a person or two. After the Vet replaced both her knee ligaments with faux materials, Leah proceeded to stretch from the eighty pound range to a lovely and rotunder ninety two pounds. She’s a mix of the common Black Lab breed, sporting an expanse of curls on her shoulders and back.
Leah and I have worked together since we first met. As a youngster she tended to spit up when she went on car rides. As she aged she grew out of that particular physical manifestation of nerves. It didn’t take long for Leah to learn that sitting and lying down on command meant treats and praise. We played goofy indoor games: catch! She’d look at me when I said that and just that quick, a treat would pop into her eager mouth. This simple game led us into the ‘follow me’ and later, the important heel on the left side and when we’re on property, heel without a leash.
All this and again I realize that I am sizeist. Leah is a robust, healthy gal. She is not a perfect robot. Leah has eccentricities. She keeps me realizing that she’s a doggie bag filled with anxiety. We walk on town streets and do that ably, no rut for her neck and no hauling on my shoulder.
Its that long haul driving that we can’t get around. Here barrels in Mister or Ms Guilt: our smaller dog is physically, well, smaller and due to her breed, calmer. Little Sally, Blue Heeler pup, approaches life with interest and full speed ahead, not reacting, just taking the world in. This is where the kennel door looms for Leah, leaving me with a Santa sack of guilt slamming down the chimney. I hate leaving good hearted Leah behind. I love-hate how it is, just is, a joy to include Sally on such forays as an afternoon snack at a bistro-bookstore. Our polite inquiry on whether we could sit out on their porch and drink our tea and lemonade with Sally was met by “All means!” And then a ginger cookie doled out for Sally. And all was sunshine with a light breeze.
So I love little Leah though I admit that I love her best when she is home, dancing in the afternoon, chasing a torn up toy for a moment or two. The lack of anxiety flavored with that faint taint of guilt, I laugh: joy and puppy play. No worries. No wondering what’s headed toward us. Just exuberant hilarious leaps and gambols. Until….. its time again for another road trip. Without…..