Our Pets, Ourselves Division
Arwen of Inver Grove Heights writes: “On May 23, I had to say goodbye to my beloved dog, Peaches. Age, at least 19.
“She came to me in 2002 with that name, and it fit her. Golden in color with slightly lighter patches over the shoulders, she was also sweet in nature — a beautiful spirit.
“Light of foot she was, and swift, and full of enthusiasm. She would charge with speed and purpose after a ball, whether it was on land or in water, and was always ready for a walk. As my trainer, she helped me get my exercise; I had to work to keep up with her. Her cheerfulness, care and love of life brightened up many very dark days for me.
“Many are the miles we walked and the trails we explored; many the miles she ran with my bike; many the times I threw her ball or Frisbee for her; many the hours we simply sat on the front step together on a beautiful day. Many peaceful hours she slept near me in the morning, pleasantly worn out after a long walk, while I had breakfast and read the newspaper.
“Words cannot express how much a part of my life Peaches was. When I left the house, I went away from her; when I returned, I came home to her. Her presence was always in the back of my mind when I was doing other tasks. If she wasn’t in the room with me, I knew she was somewhere around the house.
“For the longest time, Peaches was amazingly healthy. At 16, she was still walking a mile; at 17, half a mile. She was never sick. But in the last year especially, Peaches started to decline. She managed only a short walk, then no walk at all. Her eyesight grew dim. Her mind was not the same. Still, I could not let her go. I dreaded the unused, empty food bowl, the useless leash with no one at the end of it, the toys left forever in their basket, the bed in which she would never sleep again.
“Memorial Day weekend, I realized that it would be unkind to let my poor dog suffer any more. After all my dithering, I made that agonizing decision, put my dog in the car for the last time and headed to the vet.
“It had been raining all morning, but around this time — as if some unseen force knew what I needed — it stopped, so we were able to be in the beautiful back yard of the clinic on a blanket instead of in an exam room on the concrete floor. Birds were singing. Trees exploded with spring green. Out there, with me next to her, Peaches was peaceful. No more crying for someone to come to her. Even though she weighed 50 pounds, she looked so small and vulnerable.
“On task to do the necessary thing, I hadn’t thought I would need the Kleenex. I was wrong!
“We were able to take all the time we needed. Only then did it start to rain again.
“In the car on the way home, a song I’d never heard before was playing on the radio:
“‘Clouds are upon the summer sky
“‘There’s thunder in the wind;
“‘Row on, row on and homeward hie,
“‘Nor take one look behind.
“‘Row on, row on! Another day
“‘May shine with brighter light;
“‘Ply, ply the oars and pull away;
“‘There’s dawn beyond the night.’
“It was a moment of grace and encouragement, a sad consolation, on a day that felt like the end of my life.
“Now Peaches is surely with the angels. But even though I know she’s gone, I’m still looking for her, expecting her to be just in the other room — until I remember.
“Now a silent wind, known only to the mind, blows through all the empty spaces.
“Rest in peace, my beautiful girl.”
Death, be not somber
Al B of Hartland: “A fellow I know died recently. He’d had a good run. He was 102 years old and died while writing a check. [Bulletin Board muses: He . . . checked out?]
“I wonder how many people die while paying a bill? Not many, I’m thinking.
“If I gave a commencement address, I’d tell the graduates to pay their bills and they might live to be 102.”
Another close encounter of the natural kind, reported by The Astronomer of Nininger: “Subject: Intruder in our Bathroom.
“‘Wake up, wake up,’ the Good Wife whispered as she firmly shook my shoulder. It was not yet 6 a.m. I groggily moaned. She continued on, careful not to alert whoever was there: ‘There’s someone in our bathroom.’ That got my attention. But how could there be someone in our bathroom? They would had to come through our bedroom to get there.
“Now I could hear the sounds, certainly originating in the bathroom. ‘Scrape. Scrape. Tap Tap.’ What is he or she doing? Why are they in our bathroom? There are no valuables there, only personal-hygiene and laundry materials.
“I got up, tiptoed to the doorway, careful not to alarm the intruder, and peeked in. Our bathroom is a series of three rooms, one which houses the tub and next to it a walk-in shower. I slowly edged around the corner of the doorway that holds an open pocket door. I did not know what to expect.
“Facing me was a huge pileated woodpecker at the middle window of three panes which enclose the whirlpool tub. It seemed extremely large, being only a few feet away. I think it was a female, because I did not see the red mustache across its face. Admittedly, in my surprise, I could have simply just missed it. She looked me over, head to toe, and retreated from her perch, hollering out that five-note woodpecker refrain, a crescendo increasing in both pitch and intensity as she flew away.
“I don’t know why she was there or for how long. Maybe it was the porcelain birds that the Good Wife has displayed around the tub, but they are all small birds. Maybe she just wanted to let us know that it was time to put out more bird feed. Whatever the reason, she was a pleasant surprise to greet me that morning.”
Keeping your eyes open
Doris G. of Randolph, Minnesota: “‘I can hardly see in. You have dirty windows.’
“A surprise in the back yard this morning.”
Everyone’s a copy editor!
Donald: “Subject: It’s as plane as . . .
“An article in ‘SPORTS’ (Page A10) in the May 29 edition of the Pioneer Press has this headline: ‘GOOD RIDDANCE.’
“Subhead: ‘NFL pass interference review is dead . . . and it won’t be missed.’
“The piece, continued on Page 11A, reads: ‘. . . It’s not black and white, it’s gray. On all other reviews, there are objective markers. Did his foot touch the white line? Did the ball cross the plain?’
‘I don’t know if the misspelling came from an oral statement or a written text, but there it is.
“I wonder how wide the plain was the ball had to cross.”
Could be verse!
Tim Torkildson has sent us a “timerick”:
“‘He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.’ — Psalms 10:4
“Keeping busy is a knack
“I’m afraid that I do lack.
“I just like to sit and think;
“that’s why all my prospects shrink.
“I admire industry —
“long as it don’t include me.
“Watching other people sweat
“makes my bread taste better yet.
“I stay poor and shabby, but
“I still nap well in my hut.
“When I reach the Promised Land
“chances are I will be banned . . .”
Vanité, votre nom est . . .
Semi-Legend: “Subject: Magnifique.
“It was a beautiful day as I walked home from Minnehaha Park, where I engaged in some socially distant people watching.
“I passed a car with the license plate ‘7E CIEL.’
“My French is rudimentary. I knew, sort of, that ciel meant ‘sky,’ but I couldn’t decipher the plate.
“I did some rudimentary research. ‘7E CIEL’ apparently means ‘seventh heaven.’ [Bulletin Board says: The “E” should be a lowercase, superscript “e,” as in the arrondissements of Paris — but they can’t do that on license plates . . . and we don’t know how to do it here!]
“Someone was feeling good. So was I.”
Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “We can all use some chuckles about now, some of which can be found in the latest catalog:
“‘is just “Eh”’
“This appears beneath a falling star:
“‘Catch a falling star . . .
“‘and you’re toast!’
“‘It’s the only culture some people have’
“A picture of a cell containing bacteria appears below the text.
“(smaller caps) ‘PLEASE DO NOT INCORRIGE’
“‘Don’t go to bed
“‘Stay up and plot your
The Gram With a Thousand Rules reports: “Subject: A photo from Down Under.
“One of our great-grandson’s ‘favourite’ places opened back up this past week. Henry (the tall 3-year-old on the right) checks out the new signage at the National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra, Australia, as he keeps one zebra apart from his mate.”
Our theater of seasons
More fine photography from Mounds View Swede: “Subject: Four Bridal Wreath spirea photos.
“When I was growing up in Illinois, my mom and dad had Bridal Wreath spirea bushes on the front corners of our yellow brick house, and lilac bushes across part of the back yard on the lot line.
“Now I have Bridal Wreath spirea on either side of my house here in Mounds View. My wife is allergic to lilac blossoms, so we have none of those bushes.
“Having these masses of white blossoms draws the eye and lightens up the place — and they are easy to grow.
“Now it is beginning to look and feel like summer. Up here where the seasons are really different, we notice and appreciate the change.
“In Sweden, they are getting ready to celebrate Mid-Summers-Day on June 20-21 — the longest day of the year. And they are far enough north that the sun doesn’t set for much of Sweden. They have to be more careful this year with how they go about gatherings, for safety’s sake.”
“Subject: Four great iPhotos.
“Now that the tulips are pretty well done blooming, I went back to my neighbors’ to see what was blooming now and found a variety of iris blossoms.
“I like the contrasting colors on this one.
“When I see an iris blossom, it always makes me think of someone sticking their tongue out.
“Subject: Second batch of iris blossoms.
“I have never seen most of these blossoms before and enjoyed the variety of colors, but with the same basic shape and parts.
“This first one has very subtle lines on its yellow petals . . .
“. . . while this one has very dramatic and bold coloring on its yellow petals.
“This pink iris is a color I have never seen before on an iris. I like the orange fuzzy part, which is the beard, I think.
“And back in my own garden, the volunteer Siberian irises have begun to bloom.
“I always welcome their blossoms in early June. They are a plant that likes to spread.”
The Permanent Granddaughterly Record
Vertically Challenged: “Quite a few years ago, you printed several ‘Hazel stories’ — about our granddaughter, then 4-year-old Hazel, who was always coming up with something funny to say. Time flies, and now Hazel has become quite a young lady, who is about to have her high-school graduation tonight. We would never have imagined that we’d end up having graduations and many other things canceled and having to go virtual as we have during these difficult times with the COVID-19 pandemic, and many have come up with creative ways to celebrate these occasions. So like many others, her parents are trying to make her graduation special, and, among other things, this last week has been devoted to surprising her by ‘inviting’ several celebrities to attend her graduation ceremony. I’m sure she will have a grad ceremony she won’t forget and probably some funny remarks, too. We wish her luck, as she will soon be off to pursue a career in journalism.
“Just a few of her guests, also including Elf, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and several others”:
The verbing of America
Barbara of Afton: “Subject: It had to happen.
“This is from a knitting blog: ‘but since we were covided into seclusion . . .'”
What is right with people?
“Submitted by care-package recipient and Episcopal Homes resident Marion McCarthy, and Andrea Erickson, Episcopal Homes Service Coordinator”: “The kindness of people is one of the positives that are being revealed through the COVID-19 virus pandemic. For example, organizations and businesses are working together to provide support and lift people’s spirits. In St. Paul, the Neighborhood Network for Seniors partnered with many businesses, such as Lilydale Gardens, Treadle Yard Goods and Widmer’s Super Market to create care packages for the seniors they serve in the community. Volunteers assembled bags of goodies that were delivered to grateful seniors living in isolation. This coordinated effort was an act of kindness that we wanted to acknowledge publicly, showing our appreciation by saying Thank You. The St. Paul community should be proud to know that goodness abounds!”
Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Subject: Life in Minneapolis (May 31, 2020).
“When I heard folks were handing out food and diapers at the Sanford Middle School in Minneapolis today, I drove there. And wended through streams of cars in packed streets to find that they had diapers and food I could pick up. So I got a volunteer to put diapers, cereal and (green beans?) in my car, and took off for the Little Earth housing complex for indigenous people.
“BTW: It helps to have a Handicapped placard to wave in such a packed situation. Volunteer help got me out of everyone’s way faster, and I spent much less time around people Not Masked against COVID.
“The trip to Little Earth was one of packed or empty streets. Driving North on Hiawatha, I saw cars pulled over and people looking down — probably at the devastation or cleanup (or demonstrators) due to the Troubles on Lake Street. I didn’t stop to find out.
“At Little Earth, I again had to wait in a scrum of cars. And deal with a Boomer male who figured he could save himself three minutes by making everyone (including me) move so he could get his car out of a parking spot. He was literally in my face. Luckily I had my cardboard fan to block his breath from me. He was one of the not-so-great Unmasked.
“With prompt help getting the diapers, etc., removed at Little Earth, I was able to inch my way out and go home — past where folks still stood on Hiawatha, looking toward Lake Street. With so many things shut down due to the pandemic, folks have more time to watch the world go by.
“I got home in time to see TV coverage of peaceful protests around the Twin Cities. It felt really great that I did my bit, as our community worked to help the hungry and work against injustice.”
Band Name of the Day: Zebras Apart
Website of the Day: James Baldwin’s “Letter From a Region in My mind”