A piggle tale

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

So, we have this beagle. Our friend, Chuck, calls her, a”piggle” because she is shaped like a bratwurst and will eat anything. The mere sound of kibble landing in her dog dish or a packet of crackers being opened turns her into a howling lunatic. Some mornings, she gets so excited that she wolfs down what’s in her dog dish much too fast, goes outside, and promptly regurgitates it in the yard.

It gets worse.

Sometimes, upon seeing that her breakfast is now in the grass instead of in her belly, she  decides to, well, consume the same breakfast for a second time, because, heck, why not? Her human standing on the steps in the rain screaming, “No! Stop! Get away from that! Ish!” doesn’t even warrant a glance. Apparently, one person’s ISH! is another piggle’s second breakfast.

I was contemplating the piggle’s worst inclinations when I learned that the perpetrators of both the pipe bomb mailings and the murders at a synagogue in Pittsburgh yesterday had been heavy consumers and participants on social media sites that serve up a vile smorgasbord of fear, hatred, and wild conspiracy theories.

Consume, spew, consume. Consume, spew, consume.

My soul gets weary when I think of all of that poison. My heart hurts for us all.

And then I remember that love is stronger than hate. It is.

It just has to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mice and rice

“October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup. October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins. O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!”

-Rainbow Rowell, Attachments

In October, the sunlight is different, more brilliant. Thursday, I watched a pair of ducks gliding on a sea of diamonds under a brilliant, turquoise sky. Summer is wonderful,  but it is those perfect, rare, October afternoons with temps in the 70’s and the heady scent of wet oak leaves that I love best.

The dog is nursing her pride and a sore snout because she didn’t listen when I told her to “leave it” and tripped a mousetrap. Beagles do not hear anything where peanut butter is concerned. For the rest of the day, she glared at the spot in the utility room where the indignity occurred. It’s hard to keep one’s nose where it belongs. For beagles, especially, but people, too.

The mystery of the rice piles in beds has been solved. The mice were not importing it, as I had suspected. They just found the neck warmer filled with rice that fell down between the washing machine and the water softener before I did. Lesson learned. When something goes missing, keep looking.

A red squirrel has also found his way inside the cabin. I am finding acorns in places where no acorns should be. Like the left pocket of my bathrobe and between bath towels in the linen closet. The likely suspect is a mean, sneaky little red devil with a fluffy tail who chews me out as I stand on the front steps to shake all the acorns out of my sheets and towels before packing them away.

In October, I always wish a nice, clean, little weasel would move in to take care of the place until spring.  Weasels are good mousers. Maybe they can beat up red squirrels, too, for all I know.

This morning, the temp is in the 30’s, with a strong north wind and horizontal snow. October in Minnesota. Uffda. Tomorrow, we will turn off the water, blow out the pipes,  and call it good for another season.The furry forest critters will celebrate our leave-taking with a dinner party before we make it to town.

On the menu?  White rice and acorn stew.

Battery life

“And I rose
In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days…”

-Dylan Thomas, Collected Poems

I am writing this on my lap top. Albioni’s “Adagio for Organ and Strings” is streaming on my tablet. Occasionally, my cell phone emits a sweet “ding” to let me know I have a text message. I am working on learning not to text anyone under the age of forty back in ALL CAPS or place periods at the ends of texted sentences unless I’m ACTUALLY ANGRY. Old habits die hard for old English teachers. We need a lot of reminding.

The battery on my computer is draining before my very eyes. I know this because of the tiny battery-shaped icon on the bottom of the screen. I plug the computer in, and suddenly, I can see electrical power working its magic as the icon begins to fill. I never stop being amazed by electricity. You need it, and it’s there, just waiting on the other side of the wall outlet. You just need to plug in.

In other news, I’m getting over the first virus I’ve had in years, and it was a doozy.  Everybody I know seems to be either be catching, or getting over, this bug. I’m a freak about washing my hands after I’ve been anywhere (ask my children) but even fanatics get sick occasionally. When I was a young mom, the only thing worse than having a sick kid or two was being sick at the same time they were. Now, when one of them is sick, they call me for sympathy, but make their own chicken soup and sneeze into their own tissues. And when I’m sick, my only job is to get better.

Today, I’m doing just that. First, I’m watching the golden symphony of maple leaves in the woods floating to the wet earth below. Later, I will bake a ham and some sweet potatoes to fill the house with good smells. Then, before dinner, I will take a nap in front of the fire. The dog will join me. That’s the plan.

I’m plugged in.

My battery is charging, too.

 

Indestructible

The table is ugly mid-century modern fake-wood Formica. It is not much to look at. The vinyl upholstered chairs around it make an unholy screeching sound and scratch the linoleum when a felt pad falls off a leg. How is it that we have created vaccines and the internet but can’t seem to develop a pad that will stay stuck to the bottom of a chair leg? What’s that about? The chairs are currently blue. Before that, they were green. Before that? I don’t remember.

What 1950’s furniture lacked in appearance, it more than made up for in durability. This set is proof. It is indestructible. It has been used to roll out pie crust and for cleaning buckets of blueberries. It has cooled hundreds of oatmeal cookies through the years. Back when grandmothers still sewed sundresses for their granddaughters, it was the ideal surface for pinning and cutting out patterns. More than a few sunfish have been scaled on it through the years, too. Guns have been cleaned and oiled. Grocery lists written. Hundreds of games of gin rummy, cribbage, and solitaire have been played. The New Testament has been read cover-to-cover during breakfast more than once. It has been cut on, spilled on, painted on, and eaten on. In a kitchen with about eight square feet of actual counter space, it also doubles as the perfect meal prep surface. Forget about those big, fancy kitchen islands you see on new home tours. We have a kitchen table for that.

People, thankfully, do not chain-smoke around it any more, though a generation ago they did. There are fewer black coffee drinkers around it than there used to be, too. The older faces I remember around the table in my youth are just sweet memories and stories now. The pudgy baby faces of our children have morphed overnight into adult faces with jobs, worries, and other people who matter to them. They come for visits and then go back to their lives in the city. Some are starting to bring along new baby faces. If we are lucky, there will be more. That is what makes a family indestructible, isn’t it? New faces?

Some families build palatial lake homes with cathedral ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows and call them cabins. Their kitchens feature the finest granite counter tops and largest “islands” money can buy. They plop cute pillows embroidered with the word “Gather” on plaid upholstered benches and wait for company. In places like this, I’m never sure whether this is an invitation, a suggestion, or a command.

We have an island, too.  It’s called my grandmother’s kitchen table. It’s where her people gather. It’s where we always have. It’s where we always will.

And let me tell you, that is a thing of beauty.