Independence, Yes, But NIMBY!!!

Ivy, our granddog Goldendoodle arrived yesterday to stay with us for a week while her Peeps spend a week at the beach.

We were thrilled at the chance to have her for a week.  She’s a fun dog AND Ivy chases squirrels!  Oh, the thrill or seeing those little bastards scatter!  They are as fearful of her as they are contemptuous of us.  When we run out yelling at them, they give us the finger before sauntering off to lean against a tree, waiting for us to leave.  When Ivy goes out, they head for the treetops at top speed.

So, when Ivy’s family headed out yesterday, we came inside to enjoy looking out at our tree rodent-free yard.  Some time later, we heard Scout at the gate, barking loudly, which she rarely does.  Dearly Beloved called the dogs inside, but only Scout came.

Ivy had disappeared.

Imagine our panic!  Her folks hadn’t even reached the beach yet and we’d already lost their dog!  I fired off a Lost Dog e-mail to the neighborhood with a regal photo of Ivy.  I didn’t text my daughter.  I put  Version 2 Scout on a leash and asked her to play bloodhound while we walked the neighborhood.  She began sniffing immediately and my hopes soared.  Hah!  She was just looking for a place to pee–twice, before we even got to the corner.

In the meantime, DB had already headed out in his car.  He was so determined to find her that he said he was prepared to search all night.

While I was waiting for Scout to finish, I received an e-mail from someone in the neighborhood saying that Ivy was safe–she’d seen her with a couple who were trying to locate her owners.  They had called the number on the ID tag, but Voicemail was full, so they couldn’t leave a message.

The clever couple took Ivy home with them and sent a text to the number on the tag, since they couldn’t leave a message.  So, our daughter, on her way to the beach, received a text from strangers, saying, “We have your dog.  She is safe.”

Ivy loved the adventure.  She played with the couple’s Great Dane until DB arrived.  She’ probably bragged about it to Scout.  Ivy’s ID tag had broken off previously and Daughter had handed it to me when they arrived, asking could we fix it and put it back on her collar.  DB did so immediately.  Daughter was so grateful that he’d done so that she may even let us keep the grandkids again.  DB and I figure that we lost only five years of our lives at most.   Scout is giving us reproachful looks that say, “I TRIED to tell you that she’d broken out of the joint!”  

Trauma is exhausting, so DB and the dogs are napping.  Sounds like a good idea to me.  But first,  Ivy has a message for you. . . .








The house is quiet again.  That’s both good and bad.  We miss those grandchildren like crazy, but our muscles do need time to heal.  So does the house.

Dearly Beloved went bowling and/or played basketball with the three grandsons every day.  He admits that he’s not the player he used to be.  His jump shot lacks one thing–any hint of daylight between his shoes and the ground.

He developed a bruised breastbone and sore shoulder which he claimed prevented him from Furminating the dog.   After I said he’d need a note from the doctor, he found that he could manage the task after all.

Let me digress for a moment here:  I have mentioned several times that it takes him forever to walk the dog because he and Scout stop to talk and sniff every pup and owner they encounter.  (I hope you aren’t going to ask which one does the sniffing.)   On one of their walks, he talked to a woman about Thanksgiving and she told him of the fabulously prepared Thanksgiving dinner that she pre-orders every year and picks up on Thanksgiving Day.   As he was telling me this, I already had the phone in my hand to order.

Now, back to my story. . . . The youngest grandson (age 9) hit a wall on Tuesday when he came down with horrible stomach pains and a headache so fierce that he couldn’t handle TV, book, electronic games, or even food.

The family planned to run in the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning.  In fact, Youngest Grandson and DB were to do the 1K (DB had been practicing so he wouldn’t embarrass himself) but when YG couldn’t run, DB refused to solo.  Nevertheless, he took the two older grandsons over to watch them run their 5K while their parents ran in the 8K.

That left me with one sick grandson, one 17-month-old granddaughter, and Thanksgiving preparations for 11.  The word toddler has never applied to that little girl.  She is Turbo-motion with a capital T and the sound of her little feet on the hardwoods is a constant background noise, like a spoon tapping softly on a table.  That, of course, sets off a lumbering noise–me running after her–because this is not a child who sits quietly with her dolls.  She needs to know what is in every drawer, every cabinet.  She questions my furniture arrangement and her tiny arms manage to lug large footstools throughout the house.  It’s like seeing a stool levitate around the house.

I thought I’d done a good job of preparing for her by moving any tchotchkes.   Unfortunately, I had underestimated her climbing skills, so I started cramming things in closets and drawers too hard for her to open.  If only her granddad shared her ability to jump and climb!

Nevertheless, I managed to get the sweet potatoes and green beans prepared during that time.  The meal we’d ordered was for 8 to 10 people–the only size they offered–so I’d supplemented by preparing additional  sides and another dessert.  In a moment of panic, I’d even ordered a fried turkey from Bojangles, which I knew the grandsons and son-in-law would enjoy.  They’re the big eaters, so that reassured me that the other turkey, regardless of size, would be enough for the rest of us.

Because this was my first time buying a pre fixe meal like this, I’d naively assumed that since we were picking it up at 11:30 on Thanksgiving Day, that the turkey had been in the oven at 11.   Imagine my panic when I opened the two huge boxes of food to set out the meal and found instructions:  Bake the turkey for two hours.  I tore open the Bojangles package and found the identical words.

Two turkeys and four sides in covered aluminum pans, not to mention the extras which needed warming in pots on the cooktop.

I had ONE oven and 10 hungry people milling around, waiting for a Thanksgiving meal.  A feeling of doom encompassed me and threatened to defy my deodorant with an infusion of flop sweat.

About that time, my daughter asked, “Has anyone seen Ivy?”

The last time any of us had seen her, she’d been out in our fenced back yard.  Now the gate was open and there was no sign of Ivy.

My hungry diners hit the streets by automobile, bicycles, and on foot, looking for Ivy.  I sent a plea via our Neighborhood Watch list, asking neighbors to look out for her.

I remained at the house, tossing food in and out of the oven while checking on sick grandson and chasing granddaughter.  Thank goodness, she had found something to play with after all–the basket of dog toys.

Three hours later, at my brother’s suggestion, DB checked with the golf starter at the country club in the next block.  Yes, they had spotted a dog bouncing along the course.  The Pro went after her in the golf cart.  She cheerfully jumped on the seat beside him to ride shotgun, back to the clubhouse.   The guy took her to his home and began printing flyers.  DB, Daughter and Dog were reunited eventually and returned home where finally it had started to smell like a Thanksgiving meal was in the works.

Doing the math, you know that three hours didn’t give me time to bake two turkeys and all stuffing, scalloped potatoes, roasted root vegetables in those huge aluminum baking pans, but I have two words for you.  CLOSE ENOUGH!

Dearly Beloved says he thinks it was the best Thanksgiving ever.  You know what?

I think I agree!








And a Fine 4th to You, Too!

My Dearly Beloved and I are sticking close to home this holiday.  Camp Granddad was open for our Georgia grandchildren during much of June and we loved every second of it.  This week we’re running Camp Granddog, as their goldendoodle, Ivy, is here to romp with our girl, Scout.  Ivy is a squirrel chaser and I had high hopes that she would tutor Scout in the finer points of tree rat elimination.  Instead, Scout seems to be having some success in showing Ivy the joys of lying on the deck and watching the damnsquirrels climb the feeder poles.


Happy Independence Day from Camper Ivy and all of us at Camp Granddog!

Fashion Gone to the Dogs

Scout, the wonder dog, was ecstatic when her “nieces,” Stella and Ivy, spent a few days here after Christmas.  They were so cute in their exuberant romps that I thought it would be fun to have a picture of the three of them.  Maybe I’d frame it and hang it over Scout’s food bowl or make little Valentine cards for her to send her friends.

It didn’t occur to me to try this until our kids were already packing their cars to leave.  It’s iffy that I could even come up with a satisfactory photo of three stuffed toy dogs sitting together, so this live shoot had little chance of success.  We gave it our best.

Scout didn’t have her collar on, so Dearly Beloved was trying to hold on and keep her still without pinching.  Hah!  Anesthesia wouldn’t have kept that dog still.  There was lawn to be plowed, flowerpots to be destroyed, races to be won.

Ivy had an unusual new “do” this trip, which made her ears look like they’d grown four inches since her last visit.  Her topknot had a personality of its own, allowing her to go from serenity to insanity in less than ten seconds.


That’s a chunk of a flowerpot she’s carrying–the spoils from an earlier tug of war.

Scout continued to exhibit the need for speed.  Just because a dog has never broken the sound barrier doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be tried.


Stella had already donned her sleek traveling coat for the return trip home.  While Stella admittedly has barking issues (a fact confirmed by our neighbor’s overnight guests very early one morning and relayed to us), she has the commands Sit and Stay down cold.


Ivy was fascinated with that coat.  Scout, meanwhile, was still doing her best Greyhound imitations–the dog and the bus.

Ivy assessed the situation and sat.


Dearly Beloved tried to bring Girl Scout into the picture.  Uh oh.

Ivy was still checking out that snazzy coat.

Ivy checked out the coat again.  “Can I have one like that, Mom?”

Even Scout agreed.  "Nice coat, Bitch."
Even Scout agreed. “Nice coat, Bitch.”

Out of all the photos, this one is the closest to having them do what I asked:  Okay, everybody say CHEESE and look this way!


Sigh.  We’ll try again.  Maybe DB will work with Scout on her Sit/Stay command.  My daughter sent a photo this week during the frigid temperatures.  Looks like Ivy is already gearing up for next time.  Literally.

Image 1

Calm and Bright? Not Exactly.

Our neighbor decided to hang some of those large, lighted Christmas balls on the trees in her front yard this year, no small undertaking for a woman who lives in her car.  Well, practically.   Hauling her sons to all the practices, games, and school activities that go with young boys these days, she probably racks up more miles than a long haul trucker.

She bought the materials, made and wrapped the balls, dug up the electrical cords, and headed outside.   Now it was time to attach those balls and electrical cords to the limbs in the tall trees.

All that hauling the little guys to practices appeared to pay off.  She had them tie a rope that was attached to an electrical cord around a small football and they took turns tossing it over the branches until they hit pay dirt.  It wasn’t easy. The suckers on the limbs either blocked the football or kept the rope from pulling along the branch properly.

Nevertheless, they hung three balls that first day before heading off to basketball practice.  A day or so later, she brought out more of the lighted balls to hang and the football tossers ran into the same problem, particularly with one limb.

That’s when Dearly Beloved, wandered up our driveway and came upon the scene next door.  He and Scout, our Wonder Dog, had been heading out for a walk, but he couldn’t resist stopping to give advice:  “Now just calm down. “

(If I could rip those words from his vocabulary, I’d make a stab at it.  It’s advice he gives to me, to the dog, to various athletes and referees on television, to politicians. . . arrrggghhh!  My blood pressure is going up just thinking about it.  I’m sure the neighbor was ever so thrilled, too.)

Finally, Mr. Calm couldn’t help but join in the toss to get the rope in the right place.  As he was doing so, he presented his bona fides by telling them about The Chandelier Incident in the previous post.  Now, I wasn’t on the scene, but as I understand it, he did make a successful toss.  Just as he gave his “There!  I fixed it!” grin, our neighbor pointed out that when he’d yanked on the rope, it had detached the electrical cord,  so what they had at that point was a rope dangling from a tree limb, too high to reach.

At that instant, Odessa, who I used to refer to as the wonder dog before we got Scout, came flying out their front door at warp speed to show off her wonder-ness.  She ignored the assemblage there and dashed across the street, pausing a few seconds for a quick sniff at a tree.  Scout ran over to join her.  DB was calling Scout and the neighbors were calling Odessa, so at that point I went outside to see what the commotion was about.  Everyone was yelling.   I resisted the urge to say, “Now just calm down….”  Instead, I began yelling, too.

Scout came back, but Odessa took off again and turned the corner at the end of the block, racing toward the busy street nearby.  She was out of sight in no time.

All innocence.
A pimped-up Odessa.  All innocence.

I brought Scout into the house and DB took off after Odessa.  He said later that he stopped  and asked several people had they seen a brown dog.  She’s a bit hard to describe.  (Well, she wears her hair parted down the middle….)  One man said that he’d seen “a brown blur” run right through the traffic and kept going.

One of our neighbor’s friends happened to spot Odessa some distance away and was able to coax the dog into the car.  The friend was driving over to our neighbor’s– to pick up the boys for basketball practice, of course.  In the meantime, because DB’s phone charge had run down, we couldn’t call to retrieve him, so Odessa arrived home well before he did.

The rest of the Christmas balls have been hung now.  I’m not sure when it happened; one day they were simply there.  Perhaps in the middle of the night when she could do so without the intervention of man, beast, or ball practice.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Take Two Redials And Call Me In The Morning

As I’ve said before, my Dearly Beloved has some peculiar notions about doctors.

He still subscribes to the theory that all injuries should be ignored unless they occur on the football field which, of course, isn’t happening at our house this century.  So, when he was playing Tennis Ball Keepaway (which he shouldn’t) with our dog Scout recently and she jumped for the tennis ball in his hand and got the fleshy pad of his hand instead, he took care of the wound himself.   I wasn’t home and he had it bandaged by the time I returned, so I haven’t seen it and don’t want to.  He claims it probably could have used some stitches, but it was a clean tear, so he wasn’t going to get any.

I ignored it, staging my own game of Keepaway from the whole incident, refusing to offer sympathy.  That doesn’t stop him from holding up his hand occasionally and dramatically peeking under the bandage to give me a report.

Still, when he felt awful for several days in a row recently, I did feel bad for him and insisted he see the doctor.  Who’s going to set the mousetrap if he kicks the bucket?

He told me that he’d be seeing her soon for his October physical.  “When is that?”  I asked, it being the last week of September.

“I don’t know.  I haven’t made the appointment yet.”

“Well, MAKE it!  Right now.”  

A few minutes later, he said he’d done so and would be going in mid-November.  (And my dentist wonders why I grind my teeth!)

“Look at you, you’re in BED!  You’ve felt lousy for days!  Call them again and tell them you’re sick and need to come in NOW!”

He sighed dramatically.

“Okay. Dial the number for me and bring me the phone.”

My sigh was even more dramatic than his, but I took the damn phone to his bedside.  I’d punched in the number; all he had to do was hit “Talk.”  Which he screwed up.  He hit Redial and Talk a second, then a third time, before he ever got it to ring.

He began talking almost immediately, explaining that he’d just made an appointment for his physical, but wondered if he could see the doctor right away.  I was mystified, since I always have to go through several automated prompts before reaching the appointed appointment human.  How did he avoid that?

While he explained his symptoms,  I stood over him with my arms crossed, making sure he   didn’t omit anything.  A look of puzzlement suddenly crossed his face.

“Scout,” he said, obviously in response to a question.  “She bit me on the hand, but it’s okay.  It was an accident.”

He listened again, then answered, “No, the checkup is for me.”  Another look of complete confusion.  “Wait a minute.  Who have I called here?”

Animal Medical Hospital.

He burst out laughing, hastening to explain,  “My wife dialed this number for me.”  

I hadn’t!  I’d most certainly dialed the doctor’s number because I’d looked it up before doing so, but by then I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t defend myself.  I fell onto the bed, clutching my stomach, shrieking and gasping, as he answered that no, he didn’t think he needed a rabies shot, but he could use a bath.

I wanted to suggest anal gland expression, but I still couldn’t catch my breath enough to say the words.

Since he’d inadvertently disconnected the number I’d put in for him before it ever connected, hitting Redial had taken him back to the last number actually called–the vet  he’d called the previous evening to arrange boarding for Scout over the weekend.

Funny thing is, we laughed so hard over the ridiculous conversation, he began to feel better almost immediately.  Since it can’t do lab work, he still had to go in for a checkup, but laughter really IS the best medicine!

My doctor is wonderful. Once, in 1955, when I couldn’t afford an operation, he touched up the X-rays. – Henny Youngman

Sign on a cosmetic surgery clinic:
If life gives you lemons, a simple operation can give you melons.

Duly Noted

If all men had the aversion to grocery shopping that my husband does, my own shopping experience would take much less time, as there would be fewer carts stopped in the middle of the aisle.

Maybe not.  Perhaps I have too much faith in my own kind.

The thing about Dearly Beloved is that he thinks that because I don’t leave the house kicking and screaming I must ENJOY grocery shopping.  Hardly.   During our discussions about this subject (yes, we’ve had some) he says, “You don’t hate it as much as I do.”

When I shop for groceries, I buy multiples of items we use often– diced tomatoes, beans, etc.–when they’re on sale.  Plus, I buy items that I know that are about to need restocking–milk, bagels, and such.  Both of these ideas are completely foreign to him.  It rarely occurs to him that we need more coffee until he shakes the last few beans out of the bag.  As long as there are heels in the bread bag,  “we’re good on bread.”

My point here is not to criticize my Dearly Beloved’s shopping aversion–he has too many good traits to nitpick about that– but to explain why, when I needed a few grocery items after we’d been to a movie matinée recently, he drove to the strip shopping mall and parked in front of the supermarket, then said, “I’m not going in.”  

Who am I to question his preference to sit in the car on a 90-degree day?  I was fine with that.

What did surprise me was when he said, “You keep the keys.  I’m going to run down to the music store while you’re shopping.  I’ll just wait by the car if I get back first.”  

After making my purchase, I returned to the car and stashed my grocery sacks on the back seat.  I switched on the ignition for air conditioning and began reading the book I had picked up at the library.  I became quickly engrossed, but by the time I started Chapter 3, it occurred to me that my Talenti Sea Salt Caramel Gelato (a major score: half-price!) was probably melting, even with air conditioning.

I was just about to dash back and buy a box of plastic spoons to put it to waist instead of waste when DB opened the car door.  He was grinning proudly and holding a very large black bag… containing a very large guitar.

As he said when he laid it across the back seat, “This will last me the rest of my life.”  I should hope so.

He plans to learn to play it while he’s learning to play the banjo he bought two months ago.

Hey, I’m not complaining.  The man enjoys it and it’s cheaper than a red sports car.  I think it’s great to take up something completely new after retirement.

He practices in what was formerly a guest bedroom, now referred to as “Scout’s room” because that is where we set up her kennel when we brought her home.  I can’t even hear his practice in the den or sunroom… and I’m not complaining about that, either.

Scout recognizes the banjo by sight or sound and she doesn’t like either.  A  plunk or two  and she’s out of there.  She leaves the room whenever DB even reaches for it, but if he selects the guitar, she’ll lie at his feet while he practices.  She seems quite pleased with the new purchase.

DB laments that he has not progressed as rapidly as he’d hoped, but his enthusiasm has not waned.  He has decided that he must actually learn notes, something he had not anticipated.  Although he has not admitted it, I think he believed that his notable shag dancing abilities would translate to his fingertips.  That has not been the case.

Where does one store a guitar and a banjo?  Our house was built before the walk-in closet era.  So far,  he hasn’t found a good spot.  He puts one atop the dresser and the other on the chest-of-drawers. That makes dusting a pain, so I prefer this arrangement:


The little scenario gives me the giggles (except for the poorly made bed.)   I wouldn’t be surprised to look in one day and find a baby ukulele lying nearby.

  • “Nothing says ‘dropping out of society’ like learning the banjo.” – Daniel Roth
  • “Will play Banjo for food, will stop playing banjo for money.” – Unknown
  • “A gentleman is a man who can play the banjo, but doesn’t.” – Mark Twain
  • “I pick, therefore I grin.” – Unknown
  • “You can pick your banjo and you can pick your nose but you can’t wipe your banjo on your pants.” – Unknown
  • “I hear banjos. Paddle faster.” – Anonymous

Please, Mr. Postman

I’m trying not to have a complex about this, but I’m not even sure that I’m Number 4 on our dog Scout’s list of people preferences.  I know with certainty that Spots 1, 2, and 3 are taken.

1.  Lord and master of the universe.  (That would be Dearly Beloved.)

2.  Our mail carrier, Danny.

3.  Ivy, our daughter’s Goldendoodle. (Yes, of course Ivy is a person!)

No. 2 on the list is the Pied Piper of canines in our neighborhood.  His mail truck generates as much excitement with the dogs as an ice cream truck for neighborhood kids and he does it without a bell.  Danny carries treats in his mail bag and hands them out to all the dogs he passes as he makes his rounds.

For the lucky dogs with mail slots on the doors, he slips a treat in along with the mail.  Once he realized that Ivy was spending the summer with us, Danny added a second treat, but Scout would race to our front door and wolf down both treats so fast that he barely had time to get his fingers out of the slot.

After Danny realized what was happening,  the mail slot started clanging three times. . . one time for the mail, a second time while he tossed in a treat aimed toward the left, then a third clang to aim one to the right–to give Ivy a better chance of getting to the one meant for her.


When DB took the pair on their morning walks, they watched for the mail truck and pulled in that direction, even if they’d already been treated on another street.

Emily, the big black lab on our block, has a case of Danny-love, too.  Once I saw Emily lying in the grass several streets away from ours. I would’ve thought she’d been hit by a car but for the disgusted look on her owner’s face as he tugged on her leash.

“Is Emily all right?” I asked him.  He nodded.

“Then what is she doing?”  

“Stalling.  She’s hoping Danny will come by.”  

As the weeks progressed, Ivy became wiser about the magic mail slot.  Rather than try to outrun Scout, she decided to outsmart her.


Having Ivy here for two months has been wonderful for Scout.  She appears to have lost her fear of other dogs, if her romps with Ivy are any indication.  We began calling them Thelma and Louise.  I’d be embarrassed to admit how many videos DB and I have made of those two clowns and their antics.

Over the weekend, we returned Ivy to her peeps.  It was a happy reunion for all of them, but we certainly miss her.  I hope Ivy doesn’t encounter any mail carriers for a while.

They might misconstrue her salivating.

Did you hear the one about the unstamped letter?

You wouldn’t get it. 


The banjo practices continue.  Dearly Beloved feels that he is improving, but adds that the purest notes that come out of that banjo are the sounds when he accidentally bumps the instrument neck against the chair arm when he’s sitting down.

Part of the problem is that it hasn’t been tuned in a month and there has been much “a-pickin’ and a-grinnin'” since then.

Yesterday he practiced in the bedroom.  Granddog Goldendoodle Ivy lay at his feet the entire time.  Our girl Scout, as usual, fled the scene after the first few notes.

Dearly Beloved is starting to take this behavior personally.  He says he’s learning a lot about his so-called “friends.”  He calls them “True” and “Fair-Weather.”

With all the rain we’re having, letting the dogs outside for anything except a potty break results in mud-wrestling, but they’re managing to keep themselves entertained inside.  Their games are a bit hard on the wood floors, but they’re fun to watch.

DB also refers to them as The Princess (Ivy) and The Street Dog (Scout.)   It’s easy to see why, even in the way they eat.  Ivy carefully chews each individual little kibble, while Scout sucks hers down with turbo power.

Our favorite game to watch is the tug of war, played with a remnant of rope left from an “indestructible” toy.   Scout puts one end of the rope in her mouth, flips over, and waits behind the sofa for Ivy.

Prissy Ivy grabs the other end of the rope and pulls, dragging Scout around the room.  Neither dog will let go of the rope.

I have some photos, but I must tell you first that the sofas in the photos are a combination of our flowery beach-house-not-on-the-beach couch which I love and our bad upholstery choice den sofa and love seat.  All will be made right when I find slipcovers for the “hotel lobby” sofa and love seat.  So, no whispering about these sofas.  We know we’re a decorating nightmare right now.  (Feel free to report us to HGTV.  We could use the inspiration.)

The wait.
The wait.
The grab.
The grab.
The tug.
The tug.
The spin.
The spin.

If The Princess wants to win this duel, all she has to do is drag Fair-Weather toward the practice in the bedroom.

“A banjo is like an artillery shell — by the time you hear it, it’s too late.”
— A Prairie Home Companion Pretty Good Joke Book

Doggone It, He’s Playing WHAT???

My Dearly Beloved is a music junkie.  When he takes a walk or does any work outside, his ears are always clogged with ear buds.  He can be standing only a few feet away, but  I am unable to get his attention, short of tackling him.   I try not to complain, since this is progress of a sort.  He used to walk around with the music of Dire Straits emanating from the pocket of his shorts.

He does have musical talent in that he can identify ‘most any song from the 50’s and 60’s and tell you who sang it and what year it was released.  He still has his shag dance moves, including the double back Suzy.  But as for making music?   Um… no.

He “whistles,” but there is not a hint of a melody there.  The man can whistle sharp and flat–on the same note.   It’s scary.

Since retiring, he has been adding to his lists of activities, determined not to be Earl in the Pickles comic strip, at least not on a daily basis.  About three weeks ago, much to my surprise, he left for the hardware store and came home with an instrument from the music store in the same shopping center.

That was right as I was packing to go to Birmingham to convene with my knitting/e-mail friends for a few days.  DB would stay here with our girl Scout, the wonder dog, who sticks to him like velcro.  He planned to practice his new instrument.

So, when I left for Alabama, he had a banjo on his knee.  104242697 - Version 2

(Why yes, Susanna,  I DID have to say that.  )

He e-mailed that things weren’t going as planned.  Whenever he played, Scout would leave the room.  The dog that accompanies him everywhere— the garage, the kitchen, the bathroom–the dog that goes to bed when he does–vanishes when he starts playing that banjo.


Image 6

The main isn’t Earl Scruggs, but I don’t find his banjo practicing nearly as bad as his whistling.   Scout apparently feels differently.  Perhaps she is banjo-phobic?  DB was truly dismayed.






On my way back from Alabama, I stopped in Atlanta and picked up Granddog Ivy, our granddog golden doodle.  Her peeps had a lot planned in the coming weeks, so we decided that Ivy could come stay at Camp Granddad.

She and our girl Scout are real pals, romping in the yard or wrestling in the house.  They love being together–except during banjo practice.  When DB sounds the first chord, Scout leaves the room.  Ivy, however,  immediately goes and sits beside DB, watching him and listening intently to every note.









She stays with him during his entire practice session, while Scout makes herself scarce.

It IS  strange because except for the banjo music, the two are inseparable.  Really.  Inseparable.

Image 14

This morning, DB said that for the first time, Scout stayed in the room during his practice. He was delighted to play for both dogs.

“Do you think I’m playing better?” he asked.

Yes, definitely. . . because you’re playing SOFTER.

At this rate of progress, I may be able to remove the earbuds from my own ears pretty soon.

What is the least often heard sentence in the English language? That would be: Say, isn’t that the banjo player’s Porsche parked outside?
– – – – – – Jackson Browne