Cliff still has relatives he cares about in Morgan County, Missouri. We have intended for awhile to pay a quick visit to his 92-year-old aunt who is in a nursing home in Stover, and a lady cousin of his on his dad's side who has spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals in the past few months. Then there's the wife of another cousin who died a few years ago; she lives not far from the other places we went; Cliff kept saying he'd like to see her, and this week I said, "Quit talking about it and let's go!"
So yesterday, away we went; I decided to take Gabe, the dog, along. He loves to "go bye-bye" with us, and his being along makes the time pass better for me; I'm not so sure how Cliff feels about it, but he'll put up with a lot for my sake. I planned out how the day would go, and realized Gabe might be a problem if we planned on eating a meal someplace; the day was too hot to leave a dog in a car. Then I got a fine idea... I'd make a picnic lunch and we'd eat at a little park in Stover after visiting Aunt Gertrude. When we used to cruise around on the motorcycle, we often had picnics and thoroughly enjoyed them: I packed nothing fancy, just sandwiches and some chips, and a piece of lemon pie for each of us. I made a lemon pie Monday, cut it in eight pieces, and we've each had a piece of pie every day for four days straight. Anyway, our trip seemed to be shaping up.
If there's anything I don't like, it's people who run around with a dog and take it in someone's house where it's almost certain to pee or poop... because when a dog is in a strange house, that's what they do, no matter how well house-trained they are. I'm sure there are exceptions, but it does happen often. Also, some people simply do not want a dog in their homes; my sister is an example of this. I'm sure if I took Gabe with me when we go to visit her, and brought him in her house, she wouldn't say anything. But she wouldn't enjoy it at all, for sure, even if his behavior was perfect; she isn't a big fan of dogs.
Cliff asked what I was going to do with the dog while we were visiting people.
I told him about my obviously simple solution: I'd take a tie-out and put him outside while we visited; he might bark nonstop, but he'd be fine. Both the homes we'd visit are in the country, and Cliff said at the nursing home, our first stop, I could tend to the dog while he visited Aunt Gertrude; when he came out, I could go in and say hello and he'd watch Gabe. That went well, by the way. There was a lovely shade tree outside the place. I got my cane-chair out of the trunk and used it to sit on while Gabe sniffed everything he could reach at the end of his leash. It was lovely. Then Cliff came out and took his turn, and afterward we had our picnic at the park.
At stop number two, the cousin's house, things were a little different: Three good-looking children met us at the car as we pulled in. A little blond girl pointed at the three big dogs barking at us and, pointing out two of them, said, "These two are nice." Then, pointing at the third one, she said, "He's mean."
The dog was obviously part Pit Bull, and I asked about this. The oldest child, a boy who looked about twelve years old, said proudly, "He's half Lab and half Pit." Hmm. I put Gabe down cautiously, but the "mean dog" as the kids called him, acted a little aggressive. Cliff's cousin's daughter, who lives nearby and is part-time caregiver for her mom, said, "Just bring him on in the house."
The house isn't a huge one, and the daughter's son and his three kids were there, so things were a bit crowded. There was a cute little Shi-tzu waddling around the house, two guinea pigs in a cage, and a kitten about a third grown running and jumping around. The boy we had met outside now came inside riding on some sort of motorized skate-board, tooling around from kitchen to living room, hallway and back, at a brisk pace. I cautiously set Gabe down; the kitten began stalking him, even jumping on his back as he passed by a chair. That was hilarious, and the way they were playing the whole time we were there, I wished I could steal the cat. He and Gabe made a fine pair!
With all the conversations from so many people, neither Cliff nor his cousin could hear anything; they're both about half deaf. If you are familiar with hearing aids, you know how background noise messes with them; Cliff has a button he can push to help with background noise, but he never remembers it. I'm not too hard of hearing, but I missed a lot of the many conversations around me. On the bright side, the cousin was happy to see us; we love her, and are glad we visited. Let's just say it was an interesting visit. Oh, and of course, Gabe peed on the carpet. I cleaned it up the best I could.
On to our last planned stop, the deceased cousin's wife's abode. As we pulled in the drive, she came out the door with her purse in hand, obviously getting ready to go someplace. We talked to her for about fifteen minutes and then let her go about her afternoon. There would have been a place for Gabe on a tie-out there, but alas, we weren't there long enough to take him off the leash. As far as the actual trip in the car, Gabe did great. He stayed in the back seat, often curling up in his bed and going to sleep. However, I won't be so quick to take him places without learning first what the conditions will be at our destination. I could have left him home in the kennel, or, for $15, I could have left him at Bed and Bones for the day, where he could have had fun with other small dogs.
Oh well, it was a road trip. What else can I say? Actually, on the way home, we had some big laughs about some of the happenings of the day. Oh, and we stopped by the Mennonite store to get a pint of Sorghum. I also bought two big tomatoes, one of which we had today on BLT's. AND.... for the longest time I've wanted some real, old-fashioned bologna, the kind they slice while you watch, as thick or thin as you want it. The packaged bologna you buy in the store is mostly water; I've been wanting some of the old-fashioned greasy stuff that you can fry, melt some cheese on, and put between a couple slices of bread. The store had that bologna which, by the way, we sampled for supper last night. We were not disappointed.
We are not eating in a healthy manner, but we are eating deliciously! Don't worry, I bought all sorts of fresh vegetables today, so we'll have a healthier meal tomorrow.
Enjoy every day, folks. Laugh every chance you get, because you never know what tomorrow will bring. Be daring enough to eat the good-tasting stuff sometimes. Have some pie. And by all means, take your dog for a ride.