Weekend with Gibby

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Gibson is the name of my cousin’s English Springer Spaniel. Raised from a puppy with the very loving and energetic family that I’m currently living with, Gibson has been spoiled from day one. Sometimes I wonder if he thinks he’s part human.

This weekend the family went away for a few days and so I spent the time with Gibson. I call him Gibby. Since the dog has grown up with five family members, he doesn’t like to be alone. How do I know this? He whines, he mopes, he looks at me with his caramel colored eyes pleadingly, as if saying “I miss everyone. Where are they?” That’s how I know.

Gibson is a HUGE lover of attention. He practically demands it. He will jump up next to me and place his paw on my arm, actually grabbing my arm and moving it closer to him. The sad part about that? I acquiesce much too readily and end up petting him every time. It’s those eyes again. They plead and I can’t resist them. He knows he’s got me with THE LOOK.

Gibson wakes in the morning from his mighty slumber in someone’s bed (usually NOT mine) and runs downstairs to greet me in the morning. We have a routine now. I pet him and say “good morning,” and he wags his tail and soaks up the morning petting routine with glee. He’s always happy to see you, which makes one happy, too.

During the day and evening he constantly monitors who is in the house, what they are doing and from whom he can get his next pet or feeding or treat or walk. And we all offer those with kindness, because we love that darn dog! Yes, we are pathetic.

At night Gibson makes his rounds to make sure that everyone is in the house, safe, and settled down. This may seem a protective gesture on his part, but I think his motives are plain: he wants to be certain all of his caretakers are present in case he needs something.

This dog does not do well in a kennel situation. He doesn’t eat, etc. Without his caretakers, he is lost.
So this weekend, instead of sending Gibson to the doggy daycare, he stayed home with me.

The first day he kept running to the door at every sound, waiting for his family to return. I kept telling him “it’s just you and me, Gibby.” Yes, I talk to the dog. I also believe he understands a little. At least he knows my calming voice will sooth him. The male head of this household has told me on more than one occasion that I must let him know if the dog talks back to me. So far, he hasn’t.

Friday morning I mowed the lawn, and Gibby watched me from his perch on the couch in the living room. I saw him through the window.

Later I watched a movie on television and Gibby watched…me.

I walked to the bathroom and Gibby walked with me. He waited outside the bathroom for my return, then escorted me back to the couch.

I read a book and Gibson watched me.
I made and ate dinner, and Gibson watched me.
I gave Gibson his evening meal, he ate quickly, then proceeded to sit next to me, burp in my face, and place
both paws on my arms. That was my thanks for feeding him I guess. His version of a hug.

Finally it was time for bed, and it was late for Gibson. He’s used to an early to bed, late to rise kind of life.
I’ve not allowed the dog to sleep in my bed since I’ve been here, so this was a new situation for Gibson. At first he stayed on the floor next to the bed, but then he kept getting up and running upstairs to check out noises he heard. This was distracting to me.

So I called him up on to the bed, where he promptly jumped, looked around and then WHOOMP, flopped down pressing his backside against me. Great, just what I wanted: a dog’s ass in my face all night. After a few minutes of my pushing against him and talking to him, he finally curled himself up in a ball, and that’s what I settled for.

There was a big thunderstorm on Friday night and I could hear the loud and continuing roll of the thunder for about two hours. At first Gibson heard the noises as well, so I petted him and he sighed and fell asleep. Finally the thunder subsided but I continued to hear noises. That’s when I realized that Gibson snores. And he snores loudly!

We made it through the night and the next morning both Gibson and I slept late. I woke at 9:45 a.m. and he was still sleeping! I turned to stretch and then Gibson woke and stretched also. He put his paws on either side of my head and breathed. Lovely morning dog breath wafted onto my face like a yellow haze in a cartoon. Yikes! I needed coffee.

So while I made coffee and breakfast, Gibson watched me. I ate and he then he ate. I showered and he waited outside of the bathroom for me. Then he spent the rest of the day snoozing until I decided that he needed his exercise (and I needed mine) so I took him for a walk.

The rest of the weekend went along pretty much the same. And now Gibson waits for his family to return, which should be very soon now.

He’ll jump for joy when they get here, and all will be well in that dog’s life.
It’s the simple things that make us smile. Gibby smiles often.

Here’s pic of Gibson using his paw to get my attenntion which, of course, he did.

Gibbyandme1

p.s.–I noticed, in typical Windy style, my right boob looks as if it’s drooping in this pic. It isn’t. I was leaning over to take the picture and that’s the result. Yeah, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! LOL

The Total Eclipse of the Sun

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Eclipses have always fascinated me. I think it’s because they evoke  memories for me of “bonding times” from my youth. I remember watching my first solar eclipse and the time spent with my Dad as he explained what was happening to the sun and why. He also instructed me, again and again, to not look at the sun directly during the eclipse. I couldn’t resist back then.

There’s a solar eclipse happening today, and, sorry Dad, but I still can’t resist looking at it! Although I use my fingers as a shield and wear sunglasses, I still see spots afterwards. I just can’t stop myself from looking when I know that something is happening to the sun!

I also can’t stop singing the line from “You’re So Vain.” You know the one. “You flew your Lear jet to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun…..”

Uh, huh. Now you’re humming the song, too.

And since the song also mentions Saratoga, my mind wanders to my cousin, Jim, and another ecliptic memory. Way back in the 1970′s I was watching a full lunar eclipse with my cousin. ( I checked on the NASA website and it lists the total eclipse as September 16, 1978, so I’m going to go with that date.) I know that I was young, so I’m guessing that’s the one we watched.

It was summer and my family was visiting Jim, who lived in Saratoga, NY. It was a clear night and the moon was in full eclipse. I remember my cousin explaining many things about the moon to me. We stood outside on his front lawn, necks craning upward, and I listened as he told me about the earth’s rotation and its shadow on the moon.

I could have listened to him all night. I probably did.

Spending that time talking to my Dad and my cousin about the sun and moon may seem to be such an insignificant thing to be writing about, but it isn’t. Both my Dad and my cousin seemed larger than life to me as a young girl. Men that I looked up to (literally, since I was always so short). They were men who took interest in the little things in life, and passed that interest on to me. I soaked it up like a sponge to water.

The time spent watching those eclipses with my Dad and cousin were precious to me, even if I didn’t realize it then. Since there is no more time to spend with them physically (both have passed on), I’ll spend a little time in the memories today.  And that’s okay.

Then again, there’s an eclipse of the sun going on. I gotta get outside!!

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Update to blog ten minutes later:

It figures! In typical Windy style, I finally went outside to watch the eclipse…..

….. and it started to rain!

The Whiffleball Game and the Hidious Halter Top

Family and Heritage, Humor, Life Matters 4 Comments »

Summertime most often brings back memories for me of fun times in the sun, swimming in our pool, and long nights with the whirl of the metal fan humming in the background. Days before air conditioners, when we’d run through the sprinkler, and my Dad and I would spend hours playing catch or hitting the softball with my favorite red wooden bat.

And then there was what I now refer to as “my summer of discontent”.

It was Father’s Day weekend, and school had just let out for the summer. I was fourteen years old and looked forward to the two month vacation.

For some reason my mother decided to have a large picnic at our house. This was not a common event, because my Mom never liked to host those big parties. People would show up at our home all of the time, and often a party was the end result of that, but an actual planned event was rare. Therefore, I’m assuming that some relative (probably one or more of her sisters) talked my Mom into having the picnic at our home. And since she seldom said the word “NO,” well, there you have it.

I remember many people had arrived for the kick off to summer event. In the afternoon a friendly game of Whiffleball was started. I have had an aversion to Whiffleball ever since, and though eventually I succeeded in overcoming that dislike, it took years for me to accomplish that feat.

I was assigned to be the First baseman. Not my favorite position, but I accepted the challenge.

And then my Uncle Karl came up to bat. He hit the ball hard, but as it was a Whiffle ball, it didn’t travel far. He ran to First base, and then decided to slide into it.

Now, I ask, “who slides into First base?”

 The answer: NO ONE!

You either make it, or you don’t, but you never SLIDE into first!

As I was manning the base, my Uncle slid right into me, knocking my legs out from under me.

Immediately the sharp pain began to radiate in my right knee, as if someone were stabbing me repeatedly with a sharp knife. I knew that pain. Two years prior I had felt that same pain in my left knee after climbing a fence to look at ducks. (But that’s a different story for another blog.)

There I was on the ground, and I couldn’t move my leg. I slammed my arm down on the grass and yelled. I screamed, not only because of the pain, but because I knew what had happened. I knew that my entire summer was taken away from me. I understood at that moment that I’d be facing months in a cast and endless hours of painful physical therapy. My summer was ruined!

Family members now congregated around me as I remained on the ground and screamed “HE DISLOCATED MY GOD DAMNED KNEE!”

An ambulance was called. There I was in my HALTER TOP and shorts, with my hefty legs sprawled out in an unpleasant stance, with my permed hair bunching up in all kinds of weird directions, I was crying and waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

My Uncle Joe was the chief of the volunteer fire department of our small town. So logically, some of the members of the fire/ambulance squad were also relatives. But not all. I was mortified beyond belief that some men of my small town would now see me sprawled out on the grass in that hidious HALTER TOP.

To make matters worse, one of my Aunts decided it would be fun to document the whole event, so she actually took pictures! Fortunately for me, my pictures are packed away in a storage unit on Long Island, and I don’t have access to them at the time I’m writing this blog. So I can’t post them here. Yay.

They lifted me onto a stretcher and transported me to the hospital where the doctor counted to three (actually, I think it was only 2 and 1/2) then snapped my knee back into place. Owwwww!

The assistant slathered up my leg with adhesive spray and gauze, and then a plaster cast was formed around my leg, from MY ANKLE to MY HIP.

All the while I’m sarcastically thinking, “Oh yeah, summer is just going to be so fun.”

My Uncle Karl stopped by a few days later to appologize, although I don’t think I ever heard him use the words “I’m sorry.” He brought me a puzzle and some clay models to occupy my time, since I’d be spending six weeks in the cast. No further comment on that.

About a week went by when I began to feel the itch. My entire leg itched, from ankle to knee. The heat of the summer didn’t help the matter any. I begged my mother to do something. I was going insane with the itch, and even though I banged on the cast, the itching only seemed to increase.

My mother grabbed a yard stick and we began shoving it up inside the cast. Up and down, and still no relief.

Finally I could not take it any more. My mom called the orthopaedic doctor and we went to his office. He placed a hand on the outside of my cast and said “Uh, oh.”

Now, when a doctor utters those words, you panic, right? I couldn’t imagine what was going on under that cast. All that I knew was that it wasn’t going to be good.

He made the decision to cut off the top of the cast. And then I saw them. Tons of tiny little bumps covered most of my leg.

“You must be allergic to the adhesive spray,” the doctor said.

Really? No kidding!

When the full cast was on, I did not have any pain in my knee. But when the half cast (which covered only the bottom of my leg, leaving the top of my leg exposed) was left, the pain began. Now I had pain and itching and no relief in sight!

It was a long summer for me. Weeks of the half cast and then more weeks of physical therapy. My Aunt Rose gave up her summer vacation that year to spend hours with me in the swimming pool working on the water therapy. If it wasn’t for her persistance and dedication to me, I might not have gained the flexibility back in my leg. We worked hard, but I finally was able to walk and bend my leg normally again. I have pics of us in the pool. Again, they are in storage. The embarassing part? I was still wearing that hidious HALTER TOP!

So many years have passed since that summer, yet I still remember the Father’s Day picnic so vividly.  It was the day that I swore out loud in front of my mother and other relatives. It was the day that I was filmed in all my glory, sprawled out on the lawn in shorts and a halter. It was most certainly the beginning of my summer of discontent.

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