Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

All American Mom

When my mother was growing up, there were not many opportunities for girls to participate in sports.  Here is what happened when I tried to include female participation in basketball at our garage, which had a backboard and rim attached, and a driveway which served as the court.

To fully appreciate the setting for this story, I must tell you that my mother had an older brother who was an All American football player.  He also was a basketball star and a good track athlete.  So good, that his nickname was Flash.  He is in the Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame.  I am not in the Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame, but when I was in 5th grade, I fully expected future induction.

So, I was shooting hoops with my friends and my mother came by on her way to the backyard clothesline.  We were, as you could have seen if you had been there, excellent athletes, whereas my mother was, of course, just a girl or, more accurately, a lady who was my mother.

I teasingly passed the basketball to her.  She caught it and immediately shot the ball.  It went into the basket.  The shot was from the side, maybe 15 feet from the basket.  Swish!

Then she made like she was wiping her hands and offered to play with us again when we improved.

I don’t recall ever playing with her again.  She was one for one.  Perfect record.

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Thirty Pounds of Puppy

Gus at 15 weeks

At 15 weeks of age, last week Gus  went to his primary care physician for his veterinary care, which included shots and a checkup.  The checkup involved weighing him on a scale.   The scale read 30 pounds.

That weight for a Labrador Retriever of that age is not unusual.  Some are smaller, some are bigger.  What was remarkable to me is the rate of growth.  Three weeks ago, when Gus had a vet appointment for his 12 week checkup, he weighed less than twenty pounds.

Now for me to gain ten pounds in three weeks is easy.  But for a puppy to increase his body weight by half again what he weighed would be like me gaining 100 pounds in three weeks.

With the holidays here, I will give it a try.

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Beau as Pet of the Year

Readers of this blog who are familiar with numerous posts about our Yellow Labrador Retriever named Beau have an impression of him as an amusing trouble-maker.  Today, I want to amend that view of Beau.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I am not taking it all back.  The stories about him are all true.  He is indeed a character with a funny personality.  You might recall that many of Beau’s activities have involved “collecting.”  He has robbed both a UPS truck and a FedEx truck.  He has brought me tools from workers.  He has “found” a hat of one of our guests.  He has borrowed towels intended for hot tub occupants.  He has helped himself to breakfasts of persons who negligently got up from the table to get coffee.

But Beau has revealed a selfless side recently.  For acts of kindness, I nominate Beau as our Pet of the Year, an honor that has eluded him for the first six years of his life.

What changed?  Beau has accepted responsibility as the babysitter of our new puppy, Gus.  Beau patiently plays with the exuberant puppy.  He is careful not to hurt Gus.  He allows Gus to climb all over him.  He seems to realize that it would not be a fair fight, so he tolerates the puppy taking Beau’s toys.  He even coaches Gus about fetching and pottying outside.  It is heart-warming to watch the two together.

Today, I witnessed something else that warmed my heart and inspired me to write this post.  Besides Beau and Gus, we also have a female Lab, Sadie, who has tried futilely to teach him how to live his life.  She comes when she is called, for example.

Sadie has always been the first to eat.  No matter which bowl I put down first, that one is hers.  Today, Sadie did not go to her bowl.  Beau finished his meal and stood, waiting for Sadie to eat.  I had to lead her to her food.  Sadie is fourteen, almost.  Her eyesight is going, I suppose, but not her appetite.   I was amazed that Beau did not take Sadies’s food.  He just stood and waited for me to lead Sadie to her food bowl and patiently watched her finish her breakfast.

And for that act of respect  and selflessness, I nominate Beau as our Pet of the Year.

playmates

Mortal Frenemies

mortal enemies (2)

Our puppy Gus apparently subscribes to the sentiment behind the immortal words of Will Rogers, “I never met a man I did not like.”

Gus believes that no one has ever met him who will not like him, including our cat, Camo.  Camo deserves credit for being tolerant of the puppy.  Sometimes.

frienemies

 

Growth Progress

Our puppy, Gus, is growing up.  The photo on the left was taken when he was about 8 weeks old.  The photo on the right was just taken now that he is 12 weeks old.  What a difference a month makes.  He has doubled in weight, from 10 to 20 pounds.

Take a look at his feet.  He is growing into them.

Senior Menu

I remember well the day I was offered a senior meal discount at Burger King.

I had been going there regularly for breakfast on the way to work.  I knew exactly what it cost to get a croissanwich and coffee because I was in a rut.  I had my money ready.  The young lady at the counter was new.  She did not know I was a regular customer who knew my menu prices.  She charged me less than expected, less than usual.

To impress her with my honesty, I corrected her and said the  price that I was used to paying.  My what a guy!

The cashier, without any discernible public relations skills, pointed to a sign that said, “Free coffee for seniors with purchase of sandwich.”  She had assumed that I was a senior.  So I asked her the age requirement to be a senior at Burger King.  She told me age 55.  That means she believed that I looked to be 55 years old.

She was wrong.  I was merely 53.  I informed her that I would be paying for my coffee for two more years.

I resisted telling the manager of the incident and insisting on her discharge from employment.  I was benevolent and forgiving.  I even resisted boycotting Burger King.

I continued to patronize the establishment.  They probably noticed my saintly behavior.  They probably had a meeting about it at the regional office because from that day on they allowed me to pay full price.

 

The Cesspool in LaLa Land

They were acting

in Hollywood

that it was okay

But rumors

of the casting couch

have been confirmed,

The powerful

manipulating

the naive

whose ambitions

made them vulnerable.

And romances

among the stars

were not so glamorous

 

Thoughts and Prayers

Lily was a lady at church,

She was blind.

Her husband, Brian, held her arm

As they walked together

To the pew where they sat holding hands.

Many people, when something sad occurs,

Say that their “thoughts and prayers” are with you,

Which is a nice thing to say

Or to write in a Hallmark card,

And most probably mean it

But none more than Lily

Who was a prayer warrior.

When she said she was praying

You better believe it,

And God knew it too,

As she was one of his frequent fliers,

Visiting with Him every day.

In a powerful way,

Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor

MineMe

Beau, pictured on the right, has taken under his tutelage young Gus, pictured on the left.  Gus emulates many aspects of Beau’s behavior.

twins (2)

playmates

Double trouble.  Me and Mini Me.

What were we thinking?

Runaway Garbage Truck

It was a steep hill.  As the garbage truck moved down the street, of course it had to stop every couple of houses as the collectors went into the backyard of each house to empty garbage cans into their carriers to take the garbage back to the truck.  Yes, it was long ago, before the plastic containers on wheels that residents now put on the sidewalk where they can be lifted to be dumped into the truck.  It was a very hard job, with lots of walking and carrying and lifting.  And moving the truck every couple houses.

A childhood memory for me is the day the garbage truck rolled down the street, made a slight turn on the way down, and collided into the detached garage for the last house, the one on the corner, right before the intersection with the busy street, which is a good thing because it likely would have hit one or more cars, hurting or killing someone.  Instead, our neighbor lost his garage.  It was flattened.  The garage was empty.  The garbage truck had no driver or occupants. So no one was hurt despite tremendous property damage.

We heard the crash while eating breakfast.  Fortunately for me, I was wearing my pajamas that looked like a baseball uniform.  Therefore, I went outside with confidence.  No need to put on clothes.  Everyone would think I was wearing a baseball uniform.  As you can imagine, a crowd had gathered.  I was a late arrival to the scene because we lived near the top of the hill.

The people of the neighborhood gawked at the destruction.  We guessed that the brakes of the truck were not properly set.  Those of us who were experts at operating garbage trucks knew the cause.

Then, while I was seemingly fitting into the crowd as one of the cool kids, Mary Perchau ruined it for me.

“Hey,” she exclaimed, “You are wearing pajamas!  Look everybody, Al did not even get dressed.”

Have you read the story about The Emperor’s New Clothes?  I was in a role similar to that of the emperor.

That darn Mary!  I tried to explain that my garment could be used either as sleeping apparel or as sportswear.  Obviously, it looked just like a baseball uniform.  I was not yet old enough for Little League, but I was prepared.

Mary was probably unaware of my destiny.  Perhaps I had not yet told her that my Uncle Luke had been a Major League pitcher for the Cardinals.  She did not understand that ballplayers such as myself did not dress like those merely in the general public, such as Mary herself, who undoubtedly lacked my intimate connection to Major League Baseball.

 

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