Sunday, December 23, 2007
For those of you who have never been to Arizona, perhaps your impression of the state is a colorless land of sand and cactus. But the beauty of this country is never more spectacular than when the sun sets and turns the mountains into glorious shades of pinks, purples and lavendars. And when the full moon comes up as the suns last golden gleams hit the horizon, Arizona really does herself proud. Tonight was one of those nights. We had just come from a family drive to neighboring Aquilla, then out to the desert to let my brother-in-law walk his hunting dog out to check for quail. As we headed back to town, we watched the full moon rise and the sun set, and had to stop the car for a quick snap. It is times like this that I wish I had my sister's art talent. It is easy to understand why artists flock to this area to paint. I just love to sit and watch the sun go down and the colors stretch across the mountains. Just when you think it could never be more spectacular.....another sun sets in Arizona.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
As a child, one of my favorite Christmas books was "The Littlest Angel". My parents bought me a record with the story read by Loretta Young, and I used to peer over the top of the old 78 record player watching the record turn as I heard her beautiful voice tell the story of the little angel who yearned for the things he left on earth, and who had a box containing things like the collar of a favorite dog. At the end of the story, as the Birth of Christ approached, he had nothing for the Christ Child. Timidly, he offered his box from earth, and that was proclaimed the greatest gift to this baby who would live on earth....and his gift rose until it became the shining star over Bethlehem.
I still love that story, and thought of it this week as my good friends, the Grossers, dealt with the illness and finally death of their beloved Golden Lab, Buddy. His name fit him well. They had adopted him from a shelter, and brought him to their ranch, where he loved to chase their son, Tommy, as he walked, then biked, and later 4-wheeled to his friends. He once visited a neighbor's farm where a hog butchering was in process. Buddy proudly carried home the heavy head of that hog to present to his non-appreciative family.
When my 3 year old grandson would visit the ranch to see my horse Bart, who was boarded there, Buddy was always there to greet with a wagging tail and sloppy tongue. CJ had a lab of his own, so had no problem holding his own around the campfire when Buddy would try to share a marshmallow. CJ had learned the stiff-arm approach to preserving your food around a moocher like Buddy. When Buddy would lay down to relax, CJ was often seen laying down next to him and using Buddy for his pillow.
Buddy was having some lame issues, which may have been caused from some buckshot he picked up on one of his neighborhood visits. He had lived a good life at the Grossers in his 9 years, but as they were Christmas shopping, a call came from Tom that they needed to hurry home....Buddy was having a seizure. They took him to the vet and he had surgery for a twisted gut, and never really recovered. Finally, the difficult decision was made to let their beloved Buddy go.What do you say to friends who are grieving a family member during this holiday time? All I could think of was Buddy, now free of the limp and pain, romping happily through the Heavenly Gates, and seeing a party ahead, trotting up and looking for the food. So I told them to tell Baby Jesus to watch out....Buddy was at his best begging for a treat, and was great at snatching a piece of birthday cake! So as we celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus, just think of the babe laying in the manger with a big yellow lab laying beside him, with big brown eyes watching that baby carefully for any treats that he might drop his way.
My friend, Carol, sent this poem to Tommy. I think of the other precious pets who have passed on this year.....and I think this goes out to their owners, and anyone who has lost one of their wonderful, loving animals in 2007.
The Last Battle
If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep
Then will you do what must be done
For this…the last battle…can’t be won.
You will be sad, I understand
But don’t let grief then stay your hand
For on this day, more than the rest
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn’t want me to suffer so
Take me where my needs they will tend
Only stay with me till the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see
I know in time you will agree
It is kindness you do to me
Although my tail its last has waved
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don’t grieve that it must be you
Who has to decide this thing to do:
We’ve been so close…we two…these years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Growing up in Minnesota, and later as a teacher in the public schools, the blizzard warnings were always watched with great anticipation of a storm strong enough to close the schools. Now I live in Arizona where I no longer have snow days......but learned what can happen when rain can come after months of sunshine. The TV weather forecasters were delirious in their bringing the big news of a pending storm. They must get pretty bored with their 2 minutes of "75 degrees and sunny again" reports....this week they had 10 minute segments!
The rain started about noon, and was just a drizzle until about 9, and as I was getting ready for bed at 10, the winds began to howl and rain came down in sheets. It finally quit about noon today, and the sun returned. But those 2 or 3 inches of rain filled washes that were empty just moments before, and I saw first hand the flash floods that I have been warned about. A lot of riders use the washes, but head immediately for higher ground if it starts to rain. I scoffed at the urgency until I saw it happen this morning. There is no warning....it just goes from dry wash to surging river in moments.
So Bart was blanketed with a rain sheet up in the open barn stall, and Wylee scowled at going outside to potty in the rain. And I had to turn lights on in the house during the day! But all is well, the excitment is over, and 75 sunny degrees will return for the rest of the week. At least I don't have to shovel today!!!!