NIKE AND MR. BOWERMAN


I hadn’t gone far, not quite two miles, with not even a good sweat in the cool, foggy morning air. I was high, running easily, playing my usual mind game of imagining the cheering crowds at the imaginary finish line, me breaking the tape and then flopping down on the wet grass to celebrate the usual morning run. For several years we had run around the Lake chasing the resident geese out of the way and dodging dogs and people. Dr. Advice was beside me as usual, playing the role of the race announcer and critiquing my unusual running style, when suddenly without warning I found myself on the ground writhing in pain. The culprit was a board sticking up a bare half inch and my moving toe had connected with it. As it turned out, it was the finish of that race and all others to come when an x-ray showed a broken tendon in my right foot. The prognosis was not good. The loose half of the tendon had windowshaded up my leg never to be seen again.

runners 2

Early in the 1960’s a friend called me one morning about 6 a.m. and asked if I wanted to go for a run. Unaccustomed as I was to even being awake at 6 a.m. and not knowing anyone who ran in public unless going to a fire, I foolishly said OK. What began as a slow jog alongside the side of the road for the two of us, began a daily habit which soon had us switched to the high school track at 5:30 and included several other men and women. We all felt so superior and healthy.

All this time unbeknownst to us, Bill Bowerman, the great track and field coach at the University of Oregon, was working on an idea to make better running shoes for his runners. In 1970 he famously used his wife’s waffle iron to stamp the rubber sole of a running shoe which then became the iconic look of running shoes today. Together with Phil Knight, a business man in Oregon and graduate of the University of Oregon. they began the company known as Nike. My daughter then working in the sports department at the University of Washington sent me one of the first Nike shoes.

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It has been eight years since my accident, and I still miss those early morning runs while waiting for the world to wake up. Today I use a cane which amuses me sometimes because when my friend and I were very young we decided that if we ever grew old we would carry a really classy cane with a silver handle to discourage all intruders. My cane is not classy and there have been no intruders that a Jack Russell couldn’t discourage, but it works. One of my grandsons promised me he would pick me up one in London someday, but he never did. I found a shop in Nottinghill which had some lovely canes, but I didn’t need one then so I moved on.

I have discovered that if you can no longer manage things the way you would like, you can make adjustments. Sort of like that old saw about one door opening etc. My walker with its storage basket/seat is perfect for carrying things room to room, or stashing tools when gardening and purchases at the store. I can recommend one to everyone. My daughter was quite impressed when I used it to bring dishes to the table.

I began feeling sorry for myself because I couldn’t go for a walk, so we bought a wheelchair. The first day we used it to walk around “our” Lake, the wind came up and Dr. Advice caught a cold and was in bed for four days! The chair stayed vacant in the garage for a month or so as a catch-all storage, but it’s there when needed. I met a nice lady at the store where we bought it who had purchased the same model for her husband, but when she took him out for a spin the first time, it tipped over and out he went. No idea if she ever got the hang of it. I guess I was lucky that I didn’t tip over.

The whole point of life is making the best of it. I’m glad I danced, rode horses, climbed mountains and ran. It’s time to move over and let the rabble run past.

WHERE SHEEP MAY SAFELY GRAZE


sheep grasmere

Life is much different in the countryside. City and suburbanites usually know what to expect, good or bad. If the lights don’t work, one calls an electrician, plumbers are available to fix a leaky faucet, and if the neighbor’s fence falls into your geraniums, get a carpenter. The craftsmen who operate in the country may be out fishing or hunting, or merely lollygagging around, and will come when it suits them. In the meantime, phone calls are made at a pay phone, laundry is done at the launderette, and you gain an education in patience.

We were made aware of this phenomenon in the first week we took over ownership of the old farmhouse in Kirkland, Washington years ago. It sat amongst ancient trees within walking distance of Lake Washington, with no neighbors within shouting distance. There was a small orchard with pears, apples and cherries and a patch of large juicy raspberries ready to pick. Nearly were enough blackberries to keep the freezer filled with pies for those willing to pick them.

To say it needed some loving care and a good push into the twentieth century would be an understatement, but we were game and filled with the enthusiasm of stupidity. It sat alongside a shady lane at whose culmination were the two homes of an old Swedish man who adored us, and his daughter who seemed to wish we would move back to California. Mr. R. watched with interest while we labored day after day, lending us tools, giving advice and sharing rhubarb wine. He was a retired homebuilder who miraculously had built our small house for himself and his late wife, and was filled with stories of the families who had subsequently lived in it. We felt very fortunate.

We had managed to find a roofer, who was not only available immediately, but expected us to help him. It was apparent that “us” meant “me” as Dr. Advice set off for Alaska, Montana and points North, leaving me on the roof with an old gentleman in his 70’s to teach me where to place the shingles. At our first dinner party I had not planned ahead and neglected to take into account the small size of the dining area, so our next project was a new family room.

Looking back it seems as if we tackled all the projects at the same time, until I began to feel like the heroine of Betty MacDonald’s “The Egg and I”. I wrote page after page to family back home describing in detail each unfamiliar endeavor. I stopped holding the various craftsmen in awe as we learned each trade by virtue of do-it-yourself books.

The acre and a half we sat on began taking shape, with sprinkler systems, ornamentals such as rhododendron, azalea and camellias tucked in amongst the trees, and the whole enclosed by a circular driveway and white fencing.

It also became evident that we needed a large building to be used as entertainment, extra sleeping quarters for the many curious friends who thought we were out of our minds, and not least, studio space for my sculpture and teaching.

So with no prior experience and the grace God gives to idiots, we built a barn with sleeping loft ready to hold eight intrepid visitors willing to climb a ladder for access, which passed all inspections the City sent us, all within about 200 feet from the house.

Life was good until the neighbors horses got loose one night and discovered our new lawn. We woke that morning to find them munching happily on the ripe pears in the orchard, with broken sprinkler pipes poking up, and with no name tags on any of them.

During the five years we lived there, Dr. Advice spent two weeks of every month in Alaska and points north and east, giving me additional experience in ditch digging and containing the small creek which often overflowed, and the various projects of home repair. A whole new market opened up in the Seattle area for my work, and my North Coast education began in earnest.

North Coast ShamanHaida Shaman” sculpture by kayti sweetland rasmussen

My work day in the barn usually began about four in the afternoon and lasted until midnight. I have always preferred working at night when things are quiet with no interruptions, the creative juices seems to flow more easily when alone with no thoughts but your own. The young today would say it’s “zoning out”.

One late night when sleep overtook me, I put away my tools, turned out the lights and locked the barn door, ready to walk back to the house in darkness like the 9th plague of Egypt. I remember the silence and the darkness with no moon. Suddenly I heard a very loud belch as from a nearby man. I ran the rest of the way to the safety of the house and of the two dogs whom I had neglected to take to the barn with me. Needless to say there was no sleep for me that night.

Early in the morning I took the dogs and went outside, where looking at the meadow behind the house I saw a small flock of sheep which had moved in during the night. Speaking with Mr. R. later in the day, I learned that these cute fuzzy creatures DO burp—rudely and loudly.

The lambing once over, the sheep moved out and several horses moved into the corral behind the barn, and in due time, we moved back home to California to a new grandson.

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LIFE IS A JOURNEY


Road Leading Nowhere Road Leading Nowhere

Far From Somewhere Far From Somewhere

Road Leading Somewhere Road Leading Somewhere

Grow old along with me,The best is yet to be. The last of life for which the first has saved. Robert Browning

watercolor paintings by kayti sweetland Rasmussen

Sam and Panda2 Dr. Advice and Panda

Paintings like the words in our stories have a strong basis in fact. A picture, a word, a gesture prompts our creative spirit to get busy. For eleven years our Old English Sheepdog Panda accompanied Dr. Advice on his morning walk, meandering ahead and then coming back to see why he was so slow. Panda knew every bush and squirrel hole on the trail as well as the regular everyday walkers and their dogs. She was the queen of the trail and kept herself aloof from the other dogs after a quick nod of her head.

Panda came to us as a rescue dog having been caught in a flood which nearly took the life of her master, a horse trainer of some repute in Northern California. Disaster had struck in the middle of the night, and about 100 horses had to be quickly removed from the premises and onto higher ground. Our grandson, a horseman living in the area, was among those who came to help in the rescue of the horses. The rancher unfortunately had a heart attack after the disaster and was unable to keep his animals.

Panda, along with several other farm dogs were given to willing people after the action. Our grandson thought Panda would be a grand roommate for Penny our dachshund, and when we came to meet her, she jumped into our pickup truck and made herself comfortable and at home. Once in the truck, there was no coaxing her out again. In her eyes she had found her forever home. I always thought she looked like the Nana dog in Peter Pan whose job it was to look after the children, like Nana, Panda had decided to take care of us.

Old English Sheepdogs are pretty laid back and not prone to sudden activity. On one morning walk late in her life, while walking the same old trail she knew by heart, she became separated from Dr. Advice, and he began driving home before he missed her. Luckily when he realized his mistake and went back, he found her waiting patiently where he had mislaid her.

Unlike the Border Collie, whom we see herding sheep by crouching and staring them down, the Old English is a drover who will push from behind for miles and miles if necessary. Our morning walks always went from about two miles to sometimes 14 miles, and Panda was always trotting along beside us looking for a stray rabbit or two, unaware of who they were dealing with.

Our dear pet friends always know when it’s time to say goodbye, even if it seems too soon for us, and eleven years after Panda came to live with us, that day arrived. Now her quiet, gentle ghost smiles on Charlie, the exuberant Jack Russell Terrier who now demands two walks a day, and Dr. Advice has learned that it is to his advantage to oblige.

Life is a journey, and the companions we take along with us, and the people we meet along our way keep it all new, exciting and worthwhile.

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VISION SEEKERS


Vision Seeker
“The Vision Seeker” Molded Plastic, leather, fur, feathers and beadwork by KSR

We are all vision seekers. We seek knowledge of the past; hope for the future. The Native American may have gone into a secret place to commune with the unknown. We go into the world of books.

My passion for books came into being at such an early age that I presumed that it was an intrinsic quality, much like having brown hair. There were no books to read at my grandmother’s house, save her Bible and church literature. When my father was not at sea, his reading matter was far more interesting to me. He was an inveterate reader of fast-paced detective stories, as well as complicated naval manuals.

On the occasions in which I lived with Auntie and Uncle Phil, I headed immediately into their small library, which held all the old books from their daughter’s childhood, as well as reading material of interest to themselves. A small sunroom led off from the library, which formed a secret hiding place for me to sit with a book or two. The two of them had two comfortable chairs in the middle of the living room with table and lamp in between, where they spent their evenings reading before retiring at eight p.m. sharp.

My favorite places in the world are book stores, both new and used. As an only child I lost myself in the life and times of other people and places. Since we moved frequently at the Navy’s behest, books were a familiar and loved escape. The direction to the local library always came shortly after we settled into the new place, and a library card of your own was a treasured possession.

The delight of used bookstores came much later. Sadly there aren’t a lot of them around anymore, and the large chain bookstores seem to have disappeared with the advent of e-books. Fortunately internet shopping and the Half Price Book chain give us access to the world of books both old and new. There is something quite special about rummaging about in an old book store. There is always the possibility of finding something rare, or of finding a long-searched for book you can’t live without.

Both San Francisco and Seattle once had large old bookstores which carried not only books but old maps and prints. Dr. Advice once felt terribly proud to bring me a complete set of Dickens as a birthday gift. My granddaughter, an inveterate reader, shares my love of books, and I know I can always find something in an old bookstore she will love as well as I do.

There are so many people reading on their Kindle or computer these days, and Amazon and other companies make it simple for them to download a book immediately. Personally I would miss the feel and the smell of a book, plus the pleasure of passing it along to someone else. Browsing through friend’s homes to see what they keep on their bookshelves becomes another way to know them. I have one friend who scours thrift stores for old cookbooks. My home bookshelves are crowded with all sorts of books and we have shelves in every room in the house including bookshelves in the garage. A friend of my daughter looked around once and asked shat we did with all of them. “We read them of course”, I said, and them read the very good ones over again.

Dr. Advice had a knee replacement a decade ago, and since he only read the newspaper sports news up until that time, I wondered what he would do with all the long hours long during his recovery. The TV offerings can’t keep people fascinated for very long. I suggested he take up reading, and now he is never without a book in his hand. Louie Lamour, the author of many Western style books, was self-educated, and it is said he always had a book in his pocket. I have a number of friends I know to be great readers, and a normal greeting would be “What are you reading?”

Part of the excitement of an old bookstore is the smell which seems to have been absorbed into the woodwork. A combination of old paper, ink, and probably a lot of dust. A friend once stood in the doorway of my living room and announced that she “loved the smell” of it. It is a room we seldom use, and has the usual wall overflowing bookshelves. I asked her if she thought it might be like the smell of an old bookstore, and she went through a “Eureka!” moment before saying “That’s it!”

OATMEAL SCHMOATMEAL


oatmeal2
Oh I know you expect me to launch into a glowing account on the virtues of a bowl of hot oatmeal. Well, forget it. I hate oatmeal.

You can tell me how life-enhancing oatmeal is, and how warm and satisfied it keeps you until it’s time for the lunch hour hamburger fix. Acclaim its time-tested qualities, and how your grandmother dolled it up with brown sugar, raisins or bananas, and how it reminds you of being young and carefree again.

Well, I’m not convinced. I still don’t like it.

Dr. Advice loves oatmeal. He loads it up with bananas, prunes, raisins and brown sugar. I’m sure it is all the fruit which makes him think it is so good. Or maybe it is because it is one of the few things he has mastered as a culinary novice. What’s wrong with bacon and eggs?

A long time ago, before I became a charter member of Oatmeal Haters of America, I touted the appeal of Scottish oats to my friend Corrine. They come in a nice time box you can use for storing something else after you enjoy the oats, and besides they take up far less room than the large boxes of flakes. I even bought her a can as an introductory present as a dinner guest, and took it as a gift instead of the same old bottle of wine.

She returned them the next day unconvinced and told me she still hated it.

In addition to the taste and texture, the cleanup is gummy and if it happens to boil over, forget it. They were passing out free samples of the stuff at a local grocery store recently, so I bought some thinking perhaps it had improved over time.

It had not. It still tastes like wallpaper paste. I’ll take a “proper English breakfast” consisting of eggs, bacon or ham, hashed brown potatoes, and a nice hot cup of tea thank you.

ALAS! WE ARE NOT ALIKE


Tootling Through the Poppies
“Tootling Through The Poppies” KSR

In my last post I wrote about the virtues of an orderly life. I neglected to point out that it is not possible unless one is the sole resident of his/her teepee. As long as there are two minds at work in the same household, there will be two ways to achieve a sense of order.

I become obsessed with the necessity of correct time. Dr. Advice and I began collecting antique clocks many years ago. Offhand I don’t know how many we gathered into the fold from various places. My favorite, which I would defend with my honor, is a wonderfully heavy, ornate Ansonia mantel clock which once belonged to the parents of my great-uncle Phil. It is probably not of great value except to me, as the most important things in our lives are important. From my infancy, and through my high school years, I lived often with Auntie and Uncle Phil, and in a state of perpetual homesick insomnia, I counted the chimes of this old clock. It became a symbol of never-changing stability. Life would go on as long as the venerable timepiece let us know what time it was. It has lived proudly on the mantel in my living room since I inherited it. How clever of someone to sense my attachment. Though others are more beautiful, valuable or unique, the old Ansonia are the chimes I listen for in the night.

I set all the clocks by what the computer assures us is the correct time and adjust them each to the minute. It is a veritable symphony in the middle of the night listening to the time being pealed out. If one is off by a minute or two, I scramble around in the morning trying to find which one has forsaken me. I am joyous beyond belief when they all announce the hour at the same time. Fortunately this is my only ridiculous mania, and I am fairly normal in all other respects.

I think most people go through stages of being Mr/Mrs Clean. After the preliminary Spring clean-up, we relax, watch a few ball games, read the seed catalogues in hope of planting a few bulbs and flowers, and suddenly, when we need to entertain a few friends, we find the house is a mess again. I have always felt that if a spoon, vase or pen were placed in a certain spot, that is where it should be replaced after use. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

During and after my most recent period of being unwell, Dr. Advice became housekeeper, cook and care-giver. I have to say that between one and ten, and beginning on the low end, he has gone way up the scale. However, now that I have reintroduced myself to my kitchen, I spend a good deal of time looking for things which have been moved to unlikely spots. What is logical for him today, may be another place tomorrow. But what joy to suddenly come upon something which has gone missing for a month or two! It does bring excitement into a mundane but necessary part of the house.

I went out to Dr. Advice’s workshop and saw that all his garden tools were lined up like soldiers on the wall and his workbench was perfectly clear. It was a very pleasant surprise. Before the family came for Christmas dinner, I was prompted to clear out my painting studio. It is in a room where I also do my ironing. Oh I know what you are thinking—who does ironing any more? Well another obsession of mine is cloth napkins, and cloth napkins need starch and ironing. Sadly, the ironing basket is full right now.

As I looked around, I also saw several paintings half-finished, a great jumble of paint brushes, Christmas wrapping paper and ribbons to be disposed of, boxes of various painting media. I forgive myself for the delay in completing these things because it is cold in that room this year, and I DO know where everything is in case I need it. I keep an old sweater of my father’s draped on my chair, but somehow isn’t enough this winter. All good excuses for when Dr. Advice decides he is more organized than I. We are not alike, but neither are apples and oranges, and they are both delicious.

A DAILY ROUTINE


Noah's Ark

“NOAH AND HIS ARK” Terra Cotta sculpture by kayti sweetland Rasmussen

Order is good–most of the time it helps us find our shoes easily among an array of other pairs. (Think of the early morning confusion with Noah and the boys trying to get dressed while the Ark is tossing about in a discontented sea.)

But if we stick too much to the same order and pattern we lose. We lose the opportunity to discover new paths and new ways of doing things. Sometimes the break in order is not of our own choice and at times it’s forced as when you lose a job. Often it’s a blessing in disguise. It’s an opportunity to explore and discover what remained hidden in the old path.

That said, I am a firm believer that a daily routine should be a preferred way to go. Children benefit, husbands benefit, and even dogs benefit from a comfortable expected way of life. It’s the sudden glitches, potholes and difference of opinion which give onto a less satisfactory lifestyle. However, some people such as Dr. Advice, thrive on these glitches, and as the old saying goes he “makes lemonade out of lemons”. As I have perhaps mentioned before, he is a communicator. (Ronald Reagan was a no-show in comparison! ) The good doctor calmly faces the antagonist, and chats for an hour or two and problem solved. Charlie on the other hand, is still a work in progress.

charlie relaxing

As Jack Russell Terriers go, Charlie is fairly typical. Noah would not have welcomed one onto his boat, since they are great disruptors, and Noah’s planned sense of order would have suffered. JRT’s are like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. Charlie’s brother Bodee, who is 6 months older (don’t ask) is his counterpart, although Charlie at seven years is showing signs of sensible old age. On the other hand, he has his own sense of order. He expects a walk at 3:30 p.m. and dinner upon his return, he not only expects, but demands a blanket over him at night, not that it is so cold, but it has become routine.

But if we, like Charlie stick to the same old routine day after day, are we missing out on something new and exciting? It may be like eating the same old oatmeal day after day. Perhaps we need to throw on a little more brown sugar and blueberries, or possibly even change the menu. Who knows where it will lead. Just put your shoes in the same place every night.

AT HOME IN THE LITTLE DIOMEDES


051

“Inuit Mother and Baby” watercolor by kayti sweetland Rasmussen

Returning from a trip to Nome, Alaska some years ago, Dr. Advice brought back two black and white photographs which had been taken in 1913; one of a handsome young man bundled into his furs, and another of his wife, lovingly cuddling her baby in the hood of her fur parka. They were of an Inuit family living in the Little Diomedes, a group of islands off the Seward Peninsula in Alaska. These Little Diomedes Inuit are actually Danish citizens, and speak not only English, but Danish, French, Russian and various other languages. I found them so appealing that I did sculptures and paintings of both of them.
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Sitting in our sunny garden this morning with a latte and watching a small hummingbird perform an acrobatic flip on the feeder, I couldn’t help but feel all warm and fuzzy about living here in this moderate Mediterranean-type climate. The snow has never to my knowledge, buried this house, nor prevented me from walking to a grocery store if I could.

Yet for some reason, I also thought of the large group of people who live far north in the Arctic, and who somehow live just as satisfying a life; marrying, raising a family and who have repeated this cycle for a millennium.

Nevertheless, I’m not trading places. I like it just fine right here, and when our excuse for winter weather arrives, I will turn the furnace up a notch and make another latte while I challenge Dr. Advice to another game of gin rummy.

I DON’T REMEMBER


I’ve been forgetting things for years–at least since my late forties. I remember distinctly telling a friend that I was losing words. I didn’t think of it as an indication of advancing age, but as a major catastrophe, since I was always good at words. She smugly passed it off as of no interest to her. I made a mental note to cross her off my Christmas card list.

First it was names, then things I was forgetting. I had just become a grandmother for the first time, so I wondered if that had something to do with it. We had recently moved back home to California, and I was helping Dr. Advice remodel an older home, while teaching at both our local college and at the City Recreation Department, when I found myself pointing and referring to things at each place as “You know, that thing over there.”

When this first happened, I did what everyone does, I scrolled through my mental alphabet trying to hit a familiar letter. In fact, I did this very thing today when trying to remember the name of a woman who had been a girlfriend of a late friend of ours whom I just saw last weekend a large gathering. I remembered that she had had long red hair (it’s grey now) that she used to toss around like a mane. But when faced with trying to remember her name I drew a blank. So I just smiled broadly and exclaimed how glad I was to see her again. Today, while both Dr. Advice and I were deep into the Wall Street Journal, I blurted out “Linda!” My good husband gave me a look which said I had clearly slipped over the brink.

It is a well-known fact that presidents, CEO’s and other ordinary people often sit beside someone with a better memory that theirs and surreptitiously ask the name of the person speaking to them.

I have learned not to get too excited about these things, so I just drop the thought and move on to something else I will probably forget before finally remembering it. I used to think that eventually the correct word would come to me, but now I realize that some things are hopelessly gone forever and that the new things don’t stick. There is a frozen blackberry cobbler which is made by some company I just can’t bring to mind. I know it is put out by a local restaurant, and it is a common enough name, but I’ll be darned if I can keep it in my mind. Each time I discover it, I swear I will always remember, and so I repeat if over a to myself a few times to make sure, but the next time I want to buy it–it’s gone again.

I once knew a woman who couldn’t remember her sister’s name when she went introduce her in a wedding reception line. I even remember her name; it was Adele. She moved away forty years ago. When I gave my first solo performance at my voice teacher’s home, while standing in front of an enormous grand piano, with audience three feet in front of me, I froze, and remembered nothing. Standing beside my handsome groom over 66 years ago in front of an Episcopalian priest, I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to answer, so I so I began to quietly sob.

All this makes me feel sad and a bit wistful, but now mostly it makes me feel old. Is it another symptom besides the physical? I don’t know the answers and if I did, I’ve probably forgotten them. But one thing I do remember is the friend to whom I confessed my word loss forty years ago, who while not a victim of Alzheimer’s, can’t remember a darn thing either!

OUTWITTING HENRY


crows 2 I knew life was going all too smoothly around here. When the last invasion of feathered rats departed, I thought life would return to normal. We again claimed the garden as our own; a peaceful co-existence with the birds and the bees. And then Henry appeared out of nowhere.

He came silently, treading gently on the red brick patio, gazing unhurriedly from front and then side to side as he made his way to the bird bath which is centered amongst pink pelargoniums just reaching full summer bloom.

I had to admit that his glossy black feathers looked like someone had polished him up with some carnauba wax, and he was making the most of it. He actually strutted across the yard with a smug and arrogant look on his face. When he had assured himself that all was safe and he was alone, he flew up and jumped into the bird bath. He drank and bathed and generally looked pretty cute. So I named him Henry. It seemed fitting. Rather like Henry VII; he wanted it so he took it.

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The next day while watering the pots, I began to fill the bird bath, only to see it all slimy and fogged up. When I called Dr. Advice to take a look, he told me that Henry washes his food in it. Well, that’s OK I thought. In fact it’s rather nice to know that we have such a persnickety visitor, as long as he gets his food elsewhere.

That was Monday. By Tuesday he was bringing large hunks of bread over to wash, and I could see this might be the ruination of my cute little bird bath. On Wednesday I discovered several small offerings he had brought me submerged in the murky depths. There were several small pieces of walnut shell, a marble, and a large shiny screw. On Thursday, he decided to throw a party, and several of the black freeloaders showed up for dinner. Well, you know how fast a party can get out of hand when the parents aren’t at home.

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Up until this time Charlie, our Jack Russell Terrorist, had not roused himself enough to notice the new visitors. However, when they all landed up on the roof and began a loud drumming session, Charlie went berserk. There are not too many things louder or more insistent than a Jack Russell in full pursuit of prey. The sound and the fury is unimaginable. The crow population was in grave danger.

Temptations of dog cookies will do no good in a case like this. Threats of kennel imprisonment are neither heard nor obeyed when the hunt is on.

Again Dr. Advice calmly came to our rescue, solving the situation quickly and without the angst Charlie and I were putting into it. He simply went out and emptied the bird bath. Problem solved, and Henry and his loud partying pals have moved on for the time being.

Charlie has resumed his usual position, stretched out in relaxed comfort on an old Indian blanket, head on pillow, but eyes open, ever alert for trouble.