Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Wisdom gleaned from this Forest...

There are moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have the feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well. -Nicholas Sparks
 
 
So far, many are the cherished moments collected up here in the sanctity of this God-given place where I now call home. Countless hours have been spent rocking on the front porch, gazing out over the surrounding woods that clothe me in total privacy. The sheer joy of being able to sit out here in my nightgown if I choose, knowing that God and I are alone with no one else to pry, blissfully left alone with my thoughts.  And I do sit and ponder. 

Recently I began to contemplate the smattering of 'wisdom' I have picked up while living here.  Hope you don't mind if I share a few tidbits of my pleasure and pain with ya.

 (1) Canker sores cannot be cured with a homemade remedy of honey mixed with a pulverized ground walnut shell and goat milk soap shavings. I should have listened to my inner voice on this one and made a trip off the mountain for a tube of Abreva.

 (2) Sleeping out in the hammock in the backyard of Bear cabin is not a good idea.  This wisdom came from a hair brained idea I got one night after my sweetheart went to bed and, missing the intense pleasure of solo camping and sleeping under the stars, I thought I would take advantage of that cold- but not miserable-night.
Because I have been known to cause an uproar over past such ideas and not wanting to disturb the better and more rational half of the two of us, I tiptoed around the cabin and gathered up the necessities needed.

An apple in case of a midnight crave; a sleeping bag that is good for forty below; a pillow; my Smith & Wesson; two bottles of water; my (only for rare use) Mickey Mouse footie zip-up-to-the-neck flannel pajamas; and a trusty flashlight.

Turning on the one light in the cabin that would shed just enough brightness out the window to enable me to ably focus should a bear, cougar or some other not so friendly creature decided to join me in my hammock, I stealthily crept out to my bed. As I settled down, a 'peace that passeth all understanding' came over me.

The stars were out of this world and I drifted off thanking God for His handiwork.

I was awakened sometime in the middle of the night to something more alarming than a bear and more painful than the apple I had laid at the top of my pillow now wedged in the middle of my back.  Nature was calling. Loudly. Just as that thought hit, the fact I had on a pair of zip-on head-to-toe footie pajamas ran through me and time was of the essence.



I frantically started unzipping the sleeping bag. It stuck in the seam in my haste. I yanked. It still stuck. Jerking the darn thing again it began unzipping and I literally ripped it down enough to pull myself out. My situation was getting critical.

Now it was a matter of flinging my legs over the side of the deep hammock and trying to bail out. Oh, geez, I don't even want to go there now with how absurd (and timely) that exercise would prove to be. 

Once out though the thought crossed my mind I should try to slip my Crocs on as the bottoms of my feeties would get dirty when they hit the dirty ground and then I would have to cram them all ukky back in my bed. Oh crap! Forget it!

Nearly past that point of no return, I grabbed my Mickey PJ zipper and yanked with everything I had and...too late...ten seconds later I was standing there in soaking wet pajamas.  Oh crap again. Darn it! Now what?

Quickly I started peeling Mickey off my body and just as the pajamas hit the ground and I had pulled them off by the cloth feet, a light switch flicked and the entire mountain lit up like a Christmas tree!
The back door flung open and there HE stood.
But not silently.

"WHAT IN THE HELL ARE YOU DOING OUT HERE?!", he roared as I froze there like a naked women caught in the headlights.  In a voice as small and timid as I could muster...I murmured, "Honey, I am sleeping under the stars."
Not to worry.

Ten minutes and a brief shower later he was warming my half frozen body in his arms whispering over and over, "Linda Gale, what am I going to do with you, what in the world am I going to do?"
I am definitely returning to solo camping under the stars in the woods or on an island at Lake Watauga this summer. The hammock is for the birds who perch on it.

(3) I came to realize winters on the Roan do get deathly cold and slippery at times...as in minus twenty degrees below with wind chill factor cold. The misery of this can be verified by me when climbing the hill to the barn to feed my horse twice daily for weeks on end, pulling myself up with a rope with large knots tied in it every three feet.

I was glad I had thought of this rope idea before the first snow fell. I did not hesitate to remind Tony how clever I was. Alas, he knocked me down a peg by reminding me that even a blind hog finds an acorn on occasion.

This rope, strung between the cabin and Trig's gate, was frozen stiff and very slippery in tandum with the ice caked ground beneath. This bitter cold winter was also verified by Trig when he dared walk out to greet me at the gate several times and I was greeted by a halo of frozen white 2-3 inch solid spikes around his entire mouth. His whiskers had frozen solid!

I determined then to shave those off as soon as the weather permitted. Then I read on the Internet that horses needed these whiskers for various and sundry reasons. Well, I probably need the nose hairs inside my nostrils but I use a nose clipper so my horse will be clean shaven before our Easter gathering up here next week.

(4) I have found that Christians on the Roan shoot their wounded and leave them for dead just as callously as those who live in Bristol, my hometown, and beyond. I guess it's just a human frailty that our Savior had to hang on that wretched Cross for.

(5) Routine pedicures and manicures are no longer a necessary part of my life. Not only not necessary but not desired in this simple life I have embraced. Sure, there are certain times they are needed and I do get a chuckle out of my sweet Vietnamese manicurist when those times present themselves.

When I do rarely walk through his door now he looks carefully at my face and then responds accordingly. If I am smiling, he greets me with, "Oh hullo! Somebody murry! Hooray! You get pletty nails! What collor?" or if I look sad or depressed, "So sorry, sit. Somebody die. Sad. Sit."

(6) Even though winter is my favorite time to be in the hot tub, it isn't necessarily the best time.
I now know that.

Right in the middle of this winter from hell, the snow was pretty heavy on the cover of the hot tub but I was determined I needed to get in those soothing, steaming waters.

My Tony scrapped the snow off, turned the temp up to 105 degrees and we both slid in. He had, of course, scrapped the snow off the steps leading up and into the tub but I failed to remember the black ice on them when I 'slid' out.

The first thing I did remember was Tony pulling me up from the depths after I crashed back into the water. Next... starting to squeal like a girl that I had broken my little toe on my left foot.
And I had.

Perfectly shaped like a minature football and feeling as large, my toe was swollen and very painful for weeks. The most painful of all? Not being able to get on my horse. Bummer. I learned to hate black ice this winter. It is mean spirited.

(7) Another bit of wisdom I've learned that came my way in a tragic way? I nearly killed my beloved horse Trig with colic. He, the first horse I've ever boarded, was given excessive amounts of sweetfeed out of ignorance by the person who was supposed to be his caregiver. God saved him for me. That is a lesson I will never forget. (Please see my prior post The Great Physician and Healer of All.)

 (8) I also learned that the gorgeous, emerald green lush carpet of moss that spreads over the ground and covers the river rocks up here in the summer does not turn brown and die off in the winter like everything else! In fact, that seems to be when moss comes alive! If anything, it is more brillant and beautiful as it creeps and crawls slowly over everything in its path like a reminder that yes, Spring will return in all its glory...just keep the faith.

(9) My favorite bumper sticker on Roan Mountain? Honk If You Love Jesus... Text While Driving If You Want To Meet Him

(10) Lastly, I have learned...no matter what life throws at me, at least I don't have ugly children.

The Great Physician and Healer of All

'Sometimes memories sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks.' -unknown
 
 
I knew the minute I walked up the hill to the barn early that morning something was wrong. Instead of cantering to greet me at the gate, my horse Trig was nowhere in sight. My heart began to pick up the pace immediately.



Pushing though the gate I rushed into the barn and there he stood. I knew my buddy was in big time trouble and I felt the rush of panic. Opening his stall gate and stepping to his side, I noted he was trembling and slightly weaving.

His head was hanging so low his muzzle was nearly touching the ground. He had mucus dripping from his nose as well and his breathing was raspy, too shallow.

All of these symptoms did not scare me independently as my one collective thought...oh dear God, I think my horse is dying!

Tony had taken care of the evening feeding the night before while I fixed dinner and when he returned I asked how it went. He looked concerned, shaking his head saying, "I don't know.

Something’s off.  Trig doesn't seem to be himself. He was lethargic and didn't seem to want to eat. I scratched his head and when I touched his ear he seemed to flinch and pull away. Do horses get inner ear infections?" 

Yikes, I didn't know but I told Tony I thought Trig was a little off his charm at the morning feeding. I would be calling the vet first thing in the morning. I had been meaning to get Trig's teeth floated and I'd go ahead and get him a thorough check up.

Legs trembling, I ran and grabbed his horse blanket and threw it over my beloved horse's back and quickly buckled it. All the while I was murmuring to him that his momma was going to get help. I was alone at the cabin that morning as Tony had left for work and I was terrified. Once again I questioned the wisdom of boarding my own horse.

When I finally bought this horse of my dreams, a Tennessee Walker, I had decided to have a barn built up here behind Bear Cabin and board Trig myself. The fact was I had never boarded one of my horses myself and knew very little about how to go about it.

I had Shirley Mitchell, my dear friend and owner of a Tennessee Walker breeding farm, who had spent a year with me teaching me about owning a Walker. She promised me she would be a mere phone call away should I need her and I had already worn my buddy out regarding that commitment.


 
As Shirley watched Trig and I grow together, I remember the day she told me it had been a long time since she had witnessed it, but my horse and I shared such a close bond that if anyone ever tried to hurt me, she believed he would attack them.

Yes, I had learned a lot...but never how to deal with something like this.
Assuring Trig I would be right back, I ran to the cabin and called the vet. Incoherently, I began to babble in my panic that my horse was dying. HELP!

Trying to calm me, the lady finally extracted from me his symptoms, and then she told me it sounded like Trig was choking on something. I was to keep him calm and not let him go down; she would get a vet there ASAP.

Cell phone in hand I flew back up the hill and on the way up left a message for Tonya Ritchie, my very knowledgeable horse buddy in Elizabethton. As well as I recall that hysterical message left on her voicemail went something like this, “Tonya. HELP! I think Trig is dying.”

I found Trig still standing and I began stroking and talking to him softly while doing my best to ratchet myself down a bit. As he and I stood there for what seemed like an eternity with me pressed up against him to steady him, my handsome, strong horse began to weave uncontrollably. He went down on his side and I simply could not stop it from happening.

He lay there with his legs in a crumpled up position. As I looked at Trig's legs, half crazed I was reminded of a granddaddy longlegs that had dropped accidentally into the hot tub this past summer. Before I could get him and put him on the side of the tub, it was too late.

As I lay the little wilted body on the side, his long dangling legs were crisscrossed over each other in a deadly pose.  As Trig lay there, I tried my best to get him up but it was impossible. Blinded with tears, I finally sat down beside him and lifted his huge head and laid it across my lap.

Several thoughts had already crossed my mind. If this was my child or grandchild and he or she was choking to death I would try to dislodge the matter with the Heimlich maneuver. Here I had a seventeen hundred pound, big boned, 16 hands tall horse on my hands.
 
A search of his mouth and throat was impossible as he had his teeth clinched. Should I get up and get the scissors in his grooming box and thrust the point into his trachea to give him a breathing hole? Where in this long beautiful black neck is his trachea? Could I really do it? SOMEBODY HELP ME!

A frantic follow-up call to the vet’s office from the cell phone in my pocket, letting them know, “MY HORSE IS DOWN! I could not keep him up. His head is in my lap and his eyes are closed; he seems to be barely breathing. WHERE IS THE VET!?” This full-blown panic was met by the response that the vet was just leaving the office which was a good hour away.

To be candid with you...I cannot remember what I said at that point but I don't think it was very lady like. I felt quite sure there was no need for the vet at that juncture; my horse was not going to make it. It had already been nearly an hour since I made my initial call.

Another quick call to Tonya gave me her voice mail again. “He is down, Tonya! He is dying!”  I have never in my life felt so helpless; the pain in my chest was crushing.

Then is when I finally gave up. I simply did not know what else to do.
So I turned my face up to the rafters in that barn and, with tears streaming, cried out audibly to my Great Physician.



"Father God, don't take Trig. You brought him to me Lord, You know You did. Please, don’t take him away from me now. Please.”

Embodied within that prayer was a multitude of realities I did not need to share with my Heavenly Father. He knew and understood it all in the simplicity of my words.

He did very definitely bring Trig into my life. Shirley and I began looking for me a Tennessee Walker months before we found him. But before we began our search, we gave it to God. We wanted the horse God wanted for me in His perfect timing.

As my dear friend and I struck out time and again all over this part of the country checking out various Walkers, the door would shut over and over. We were very calm, very assured and very thankful for God’s guidance. We knew when The HORSE came along, God would reveal and confirm. And He did. That day we went to look at General Trig ‘O Nometry, we had him saddled, rode and the check written, all within an hour.

And even that day I did not realize why God chose this particular horse other than he was perfect for me. It turned out he was also perfect for my husband, Tony. All my life while riding horses, this was the one ‘sport’ I did not share with my partner in life. Tony had a fall from a horse as a teenager and he had a lifelong fear of horses from then on.

But Trig wasn’t just any horse. He was, though spirited enough to give me a lot of enjoyment while riding, a perfect gentleman with his barn behavior around Tony.  Losing his fear, Tony fell in love with Trig as much as I and spent every day with me at the barn sharing that love. 

Yet another huge unknown bonus with this magnificent creature was revealed when Trig was introduced to our small grandchildren. I have never in my life around horses heard of or knew of a horse who had such a nurturing spirit with 'little people'. When the kids are staying up here at the cabins, Trig knocks out every step they take in his zeal to play with and be loved on by them. What an awesome gift from God.

 
After crying out to my Father I sat there with my beloved horse's huge head in my lap as the long minutes passed. He did not move. I then got a text from Tonya. DO NOT LET TRIG ROLL! ON MY WAY!
 
I did not know how far away she was but I continued to look down at the massive black heap lying next to me. And typical me, I figured God had not heard my prayer so I hopelessly thought...My precious Trig, if you are going to die in my arms...the last words you are going to hear are the soothing words you hear from me as I give you your daily massage.

With his eyes still closed I began to murmur softly to my big boy, "Trig, you are so handsome, yes you are. You are so very, very strong. And you are the most wonderful horse in the whole wide world. Yes you are! Everybody says so and it's the truth. You are brave, and so big and smart and sweet. Momma loves you, did you know that?”

As I am murmuring these words, I see Trig's right hoof slightly move at the small pastern. Then I see the right leg begin to slowly stretch out at the knee as it untangled from underneath the left leg on top of it. And then the left leg began to slowly stretch out and both legs began to coordinate. When he had all four legs out in front of him, Trig tried to roll. I yelled out of fear, remembering what Tonya had texted.

Trig immediately came to his feet! I let out a yelp of praise and then, because he was still so wobbly, I slid my shoulder under his neck and let him rest his entire head on me. And there we stood. And stood. And stood.
Again, the wild things that ran through my mind while in dire distress...

I thought about that scene in the original Godfather movie where The Don, Vito Corleone, had the chopped off head of the prized stallion of a movie studio owner deposited in his bed to ‘strongly encourage’ him to cast The Don’s
Godson in a coveted movie role.

I remember thinking ... I know now how much that horse’s head in that bed weighed.  I did not care though how long I had to stand there. I just knew I had to keep my horse quiet and not let him get upset or stressed as the possibility of whatever he may be choking on may get further lodged and cause further distress for him. That idea was petrifying for me.

By this time nearly an hour and twenty minutes had passed since I had made my last emergency call to my vet. Suddenly Trig began to buck up a bit. He took his head off my shoulder and began to take a few timid steps. Then he stepped out a little more firmly in his 10’ X 20’ stall with me right on his tail.

Just about that time my friend Tonya came busting through the barn door like a woman on a mission. I flung myself into her arms, bawling. She gave me a quick hug and took one look at Trig and barked, “Where is Trig’s halter!” Shocked, I pointed to it. “What are you doing”, I asked in a shaky voice. “This horse is going to die of colic if I don’t get him moving! Right now!”, she snapped.  WHAT! But the vet’s office said...

Within a moment Tonya had my horse’s halter and lead rope on and was leading him out of his stall. He walked with some hesitancy but he was moving out. I stood and stared in shock and then starting following them out into the pasture.
I trusted Tonya. But the word COLIC struck tremendous fear in me. I had heard horror stories through the years of riding and boarding my horses. I knew that colic was the number one medical cause of death in horses and I had friends whose horses had died of colic.

My friends, my horse was dying from colic that day, not choking. It can happen that quickly. The vet finally arrived and confirmed Tonya’s diagnosis. And she did what was necessary to my Trig (running a long plastic tube down his throat and into his stomach nearly took me out) and left me with a list of instructions for the next two days.

Do I believe God heard me as I cried out to Him with all my heart to save my Trig? Absolutely yes. He spared the horse He gave to me and my family and I will forever love and be grateful to Him. I also believe He used my dear friend Tonya in a mighty way as well and I owe her a big debt of gratitude.

I want to leave you with this conversation I had with my overbearing beast of an equine this morning after he survived the minus twenty degree temperatures (with wind chill factor)  up here on the Roan this past week.

Trig: Mom, ‘member not long ago when I nearly died from colic ‘cause you and Dad were over feedin’ me too much sweet feed?

Me: Yes, Trig, stop reminding me of that. It still hurts my heart every time I think about it.

Trig: Well, this week you both nearly killed me by freezin’ me to death.

Me: Trig, for heaven’s sake. What do you propose we do about that? We greatly reduced your sweet feed but can hardly do anything about the weather my love.

Trig: I happened to hear through the grapevine there’s a place called the “Sunshine State” and that horses there never have to put up with bull hockey weather like this.

Me: Trig!  Muzzle that mouth of yours, young man! So what are you suggesting?

Trig: Well, shiver me timbers...I thought you’d never ask. I was thinkin’ we could maybe spend the winters there where it’s warm and the springs, summers and falls up here on the mountain. What ‘cha think ‘bout that idea Mom? Huh, huh, what ‘cha think ‘bout that idea?

Me: Trig, you jackass! I think you have this incorrigible habit of being manipulative. Now why don’t you mull over THAT idea!

And I turned on my heels and stomped back down to the cabin.
Let me bottom line it... Tony and I are leaving the first of the week for Citrus County in Beverly Hills, Florida to look at homes in Pine Ridge Equestrian and Golf Estates. I guess we are going to buy Trig a summer place there.
Holy cow. What we won’t do for our kids.

Post Script: Tony and I did leave  that next week for Florida and a Realtor did show us properties in Pine Ridge. Unfortunately, the crash of 2008 had decimated that area and most of the property owners who had lived there with horses had leased out their homes/barns to folks who did not even own horses nor ride and that once stunning complex had badly deteriorated. Frustrated and saddened we returned back to the Roan with the only other alternative we could think of. This winter that spoiled brat of ours will have radiant heaters in his barn to ward off the chill. :-)

Captain Jack's is Where It's At

I finally decided this morning I’d better take a lick at my Christmas decorating, at least getting the front entrance to our property decked out. With gusto I gathered the wreath, my scissors and my…where the heck is my florist wire?
 
Not to worry. That just meant I could make a quick trip down to Captain Jack’s.  Now for those of you who are in the dark, Captain Jack’s is the local gathering hole for hot coffee and gossip.

It is also an awesome place renowned for selling the best broasted chicken this side of heaven as well as an assortment of anything one could get if they are low on it… from farm fresh eggs, rat poisoning, self serve gas to the occasional batch of homemade candy.

I always enjoy going to Jack’s place. I have never met the man himself but I have heard fascinating things about him; he is a legend up here in these mountains.

I do know he must stay, when at the store, behind a door that leads into somewhere mysterious; in reality, I am beginning to believe Jack is a myth.
I have thought on occasion about walking boldly over to that door, rapping loudly and marching in to say hello. I won’t though... because I am a coward.
I will give this to Captain Jack. He is a master at hiring people.

He has the most courteous and kindly staff who, from the first time you come around, will remember your name as well as any tiny detail they can ferret out of ya, and then they build a history of you and greet you like family each and every time you come in. It did not take me long to learn that a pretty, young (and always dreadfully busy) woman named Amber was the anchor 'round there. I heard through the grapevine she is Captain Jack's beloved niece.

When I arrived, the parking lot was filled as usual with cars and pick-up trucks and when entering  the store I saw three hunters in camouflage huddled back behind the window-front cooler that housed such delicacies as logs of bologna, cole slaw and deviled eggs. With typical Roan Mountain courtesy they all greeted me with a hearty "Good mornin' ma'am."

 
Then the guys lapsed back into an animated conversation. They obviously were lamenting the fact a fellow hunter named Jake was not going to be joining them. When the tallest guy in the group asked why, a big burly fella said his wife would not let him. This bit of news was followed by a couple of grunts and one "Naaw!"

With amusement, I envisioned a tiny wife standing up to this macho group of hunter/killers and 'putting her foot down' regarding her man going hunting this day! I moseyed on down the aisle to the back of the store looking for my wire.

Finding it and also picking up some needed thumbtacks and clothespins, I headed to the front of the store to check out, excited to start my decorating.
All of a sudden the door flew open and another hunter rushed in.
"Jake!" "Hey man, we didn’t think you were going to be able to go with us!" "What happened?"

Jake, with a huge grin on his face gushed, "Guys, you are never gonna believe this but after Lilly told me yesterday I couldn’t go with ya’ll huntin’ today, she musta started feelin’ pretty bad about it.
When I woke up this mornin’, she’d fixed me a big skillet of sausage gravy and cat eye biscuits. And then while I was scarfin' that down, she slipped outta the kitchen and went back into the bedroom."

Jake continued with fervor. "Listen, have you guys ever heard of that book 'Fifty Shades of Grey?' Well, she's been readin' it. It must be a book about how to treat your man. So after I finished eatin' I walked into the bedroom where there was scented candles burnin' and rose petals scattered 'round. And listen to this! There laid Lilly on the bed, flat naked with this red feather boa laying crossed her."

The big burly guy, apparently taken aback by what he was hearing, declared,  "My gawd almighty man!" 

Now there I stood well within earshot of this 'fascinating' conversation, in line to pay for my items.  I was really beginning to get uncomfortable as I felt my face turning fifty shades of red. Dear God, help me get my stuff paid for and get me out of here!
 
But Jake continued on in spite of the fact the other guys were beginning to laugh raucously.
"So Lilly then said to me with a sly smile, 'Honey, here's some handcuffs and a rope. I want you to tie me up. What the heck! Well, I mean, what could I say?
So I did and then she said to me in a whisper... now I want you to do whatever you want to do, Jake."

"So, here I am boys, shotgun loaded."


Somebody Hand Me My Driver!

As much as I love living on the Roan, I am willing to leave to go off on an annual golf trip that has become traditional with Grandfather Don, Tony and me. A week of nothing but golf for the three of us is fun, and oh! so interesting/embarrassing/glorious/ and hilarious for me.
 
Grandfather Don, who happens to be my ex-husband and a doting grandfather to five awesome grandchildren - but that's a story for another day- graciously started offering me and Tony a golf trip years ago where he pays for the accommodations, always at a wonderful resort. He, as is his gracious way, always insists that Tony and I take the master bedroom ensuite as he settles into a smaller bedroom/bath.
 
We have taken trips to Crossville, Hilton Head Island, Myrtle Beach and North Carolina over the years. A favorite spot is Banner Elk in the fall when the weather is golf perfect and the leaves are turning many shades of awesome.  From where we stay, the Sugar Mountain Municipal Golf Course is a hop, skip and jump away and we all highly recommend it if you've never golfed there.
 
Now, I will not hesitate to tell you that golfing with these two nitwits can be challenging at times.
 
First let me tell you this; the three of us when on the course play Captain's Choice. We have found, on crowded courses in particular, it moves play along faster and we have always liked the concept of team play.
 
As a rule, Tony and Don tee off first because they both refer to me as 'Saving Grace'. Both of these men have powerful drives. It's like I tell them (often) long and strong is also prone to fairway foibles. I am known for my drive that is usually steady and straight down the fairway.
 
So after my two partners drive and they have screwed up,  they start calling on 'Saving Grace' to, well...save the scorecard. :-) This rule also applies on the putting green. Neither have scruples when it's time to pull me out of their bag.
 
Now I mentioned to you earlier that my trips with these two can be embarrassing? Want an example?
 
Don, Tony,  and I were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers in front of us while playing at a favorite course in Crossville, TN.  Tony fumed, "What's with those guys? We have been waiting for fifteen minutes!" Don chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such inept golf!" I said, "I see the ranger's cart headed toward us. Let me ask him if he knows what’s up." 

 
"Sir, is there a problem with that group ahead of us? They are playing rather slowly, aren't they?" The ranger replied, "Oh, yes. That's a group of blind firemen. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free any time." Don, Tony and I fell silent for a moment. I, being the compassionate one in the group, moaned with remorse. "Oh my goodness! I feel terrible about being so impatient." 
 
Don and Tony then both, almost in unison, declared, "Why can't they play at night?"

 
And then there was the time the three of us had arrived early on the putting green at a course at Hilton Head and Don, seeming a little concerned, said he had received a disturbing call the night before. With a little hesitation he asked if, when we returned back to the Tri-Cities, he could come up to the Roan and stay in Jakes Cabin for a few days.
 
Tony and I immediately responded, of course! He was family and was always welcome and he knew that. But, being the nosy rosy I am, I asked if he was going to start on that novel he needs to write as Jakes is the perfect writer's haven. Nestled deep in the woods with a stream running by; moss growing on her roof (Jakes was named after a woman), a fireplace continually laid waiting on its match, she simply needs someone to come settle in and write a best seller.
 
"No", Don replied. I may need a place to lay low for a couple of days."
 
"Why?", I asked, feeling slightly alarmed.
 
"Well, about a month ago I started seeing a younger woman."
 
I immediately began to get a little more apprehensive. Since my divorce from Don and my family's continued incorporation of him as part of our family as a (still) wonderful grandfather, I had become very fond him in a big brother role with all the protective emotions that sisters have of their brothers. His seeing a 'younger' woman was fine but surely he was not seeing a woman inappropriately young?  Don continued on.
 
"It ended kind of badly last weekend and I am not seeing her anymore."
"Don, how did this relationship end?" I asked with trepidation.
"Well, someone reported me and they came and took my binoculars ways."
Tony and Don both killed over laughing. 
I ran to my golf bag to grab my driver.....to club them both with it!
 
 


 

Don’t Ever Buy a Dog When Lyin’!

I finally decided we needed a watch dog up here at Bear Cabin to hold at bay the Lions and Tigers and Bears. I ran across an ad in the Elizabethton Star and I must say…I was greatly intrigued. The ad was a one liner stating ‘Talking Male Lab Dog for Sale’, followed by a phone number.

Thinking the dog probably barked in some off-beat way (thus the 'talking' talent) and that the grandkids might find this funny, I decided to call the number. If this Lab was a good watch dog, he may be the perfect buy.

Setting up an appointment, I drove until I was in front of a broken down shanty-style house. I knocked on the door and the owner appeared and told me the dog was in the backyard, go take a look.
 

I walk around the house and see a nice looking Labrador retriever sitting there.

“You talk buddy?” I ask him, feeling a little goofy.

“Yep” the Lab replies.

After I recover from the shock of hearing a dog really speak, I say “How in the world did you do that?!”

The Lab looks up and says, “Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so... I told the CIA.

In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country; I was sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running.
 
But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals. I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I'm just retired.”

I was simply blown away. I go back in and asked the owner what he wants for the dog.

“Ten dollars” the guy says.
 
“Ten dollars!” I gasped in disbelief. Why would you let that Lab go so cheap? He speaks fluently and has traveled with the CIA the world over!”
 
“Ya gotta be kiddin', Lady!" "That dog lies through his teeth. Truth be known...he has never been out of that back yard!”