Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving Memories...

The holiday season is upon us yet again.  In a few days we will be sitting with our families devouring turkey, dressing, and pumpkin pie until we pass out.  I absolutely love this time of year!  I love the fall season and the coming weeks following Thanksgiving full of Christmas decorations and music.  It always makes me think of holidays past and memories of family gatherings.  None are Norman Rockwell worthy, however, (unless Rockwell had a comic strip I didn't know about) but beautiful just the same. 

I saw a cartoon once that read, "Thanksgiving, bringing out the best in family dysfunction since 1863."  Ha!!  That is perfect!  Does that mean I have bad memories of Thanksgiving past?  Absolutely not!  I have wonderful memories, wonderful, hilarious memories.  Growing up, Dad would always go hunting early that morning while Mom prepared dinner.  My brother and I would watch the Macy's Thanksgiving parade and stay out of the way.  That was our job.  My Dad would return around lunchtime with my grandparents and uncle to have dinner.  This was always exciting because that was the only time they came to our house.  My uncle would usually have had a little to drink before arriving so he was just a bit tipsy.  We didn't mind though because these were the times he would get on the floor with us and play and laugh at all of our never ending stories.  I thought I was hilarious when I talked with him.  Sober or not he was always kind, but when he was drinking, I became a comedian.  We would sit down to dinner and Dad would say grace, then the devouring began.  Papaw could not hear a thing which drove Mamaw insane!  "What was that?"  "HE SAID IT'S SUPPOSED TO SNOW THIS WEEKEND! He can't hear himself fart,"  she would say annoyed.  My brother and I would giggle at them because it was certainly giggle-worthy.  My uncle would giggle too which made us laugh even more.  Mamaw would continue without notice and observe my Papaw again, "Wipe your mouth."  "What?"  "WIPE YOUR MOUTH!  Good lord you are deaf."  By this time my uncle is giggling again and we are snorting cranberry sauce out of our noses.  It may sound odd to everyone else but to me, it was great.  I still laugh when I think of it.  After dinner, we would sit around and listen to the adults talk and hear the latest gossip from "back home," as my parents called it.  I never knew who was who and how they were related to me but the stories were still interesting nonetheless.  I loved to listen to Mamaw tell a tale and then laugh her big, infectious laugh.  It was a beautiful laugh that I can still hear in my mind.  Oh how I miss that lovely laugh.  Those were the days.

Time passed and so did family.  My uncle and grandparents have passed on and now it is my brother and I driving to see Granny and Papaw with our families.  The kids steal the show with their antics and funny sayings.  My brother listens to his niece and nephew's endless stories with the same interest that my uncle listened to ours (wishing he had a little to drink too I'm guessing).  I do miss the antics of my grandparent's yearly tiffs.  All couples relate differently, they had their ways that some may find strange.  Strange or not it was certainly entertaining.  Occasionally, my brother and I will share a memory at the table and begin laughing hysterically and once again snort cranberry sauce out our noses.  Mom and Dad just look at us like aliens and wonder how they brought such strange people into this world and at least there is still hope with the grandchildren.  Oh how I love Thanksgiving!

So what will I be thankful for as I sit around the family table this Thanksgiving?  Wow there is so much it is hard to list everything... But one thing is for sure, I will be thankful for family and for the beautiful dysfunction that carved such wonderful memories that are still as clear in my mind today as they were 30 years ago.  Happy Thanksgiving!  Enjoy the beautiful dysfunction!   

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pets, pets, PETS!!

We have so many pets.  So, so many...  Don't get me wrong, I do like them and in some cases I love them.  I am not, however, Jack Hanna.  I do not find the same joy in pet ownership as some do.  When I started this excursion, I had 1 dog, 1 cat, 1 guinea pig; it was like a version of Noah's Ark, a representation of every species.  But then my daughter developed into an animal lover and then I married an animal lover, so now we have expanded.  Over the years, we have had 3 dogs, 2 cats, 2 guinea pigs, 2 rabbits, 1 fish, and 1 ferret.  Whew!  That is a lot of poop.  We now have 2 dogs, Rex and Daisy, 2 cats, Pip and Tiger, 1 guinea pig, Coco, and 1 ferret, Gypsy.  Still a lot of poop.  My job has fallen on poop patrol.  This may be why I am less excited about the growth of our furry family.  My daughter and husband feed them so they are both the favorites of all the animals.  Me?  I am guessing that as they watch me scoop, wipe, and clean up their fecal gifts, they are thinking to themselves, "Look at that weirdo messing with our poop, how strange."  I am so under-appreciated.

I do enjoy all of their funny personalities.  Tiger the cat is the owner.  I say that because that is the attitude he emits, "All of you 4 legged members?  I own you.  All of you 2 legged members?  I own you too."  Tiger perches atop the back of the couch and surveys his domain.  It's good to be king.  Daisy the dog is always happy, and I mean ALWAYS.  She greets everyone as though she has not seen them for ages, even if it is just for a couple of minutes, "You're home!  Oh thank God you are home!  I missed you!  I thought you were gone forever!  I love you!  Love me!  I need to lick your face!  I missed you!"  She is one of those dogs that actually smiles.  I love it when a dog smiles, makes them almost human.  Adorable!  Dogs love so unconditionally.  As my husband likes to say, "Lock your wife and your dog in the trunk of a car for two hours and then open it up and see who is happy to see you."  Yeah, it would be the dog, but I don't suggest he test that. 

I find it amazing how pet ownership has changed since when I was growing up.  When I was a kid, if you decided to get the family a dog it was a simple process.  Pick out dog.  Build doghouse.  Buy food and bowls.  Take to vet once a year.  Love.  Pretty simple, don't you think?  Not anymore!  Now we are no longer pet owners but pet parents.  Need a toy or food bowl for Fido?  There are now whole department stores for that.  You can take your pet for a day of pampering at the spa.  Really?  I want to go for a day of pampering at the spa...all I get is poop duty.  You no longer just go and pick out a collar by color, this is now serious business.  Your posh puppy deserves more than just that nylon boredom from Wal-Mart.  What kind of pet parent are you??  I have to be real here folks.  I have yet to see a dog throwing a temper tantrum because the collar given to them was not a Coach.  Let me give you a little insight here...DOGS...DON'T...CARE!!  They love you!!  Period.  They do not love you more because you take them to the spa, or give them designer collars, or dress them in the latest fashion.  They love you because that is what they do.  Take them for walks, feed them well, let them sit on your lap and rub their furry little bellies and they will love you.  And no matter how much money you spend; you will never, ever, be able to out-love them.  Never.

Maybe I led a sheltered life, I'm not sure.  I have seen a huge increase in dog breeds.  I have always been partial to the "mutt" myself and highly recommend your local shelter for your next pet.  Some, however, love that pure breed.  It used to be, when my Chihuahua mated with your Yorkshire Terrier, there was going to be a neighborly feud because I have now "ruined" your precious Fifi.  These days, you now have a Chorkie!  My favorite is the Dachshund/Yorkshire Terrier combination...the Dorkie!  I am waiting for the day that the Dorkie is allowed in the Westminster Dog Show.  What a glorious day!  Can you imagine? "We will now be seeing the toy breeds.  Here you see Mr. Pickles a registered Dorkie.  My what a fine specimen of Dork he is!"  I promise I will have a party that day...pretzels, cake, Chex mix...mark it on your calendars.  One type of breed that I just cannot wrap my head around are the hairless breeds.  Shiver!  My daughter wants one of those Chinese Crested hairless dogs.  I just do not understand.  One of the great things about having a dog is snuggling up to that soft, warm fur.  If I wanted to snuggle up to something bald and bristly, I would snuggle up to my husband's butt!  And have you seen those bald cats??  They look like that creepy little guy from "Lord of the Rings" remember him, "My precioussssssssss."  Yikes!!  It is an ever-changing world folks.  Indeed.

I have to admit that these pets do add to our lives: companionship, unconditional love, a constant friend.  There is never a dull moment around here, that is for sure.  And maybe, just maybe, I love them a little more than I let on.  I mean really, I spend every day cleaning their poop.  I wouldn't do that for just ANYBODY...