Who Do You Love?

My Darling,

    Oh how I adore you.  You understand my needs like no other.
Alas, I am not a morning person. There are those that like to hit the snooze button or cuddle with their bed partner. I am not that woman.

I will never give you reason to be jealous my beloved. Even though I make a quick trip to the loo and let the dog out first, it is you that touches my soul.  It is you that I long to embrace and to give a good morning kiss. You are the reason I get out of bed each morning.

    Any other lover wouldn’t likely tolerate my unbrushed teeth and foul morning breath, but you don’t mind that my appointment with Colgate and Listerine will wait. You graciously accept that I don’t want to talk just yet and you give me sweet silence.

      My daily grind is selected after a bit of thought. If I feel the day may hold adventure I might begin with Dark Magic. A tough day may call for Jet Fuel or No Surrender while if I feel the need to escape I may select Ethiopian or Sumatra.

    We first entered into our relationship when I was a mere 16 and was working 20-30 hours a week after school to save for college. You stuck with me even though back then I only used you to keep my body stimulated and alert. Sorry about that.

    You are the one that stayed true through college, grad school and all the men that passed through my life.  It was you that I could always count on and you never once complained. When I was in need you were never far away.

    The grunting and whirring that erupts from the machine as it gives birth to you is music to my ears and I can hardly wait to hold you in my hands.  First, I inhale you and pull your rising steam and rich aroma into both my nose and mouth. You fill up my senses more than a night in a forest could ever even attempt (Sorry, John Denver).  Sometimes I wrap both of my hands around you and cradle you close to my heart. Oh I love you so!

    Certain others try to change you, they add things; sweeteners, sugar, milk, cream or some kind of powdery crap. They don’t understand your depth and complexity.  I respect you far too much to pollute you, my darling dear. You are perfect for my palate without any qualification or accessories. Screw the latte, frappe, cappuccino crowd! You and I understand each other; we are not wimps or fragile flowers.

    When it comes to you, once is never enough and I trudge a bit more easily back to the kitchen to select my second dose. There you are, waiting for me with patience and robust devotion.

    You and I and know each other well but we like to change things up and keep it hot.  My stash is full of the exotic blends we that meld together.

  I have no stash of bottled water and non-perishable food in case of emergency.   I will remain faithful to you my steamy, hot, aromatic, dark, liquid inamorata. I love, love, love you! My coffee.

Thanks for stopping in. Take a few seconds to tell us what goes into your your morning cup. What other things have become so much a part of your daily rituals that they feel a little bit like family?

Copyright: Suzanne Pogue May, 2019

Thanks to the following who provided photos through unsplash: Mae-mu, Clay Banks, Tyler Nix, Devin Avery, Nathan Dumlao, Mike Kinneally and Danielle Maccines


Beauregard

I am stepping out of the box a little today with a post that is a short fictional story. The inspiration came from a writing assignment given to the members of the Pulaski Writer’s Alliance. We were instructed to write a story based on the posters and signs that might be found on an electrical pole.

While Beauregard is a dog, this post is dedicated to Dixie Darling Davis, a very special Kitty that has gone to wait in heaven for Isabella and their humans Joyce and Jim.

I am Beauregard, I have somehow become separated from my human and I am quite disturbed by this fact. You see he needs me, and even though he is quite intelligent for a human he is still human and he may do something dangerous such as walk around the neighborhood unchaperoned if I don’t get back to him. I’m absolutely sick with worry to the point that I feel new wrinkles forming in my already loose Shar Pei skin.

    Tuesday morning Jerome got the leash out, just like in the good old days when it was Jerome, Beth and me, three peas in a pod. We used to go for walks around the neighborhood and make stops along the way to chat with the other neighbors that were out walking or puttering around in their grass. I still miss Beth but I don’t think she is coming back, Jerome misses her too and he often talks to her as if she were still with us.

    Mrs. Ortiz comes every day but she isn’t like Beth. She cleans and cooks and takes care of Jerome but at night she leaves. They are not in love. Dogs know about that sort of thing.

    It is now Friday and there is no sign of Jerome. He drove the car which has been against the rules even before Beth wouldn’t wake up and was carried out on a narrow bed covered with a sheet.

When we arrived at the gas station Jerome couldn’t remember how to put gas in the car. I tried to tell him but he doesn’t speak dog. A man wearing a blue, orange and yellow Hawaiian shirt helped him figure it out. Jerome told me to come so I followed him into the store but the man behind the counter said, “Your dog can’t come in.” Jerome told me to stay and that is exactly what I did. When Jerome came back out I wagged my tail and and continued to stay because I like being a good dog. I thought he was testing me the way he does sometime before giving me a treat, but then he got in the car and drove away.

    At first I tried barking for help, but as I suspected Jerome isn’t the only human that doesn’t speak dog. It’s very frustrating that I went to all the trouble to learn both English and Spanish yet neither Jerome nor his staff can be troubled to learn even the most basic phrases in dog. As I said, they are only human and I must not be too hasty to judge their lack of linguistics.

    The sun is up and today is going to be cold.  Cars race past where the two streets intersect. Jerome must have sent all these humans out to search for me. I sit patiently by the pole on the corner. I am both hungry and thirsty but I know I must hold my head high and look at the passers by so that they will spot me. I am after all, a bit vertically challenged. Ah yes, here comes a human now, I will be back taking care of Jerome before Ms. Ortiz gets him into his clothes and to the dining room for his eggs, toast and coffee. I spring to my feet and wag my tail in appreciation.

    As the human, (a female) exits her car I dance and smile so that she knows I will not harm her. It would be easier if she spoke dog but, whatever. She walks straight towards me with a paper in one hand and a tool in the other.  She pats me on the head then uses the tool to affix the paper to the pole. Then she turns abruptly on her heal and gets back into her car.

Hey!, wait, I’m right here, I am Beauregard! Aren’t you going to take me to Jerome? She closes the car door and as she pulls back onto the street. I swallow my pride then bark, “Come back!  I am Beauregard and Jerome needs me! Please, I am a good dog, Please!

    After she has gone I look at the sign she posted. It announces that there is yet another yard sale. Seriously, humans are so weird about collecting expensive things and then selling them for a loss. If they would just learn how to understand dog I could really help them with things like economics and finance.

    Then I see it, right there, next to the yard sale sign.  It is a picture of me with the word LOST. I can’t be lost because I have stayed near the gas station all this time. However, I am certain it is me because I am holding my favorite rubber ball, the one Jerome put into my Christmas stocking year before last.  Poor Jerome, he thinks I am the one that is lost.

    I sniff the blend of aroma’s on the pole. Labrador, mutt, poodle and many more. I even get a whiff of boy. I bet that little guy got in big trouble when his parents caught him marking his territory in public.

    Another vehicle stops, it is large,white and shaped like a cube with words on the side. Before I have a chance to read the words two men get out and waste no time coming my way. One has some kind of scary looking tool and the scent they give off is not friendly. My nose itches with their stench and I can’t contain the low growl that simmers deep in my empty belly. The man without the tool calls out, “ Here poochy, poochy” and holds out a stale generic cookie. My fur stands on end and I show my teeth. How dare they insult me!  I know Jerome would not approve of these two clowns. I don’t like leaving my post but I know better than to ignore my instincts. I run behind the store and hide behind a dumpster used by the businesses on the block. New scents fill my nose, spoiled ham and runny sour potato salad along with garbage damp with coffee grounds. I am hungry but not enough to eat the spoiled human food, not yet.

    After waiting a long time I realize how incredibly tired I am so I curl up for a much needed nap. Maybe after some sleep I won’t be so tempted by the rotting ham.  I dream about happy days with Beth and Jerome. When I wake up I an consumed with a greater urgency to find him. I trot down the street and go several blocks until the businesses fade into apartment buildings.  I sniff and sniff but I am not picking up Jerome’s scent.

    A small brown brown girl with kind eyes comes towards me.  She holds out her hand. “Como se llama? she inquires. I am so excited, she must be part of Ms. Ortiz’s litter and she has been sent to help me reunite with Jerome.  I sniff her hand and then give it a small lick. She tastes like beef and cumin with a little cilantro. She rubs my head and I call out, I am Beauregard! She tells me her name is Jacinta. I follow Jacinta to her home where they give me water and tortillas. Not my favorite, but I don’t want to hurt her feelings and they fill my empty belly.

    I wait patiently for them to take me to Jerome but they go to their beds and I know they are going to sleep. They put me outside and tell me to be a good dog. When the door closes I take off on my search. I appreciate their kindness but I must find Jerome.

        After hours of sniffing and trotting down familiar and strange streets I pick up his scent.  I have have been focusing on the scent of my human so much that I just now realize that I am back at the pole where I started my day. I pause to look at some of the other papers. Next to the paper with my picture is a new paper that halfway covers the yard sale paper. The picture is Jerome. The words read Gold Alert and tell anyone that finds Jerome to call 911. I also see the word dementia. That explains why Jerome left without me. It wasn’t a test to see how long I would be a good dog and stay where he said to stay. Jerome forgot me.

    The wind brings his scent stronger and I quickly turn and run around the opposite corner towards the scent of my beloved human.  Jerome! I see him he is lying on the ground a few feet back in the trees. I lick his face and bark. Jerome, Jerome! You must wake up!  Please, please, you need your medicine and you must get out of the cold. Jerome I whimper and lick his face. His skin tastes sweeter than it ever has but it is not warm, he doesn’t move.  I have failed my precious human and I howl in agony until the men in the ambulance come and take both of us away. I can only hope that they are taking us to Beth. Yes, Beth will give us hugs and kisses and everything will again be ok.

Copyright Suzanne Pogue May 2019

Photo appreciation to bahram-bayat-11, japeth-master, charlie-foster, sandy-miller, neobrand and andrea-popa-750 on unsplash.com

The Truth

 I don’t claim to be an artist so go ahead and laugh at the little sketch I have posted.  I am tough like that. I will use it to tell a story that I think you will enjoy and perhaps you will even share it with your children or grandchildren since it teaches or reminds us of something we all need to know.

 Question 1.  What is this thing that I have attempted to draw?  If you answered a sheep or lamb you are correct and just became a prized pupil for you wisdom and willingness to give an answer.  If you said it is a poodle or some other kind of dog I will also count that as correct since, as I already stated, I’m not an artist.

 Now how many legs does this creature have?  Grab a scrap of paper and jot down your answer.  If other family, friends or coworkers are nearby at this time you may ask them also and record their answers just to add to the fun.

 Did you say four?  Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day but this really is not a trick question.  The answer is four.

 Now, look at the next picture.  See where I added an arrow pointing to the appendage over the sheep’s fluffy little butt?  If I call that a leg, how many legs does the sheep have now? Jot down you answer and if you have engaged others in this little exercise ask them as well and record their answers.  Resist having a discussion for the moment, we’ll come back to that in a few minutes.

  Let’s talk about something else for a few minutes.

 If  you enjoy rumors, half truths and false news either raise your hand or shout out Amen!  Imagine the teacher, scanning the room right now looking for hands or listening for exclamations.  No one?

 Some highly honest student might say, ” It depends.”  If the rumor or half truth is about someone we do not like then we might feel a touch glib and savor the nastiness. We may believe that our adversary deserves for the world to know about their shortcomings or crimes.

 Some other less judgmental listeners might choose to neither believe nor disbelieve the rumor and assume a, let’s wait and see attitude.  Maybe you are part of this group and if so, good for you for not jumping to conclusions.

 What if you hear the same information again from someone else the next day.  Perhaps you keep hearing it from various sources. What if some of those sources are people you know and trust?  Perhaps you hear it from your spouse, parent or an esteemed member from your church, maybe your best friend? What if you read it in a newspaper or it is put on social media and/or television by a major news source?

 Imagine that you keep hearing and reading this and you do not hear anyone voicing an opposing opinion?  If everyone you know says it is fact do you accept it as fact?

 Most of you probably see where I am going with this.  I used this same little sketch in years past with third graders to teach a lesson.  Do you want to know how it played out?

 Most of the time the kids, anywhere from 22 to 30 in a class would agree that the drawing was a sheep.  If one or two wanted to argue that it was a poodle they quickly changed their minds when a classmate pointed out that the creature has hooves and dogs do not.

 I would guess that over the years I probably taught this lesson 40-50 times, maybe more.  I never had a child disagree, when I first asked how many legs the sheep had. Every time the answer four was unanimous for the entire class.  After that things sometimes changed a little, but not often.

 When I pointed to the tail and asked, “If I call this a leg, how many legs does the the sheep have now?”  Almost every time the kids would quickly and with great delight answer, “Five!” They felt like my questions were really easy compared to their other third grade questions they did not shy away from answering.  I could tell they were feeling very confident.

 Out of the 40 to 50 times I presented the lesson, 3 to 4 times, a student would continue to say the sheep only had four legs.  At that point I would ask them if they were sure. I never told them they were wrong, instead, I would point to each leg in the sketch and ask everyone to count with me.  “One, two, three, four”, then I would again point at the creature’s poofy appendage just over it’s little butt and I would repeat, “If I call this a leg, how many legs does it have now?”  Almost always the child caved under the pressure and said that the sheep had five legs. If they didn’t I would ask another student to explain why they said five, (Note, I never said five was correct).

 Only twice in all those lessons did I have a student that stuck with saying the sheep only had four legs. Two kids out of approximately 1,250.

 Be honest, what answer did you write down? Did you write 4 or 5?

If you said 3, 6 or any other number I can recommend a good therapist, tutor or both. Many years ago when I taught seventh and eighth grade math my favorite joke (that I could tell at school) was; There are three kinds of people in the world, those that can do math and those that can’t.  If you don’t get it, it will probably hit you ten minutes from now, or if it doesn’t just accept that you are not mathematically gifted.

 The answer is four and the lesson is not about math.  Even if I, as the teacher, call a tail a leg that does not change it.  It is still a tail. If everyone in the class calls it a leg, it is still a tail.  If your mom, dad, favorite news source or the candidate you voted for calls it a leg, it doesn’t change anything.  It is a tail.

 The truth is not determined by popular vote, the number of retweets or even by what your family and friends believe.  W. Clement Stone said, “The truth will always be the truth, regardless of lack of understanding, disbelief, or ignorance.  He’s right.

 The kids loved this lesson and I always asked them to go home and reteach it to their families.  I knew that if they did they would remember it for a much longer period of time. Some years when the kids were 5th graders, their last year in elementary school, I would ask if they had a favorite lesson that I had taught to them during our six years together.  The sheep lesson and the the tail that I tried to call a leg was always mentioned as one they enjoyed and remembered.

 Even now that I am retired, sometimes when I read or hear information that is questionable I remind myself of the lesson and I do my homework to try to dig out the truth.

 Winston Churchill said this, “The truth is inconvertible.  Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, There it is.”

 As always thank you for reading and following.  Share the sheep lesson with someone and please comment so I know how it turns out for you.

Photos provided by yours truly, sam-carter-11916, antoine – dautry -428776 and luke-stackpole-698661 on unsplash.com