Cumberland Times-News

Columns

November 2, 2013

Maude needs a rest, no bones about it

Mom couldn’t think of anything to write this week so I tried to be helpful. I suggested a column about bones, and one about sniffing versus licking, and one about the delightful appeal of female dogs compared to that of male dogs. (Even if you’re what Mom calls fixed, whatever that is.)

For some reason, none of them seemed to appeal to her. But finally, she said grumpily, “Okay, if you’re so smart, write your own column,” so here I am.

Hi.

But first I should introduce myself. My name is Rusty, and I have written for you before, but you probably don’t remember me. That’s because Mom takes credit for these columns, just because she is my owner, and I have heard her laugh and accept the praise that is rightfully mine, all the time pretending she is the writer.

Not so. I am the writer and I have the chops to prove it. Well, I would have, but I ate them.

First, I have to tell the world that there are things you want to do — if you’re a dog — and no amount of scolding is going to stop you from doing it. In my case, it’s barking. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t stop myself, for instance, from barking at cats out in the yard. It’s just part of my being a dog, I guess, one of those things I can’t keep to myself. It is my mission in life to bark at cats. Although when I see a cat at the vet’s I am very quiet and polite, inquiring amiably into their well-being. I don’t quite understand that myself, but that’s the way it is.

There are a lot of cats outside because of those disgusting humans (if you’re one of those people, just stop reading me right now!) who get tired of their pets and throw them out of the car into some field to live on their own for a few weeks and then die quietly in a ditch under a cold rain.

I can see these feral cats (as Mom calls them) perfectly from my favorite place up at the bay window with all the pillows in it. Up there, it’s all a doggie paradise; but not so much outside for the cats. Although I do remember two cats that lasted outside for a couple of years, until I almost got to think of them as friends — though still barkable.

Meanwhile, Mom yells at me to stop barking — and I ignore her. Oh, I do love ignoring her. Only when she comes at me with the leash and takes me away from my window, attaching me to a chair on the floor, can she shut me up. I am proud to say I am a dog with endurance, although unfortunately she has more.

Still for a boss she’s not too bad. She tells me she always loved dogs — has had eight of her own, including me. And that’s NOT including the china ones she collected as a child. It seems that when no one in her family could think of anything else, they would buy her a little ceramic dog. I shouldn’t think they would be anywhere near as nice to have around as a real live dog. In other words, me.

She has told me all the names of those eight, and I didn’t even get jealous. They were Spot, (a Christmas present when she was seven), and Jeep, her teenage buddy. Then after she grew up and had children she could use as an excuse to get a dog, here came Blitzen 1, who died of distemper in two weeks, and Ginger, a feisty little hound who lived to be 17. And darling Blitzen 2, a golden retriever who broke her chain and was hit by a car. After that came dear Piper, an English spaniel, who lived to be about 9 and sweet Lexie, a golden retriever-German shepherd mix, who died at about 8. (All those adjectives were supplied by Mom.)

And then she got ME! Took long enough, didn’t it?

You’ve heard it before, I know, but she told me that if I ran out of things to talk about, I could always repeat the story she likes to tell about when she was singing a solo, which I think is something like howling. (I hear her practicing sometimes.) It was down at Centre Street Methodist, where they used to leave the side doors open in the summer, before air conditioning.

One of the members, the story goes, lived in the neighborhood and his dog came searching for him, and came in one of the open doors, and decided to investigate all that strange yelping up front. He went up the stairs into the choir loft and started running among the pews there while Mom kept on singing because there was really nothing else to do. Once he even brushed up against the back of her legs, which she says now was a sensation unlike any other she has ever had while singing a solo.

But she is proud that she kept on singing, although I am sure the congregation was more transfixed by the dog’s tail twinkling above the pews, and didn’t hear a note of it. Finally the dog’s master came up and persuaded the dog to come down, through which Mom just — kept on singing. (It was a long solo.) “What else could I do?” she says again, and I think she has a point.

The best part of it all is that it gave her an unforgettable story to entrance her future readers. (More than once!) And I am beginning to understand the value of a good story. Have I ever told you about the time on a walk when I smelled this adorable little female poodle around the corner, and — yes, Mom, what do you want?

Maude McDaniel is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears on alternate Sundays in the Times-News.

1
Text Only
Columns
  • Peanuts and Cracker Jack beat any foam finger

    Times have changed, and for the better, as this week marks the third year in a row NFL training camps have opened and have not taken center stage in the cities of Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Washington. That, of course, is due to the play of the three baseball teams that inhabit said cities, the Orioles, the Pirates and the Nationals — two of whom hold first place in their respective divisions, with the other one entering play on Wednesday just 2 1/2 games out of first.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big loophole Big loophole

    How ironic — and how sad — that the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority plans a closed executive session to discuss the open meetings law.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Don’t do it. Don’t do it

    Temperatures have been moderate recently but are projected to rise to the upper 80s and low 90s later this week, so we want to remind you: Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • He means well, and this time they spared his life

    Our pal Phil is the only re-enactor certified in writing by both the Lee and Custis families to portray Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee (whose wife was Mary Anna Custis Lee). When he’s in uniform, he generally stops at the bottom of the path that leads to the summit of Little Round Top, salutes Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy and asks permission to join us. (Get it? Generally ... General Lee?) We always return his salute and grant him permission, in part because he’s our friend and also because the real Lee never got to see what it really looks like from up there. (Get it? Grant ... Grant? U.S. Grant? Real Lee ... really? OK. I hear you. That’s enough. Seriouslee.) Phil gets a kick out of being able to sneak up on us while we’re distracted by tourists.

    July 20, 2014

  • It’s hotter here than in D.C. or Baltimore

    At this time of the year, the weather is a frequent subject of conversation, particularly the temperatures. We are now in the “Dog Days,” usually the hottest days of the year. The term comes from our sun appearing to be near the “Dog Star” (Sirius) and the “Little Dog Star” (Procyon). In reality, the sun is now about 94.5 million miles away while Sirius is 8.6 light years away with Procyon at 11 light years distance. Sunlight takes only 507 seconds to reach us, while the two dog stars’ light takes about a decade to travel to our eyes. So our sun is in the same direction (but not distance) as these two bright winter evening stars.

    July 20, 2014

  • Mike Sawyers and his father, Frank Sale of quart-sized Mason jars lagging, merchants claim

    The opening day of Maryland’s squirrel hunting season is Sept. 6 and I am guessing you will be able to drive a lot of miles on the Green Ridge State Forest and see very few vehicles belonging to hunters of the bushytail. It wasn’t always that way. In the early 1960s, when I was a high school student in Cumberland, there was no Interstate 68. What existed was U.S. Route 40 and in the last couple of hours before daylight on the opening day of squirrel season there was an almost unbroken line of tail lights and brake lights between Cumberland and Polish Mountain.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hugo Perez Columnist, son are range finders, but where are .22 shells?

    We feel pretty lucky on this side of the Potomac to have a nice shooting range to utilize for free and within decent driving distance.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Opposition and inclusion understood

    Those of you who have been here before know how I feel about the late great Len Bias, who I will remember foremost as Leonard Bias, the polite, spindly Bambi-eyed kid from Hyattsville’s Northwestern High School, who could throw a dunk through the floor, yet had the most beautiful jump shot I have ever seen.

    July 17, 2014

  • Stopgap

    Kicking the can down the road was one of the things American kids did to pass the time in the old days, particularly if they lived in rural areas where there was little traffic to contend with.

    July 16, 2014

  • Further proof you should never bet on baseball

    Had you known in March that ...

    July 16, 2014