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
  • Restore them Restore them

    There are an estimated 47,000 deceased veterans whose remains are unidentified and unclaimed throughout the U.S. A group of senators and congressmen hope to do something to
    bring these men and women some dignity after death.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Happy Easter

    For the world’s more than 2 billion Christians, Easter is the day that defines their faith.
    The exact date of Christ’s resurrection is unknown, and even the precise locations of his crucifixion and burial are uncertain. This hasn’t stopped some people from saying they know the answer to these questions and others from trying to find out for themselves, or simply arguing about it.
     

    April 20, 2014

  • Odds are good that you didn’t know this

    Odds or Probabilities fascinate many people. There is a special website called www.BookOfOdds.com and an accompanying location on Facebook at /BookofOdds .This website lists 400,000 odds. Three of the people who are involved in this media display have coauthored a book, “The Book of Odds” that presents some of key odds, drawing from polls and statistics published in journals. The authors are A. Shapiro, L.F. Campbell and R. Wright. This paperback was published this year by Harper Collins with ISBN 978-0-06-206085-3.

    April 20, 2014

  • Trivial questions you don’t have to answer

    Every so often in this life, my mind, all on its own, generates questions that have no real answers. So I have decided to pass them on to you. I’m tired of them. If you come up with any answers, let me know. Remember when TV jealously guarded the time zone before 9 p.m. for wholesome shows that children could watch. My gosh, how many years ago was that? It seems like another world nowadays, when you can see murders, torture and rape, or those implied, every hour on the hour, somewhere on your public screen. It might be comforting then, to remember that most children nowadays are glued to their little machines with whole different worlds on them, that they can access all day long. Except that in these different worlds they also can view murders, torture and rape on demand.

    April 20, 2014

  • Think it’s not a small world? You’re wrong

    Yes, you read that right in the paper a couple of weeks ago. I covered a wedding as a newspaper reporter. I’ve retired from doing regular stories because my primary duties lie elsewhere, and I don’t have the time or mental energy for it. But I agreed to do it for a couple of reasons, one of which goes back more than 40 years. The former proprietor of The Famous North End Tavern told me about a wedding that was to take place at the Lions Center for Rehabilitation and Extended Care, where his wife works.

    April 20, 2014

  • No Bambi for you, Mrs. Doe

    Some people want so badly for deer birth control to work that they actually think it will, even on wild populations.
    I wish I had a couple bridges to sell.
    A week ago on the Outdoors page we ran the deer there do what deer  everywhere do. They eat the easiest food available such as gardens and ornamental plantings. They walk in front of moving cars. They give ticks and  parasites a place to live.

    April 19, 2014

  • We concur We concur

    We’re certain that Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, echoes what many Americans feel about the complexity of filing income tax returns.
    When he filed his return, Rumsfeld sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Library week

    Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
    movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.

    April 13, 2014

  • Terps need to move and move quickly

    The good news is Maryland will never have to play another basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Goodbye, good riddance, sayonara, smell ya, no more of you, stay classy, we won’t let the door hit us on the way out.
    Until we see you in court.

    April 13, 2014

  • Sunday hunting Sunday hunting

    Legislation that increases hunting oppportunities on Sundays in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties has passed the Maryland General Assembly and reached the governor’s desk.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo