Monthly Archives: July 2018


Now I don’t have the best of hearing, but the world seems inundated with noise of all kinds nowadays.    First the alarm clock blasts us awake in the morning telling us another busy day has begun.  I will have to admit, I very rarely wake to an alarm clock any more since I am retired. David sets his alarm, which I hardly ever hear, and goes to work early.   But back in the days of school and a business and working, the alarm clock woke me every day.

Doing the laundry is no longer a silent job.  Just opening the washer lid sets off a dinging telling you the lid is up.  Then, when the wash load is completed, there is another ding to remind you that you put clothes in the washer.  Same goes for the dryer.  Open the door and there is a ding.  Clothes dry, ding again.

Driving a car use to be pretty easy.  You got in the car, turned on the lights if needed and drove.  Now the car warns you your door is open, your seatbelt is not on and if you left your lights on before getting out there is a loud ping-ping-ping that won’t let up until you turn off the lights. If you forget and leave your keys in the ignition, there is another warning sound that is so irritating, you can’t get the keys out fast enough.  And I’m sure many of you have heard the check engine ding that may or may not be warning you about something.   David ignored that ding for years in his truck and has never had any trouble.  A tire low, ding again.  Gone are the days when you were responsible for checking the pressure in your tires or remembering to turn off the lights or take out the key.

Have you listened to any news on tv lately?  What’s with the steady beat behind the reporting?  It seems the news cannot be reported any longer unless there is music or drum beats going on in the background. Sometimes it’s so loud, it’s hard to hear the reporters.  Same with movies and television shows.  The background music is so intrusive, it drowns out the voices you are trying to hear.  I read once that the makers of movies thought the loud music would make it more of an experience for the viewer, drawing them in.  It makes me want to leave.  Sometimes the music is so loud in the movie theater I have to cover my years. Is there an insidious effort to make us all deaf or deafer than we already are?    I also have been noticing a subliminal sound of a telephone ring in the background of some things I am watching.  David doesn’t hear it, but I have heard it clearly several time.  I am not going nuts.

Loud music in passing cars.   We sit on our porch quite frequently and a car will go by with the bass playing so loudly, I fear for the occupants inside.  When I can feel the beat in my chest from a car passing my house, it must be a tad too loud.

Trains.  I love trains.   I have lived by train tracks for almost my entire married life and enjoy seeing the trains go by.  But lately, it seems the train whistles have become much louder and longer in duration.   I wonder about the engineers who really lay on the horn and keep it going from one crossing to the next.   Why is it necessary for them to keep the horns going after they have crossed the track?     It’s a noise that is causing some problems in my city because there are more trains going through than ever before.  The city fathers are trying to find a solution, but I don’t think they will do anything with the crossing by my house as we are too far out of town, even though we are considered in city limits.

Dogs barking. Okay. They are my dogs.   Some day I will have to tape Molly when a train goes by.  She is louder than the train, if possible. It’s almost like she is enjoying the howling and will continue it long after the train has passed.  She doesn’t do it when I am outside with her.  I am sure the train whistle hurts her ears, but she should be getting use to them.

Talking heads on tv.  They are just noise.  Who are these people that others take them seriously and listen to them?   Watch one show there is one view. Watch another there is an opposing view and the more controversial the topic, the louder the voices get and they shout over each other.  Noise.  I find myself turning them off more and more.

Cellphones.  David and I rarely use our cellphones except for long distance calls and we do take it with us on trips in case we have car trouble.  But I see people with cellphones on continually, whether playing games or scrolling through pictures or checking Facebook or twitter.  Kids wear earplugs in their ears continuously listening to the latest music.  People turning on and turning out everywhere.  It’s not noise, but it’s another distraction from real life. I notice even in church people are sitting there scrolling through their cellphones and I know they are not all reading the Bible!  And sometimes a cellphone will ring right in the middle of the sermon. Noise.   Distraction.  We have become a nation of watchers, not doers.  Many people aren’t in the moment anymore.  If it’s not on their cellphone, it’s not life for them.

I’m as bad as the next one. I have to have background noise on most of the time whether it’s the tv or radio.  Lots of times I’m not even really listening.  Noise.    I must make a concerted effort to turn off the tv and radio and listen to the silence for a while.  I don’t know how anyone is creative anymore with sound blaring constantly all around them.  Some of the best inventions have happened when people were bored and were sitting quietly, thinking.

I hope I don’t sound like a curmudgeon.   Yesterday probably wasn’t any better than today, but it sure seems like it’s a lot noisier today.  Who listens to the birds singing or the patter of rain on the roof or the wind blowing through the trees?  If it all isn’t done with background music many probably won’t listen.    Noise. How has it affected you today?

Knee Deep in Summer

Holy moly.   July 4th has already come and past and we are knee deep in Summer and it is speeding toward Autumn.     I don’t even feel like we celebrated the fourth even though we had a picnic and pool party and we saw fireworks from our back porch for a week.  One evening the fireworks were every bit as good as our city puts on every year and we didn’t have to listen to the awful music they play during their fireworks.   Someone had a lot of fireworks because they were exploding for days before the fourth and days afterward. Belle and Molly did not like it much.  I was pretty much over fireworks by the fourth, too.

I did manage to make some patriotic looking sugar cookies. My grandkids love these.




It was a spur of the moment thing which is pretty much how I roll anymore.

David and I celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary on the 7th.  Fifty years!  How can that be?  We have gone through a lot together in those fifty years.   Joys, sorrows, tragedies, accidents, blessings and more.  I wouldn’t want to live it all over again, but it’s been a very interesting fifty years.  We have had a lot of fun too and gotten to travel a lot and since we both love to travel, it’s been great.    I think about starting all over again and I think, “Nope, don’t want to go there.”   I look to the future and I know what my eternity holds so it’s all good.  There will probably be more good times as well as bad times. In fact, my sister- in -law, my oldest brother’s wife, just passed away this morning.   She has lived without Jack for several years so I can imagine the reunion in Heaven today.    She was one of the last few people who remembered me when I was a kid.  She married my brother when I was five or six years old.    I use to spend time at their house when I was a kid and play with their next door neighbor’s kids.  Carroll was always so nice to me.  I will miss her, but I look forward to seeing her again one day.

Anyway, David and I celebrated our fiftieth by going to West Baden Springs in southern Indiana.  In the early part of last century some businessman got the idea to build a big hotel surrounding the mineral springs that were there.  People would come from all over to drink the water and bathe.     The hotel was many things during the century.  It was a hospital,  a Jesuit school,  soldiers were housed there during one of the wars.  The Jesuits blocked up all the Springs. The hotel fell into disrepair.  Then several years ago, someone decided to resurrect the building once more and bring it back to the grandeur of its heyday.    My son-in-law’s place of business provided all the new carpet throughout the hotel and repaired much of the tile that was damaged or missing.  Here are a few pictures of the hotel now.



Wish I had brought my swimsuit.


Wish I looked like this in a swimsuit!


The carpets were beautiful.



I never could get a full picture of the hotel. It is huge and very beautiful. This picture does not do it justice at all.


This was in the atrium, a huge room with sofas and chairs where you could sit and look at all the beauty.


This was a balcony looking over the atrium.



Statues all around the atrium.




There was a billiard room where you could play billiards.


At one time they had shoeshine men and men would sit on this marble stand and get their shoes shined.


The halls to the rooms were luxurious.


There were flower gardens everywhere. It was so beautiful outside.


At one time there was a barbershop in the hotel.


These are some of the dishes they used in the restaurant and for room service back in the day.


Some of the commemorative plates they sold.


Big, wide porches you could sit on and watch the world go by.  I didn’t get to do this. Must go back.


Fountains on the vast lawn.


These lights lined the drive.

Now David and I are more Best Western and Comfort Inn kind of travelers. We don’t stay in luxury hotels, well, not ever.   But this was our fiftieth anniversary and we splurged for a wonderful night at a wonderful place and we are so glad we did.




When we got in our room there were flowers on the table and I thought, “How nice of the hotel to have flowers in the room.”  Then I saw another vase of flowers and thought, “Wow, they really go overboard here.”   I lay down on the bed and David said, “Aren’t you going to look at the flowers?”  And I said, “I looked at them, aren’t they pretty?”  And then David said, “Aren’t you going to read the card?”  and I said, “There’s a card?”  Then  I read the card and realized David had had flowers sent to the room. Oh, my.  Then I read a card next to the other flowers that read “Happy Anniversary” and we both thought they were from the hotel.   Then I found a card behind those flowers and discovered the second vase of flowers were from our children so I called our oldest son to thank him and he asked us if we liked the chocolate covered cherries and I said we hadn’t gotten any.  He said there were supposed to be twenty-five flowers in the vase and twenty-five chocolate covered cherries for David in the room.  Hmmmm.

We left to do some exploring around the hotel and when we got back to our room there was a plate with twenty-five chocolate covered cherries waiting.   I think our son did some calling.


That same day we went to an elephant ranch.  Yes, elephants right smack dab in the middle of the country in southern Indiana.  These are rescue elephants who spend their Summers in Indiana and their Winters in Florida.   I was so excited about getting up close and personal with them.  While we waited our turn to see the elephants we looked at the other animals in the petting zoo they had there.




Mama kangaroo.


Baby kangaroo.


A tortoise who really wanted out of his cage.


There were giraffes. This one was slobbering so badly and throwing his slobber several feet from his pen.   I stood waaay back from this guy.  Or girl.  I don’t know.


Giraffes sure do have a pretty coat.

And my all time favorite was there at the petting zoo.






A chicken who didn’t seem all that thrilled about being caged with the goats.

Finally our time came to get on the bus to ride to where the elephants were and this is the funny part.  The elephants were probably a block away from where we were. We could have walked there just as easily.  We laughed about that.


We all sat on bleachers while a man told us all about elephants.  He takes care of these elephants both in Indiana and Florida and use to take care of elephants in India.  He knew all about elephants.  They are such majestic creatures.


What kind of people kill these animals just for their ivory tusks?  It’s terrible.   Don’t buy anything made with ivory.


These creatures are extremely intelligent and once they have met you, they will never forget you. I tried to be sure one of the elephants got to know me. I hope my image is imprinted on her mind forever.     It was so amazing to be in the same room with three of these wonderful animals.    I got to pet them and they have very thick, stiff hairs on their bodies.    I told the lady she was blessed to get to work with elephants every day and she said it gave her great joy.

When evening came we sat in the atrium at the hotel and listened to sixties and seventies music played by these guys.


They were really good. They sang the Everly Brothers’ song, “Dream” and David and I sang along with them.   Made me feel like I was a teen-ager again.  Ha.

At the end of the day we were really tired and went to our room where this very comfortable bed awaited us.


And should I have needed to call someone from the bathroom, there was a phone nearby!


We had a suite and I had to walk through two rooms to get to the bathroom.  I was hoping I wouldn’t get lost during the night.

I don’t usually sleep well the first night in a new bed, but David and I both fell fast asleep and slept all night.   In fact, when I went to take a shower and came back to the room, David had fallen asleep already.  So much for romance!  Haha.

And when we checked out the following morning, someone had paid for our room.  Wow.  What a wonderful anniversary we had.

Here’s to anniversaries and grand hotels. Bye.









Oliver The Miracle Dog Part 2


Day 8

  Oliver looked like half the dog he use to be.  He had lost a lot of weight.  He slept restlessly because he knew the coyotes were nearby.  What did they want?   Pull on the chain until exhaustion set in.  Once again that night the owl hooted in the tree above him.  It sounded like a death knell in the quiet woods.

Day 9

  It was a day of reckoning.   The coyotes had found Oliver.  There were two of them, a male and a female.  Both were thin from lack of food.  They had been hunting for days for something to eat.  They saw in Oliver a chance for a good meal. They had dealt with dogs before and knew they could be dangerous, but this one looked weak and tired with not much fight in him.   Should they try for a kill?  They lay in the forest, waiting patiently for their chance.  Oliver knew they  were there, but he could not see them.  His heart raced.    He could not go to sleep, but waited for the attack.

Day 10

   Oliver knew the coyotes meant him harm.  For the first time in his life he felt real fear.  The coyotes drew nearer and nearer, crawling stealthily toward him.  Closer and closer they came.  Oliver stood up on his three good legs and pulled on the chain.  He didn’t know it, but the chain was rusty and had been weakened as he pulled against it.  He lunged and lunged. The coyotes stepped back  With all the strength he could muster he growled a warning growl.  As fierce a growl as he had ever growled.  Oliver had never growled in his life.   He showed his sharp teeth. His eyes glittered.   He was not going down without a fight.  The coyotes were patient.  They could wait. Night fell.  A strange stillness fell over the forest.

Day 11

  It was them or him.  Oliver knew by instinct that he was in for the fight of his life.  Oliver was not a fighter.  He was a sweet, patient and loving dog.  But today called for a new Oliver.  A warrior dog.  His very life depended on it.  The coyotes came in for the kill, circling him, snapping their sharp, little teeth.  Growling growls Oliver had never heard before.


Two against one.  Oliver lunged at them snarling and snapping his teeth.  He grabbed one of the coyotes by the nape of its neck, shook it hard and threw it from him.  It got shakily back on its feet and slunk off into the forest.  The other coyote, the female, followed its mate.  They knew they had met a dangerous dog.  They would have to find a less aggressive prey for their next meal.   Oliver didn’t know it, but he had saved his life that night.

  Oliver lay down with his head on his paws watching the coyotes leave.  Would they be back?  He didn’t know, but he did know he hadn’t much fight left in him.   He was so tired, scared and hungry.   And the thirst.  It could not get worse.  Or could it?   The night came and the owl hooted. This time Oliver welcomed the company.

Day 12

    Oliver was so tired and hungry.  He just lay all day.  He could do nothing else.  It was a beautiful Winter’s day.  Was he going to die all alone in the forest?  Would his buddies get a new dog to replace him?

  High above in the clear, blue sky turkey vultures were circling.


One stretched its wings wide, sailing on the wind, catching the updrafts  as it searched below for carrion.  It’s beady eyes looked back and forth over the landscape for a dead animal to eat.   Suddenly, it spied something next to a tree below.   Lower and lower it floated toward the ground until it reached a treetop.  It landed on a tree limb directly above Oliver.  It sat there staring for a long time at the seemingly dead animal below it.  Believing it had a meal ahead, it flew to the ground and moved closer.


  Suddenly, the animal came to life.  Oliver awoke and saw the big bird next to him and he rose tremulously on his three legs.  The leg in the trap just hung limply and useless.  The vulture looked at him with interest.  Oliver found his voice and let out a series of barks that startled the bird and sent it flying back up into the branches to safety.   This obviously was not a dead animal and not his next meal.  Flapping his wings,  he flew away up into the air with the other vultures  still searching and searching for another dead animal.

 Oliver sighed and lay back down wondering if this horror would ever end.

Day 13

  Oliver awoke strangely rested and with a new sense of courage he had never felt before.  He had thwarted the coyotes’ attack.  He had chased a big bird away. He felt like he could do anything. Now he must get free.  He knew his buddies were waiting for him.  He just knew it. He wanted to see them so badly.

  He rose on his three good legs, the fourth dangling uselessly, held fast by the wicked trap.  He began to pull and pull.  He pulled all morning, stopping only for little rests.   He panted, but there was no moisture left in his mouth. If he did not get water soon, he would surely die.  One more time, he gave a mighty pull and suddenly, freedom!   The chain around the tree had finally broken.  But Oliver could not walk.  He would have to crawl. So, he did.

Day 14

  Oliver had crawled all night.  It was slow moving through the forest.  Crawl, try to walk a bit, then crawl again.  He didn’t know whether he was headed home, but he kept moving.   He crawled all day.  He came upon a creek where he got the first drink of water he had had in days.  Oliver drank the cool, fresh water and felt invigorated.   It tasted so good.  Best water he had ever drunk.  He lay there enjoying the Winter sun upon his back, but he knew he must keep moving and find safety because the forest is a dangerous place for a wounded animal.  He crawled some more until he saw a road. He knew humans traveled these roads.  His buddies traveled them all the time.  He crawled as close as he could to it and collapsed.  He lay there quietly waiting.

  A woman was driving on this particular road that day, singing along with some music on her car radio. Enjoying the perfect Winter day.   Then she saw what appeared to be a large animal laying beside the road.  Was it a deer.  Deer were hit by cars quite often in this part of the country and were seen alongside the roads regularly.   She slowed her car and looked down at the animal. It was a dog!   An emaciated, dirty, dog with a badly matted coat and there was a trap on one of its legs.  She got out of her car.  Was it breathing?   She walked slowly toward  Oliver and he lifted his head weakly.   Yes!  It was alive and she began to cry at the condition of the poor dog.   She called 911 and they contacted animal control who came and they tried getting the trap off Oliver’s leg, but it was so strong they were unable to get it off him.  They had to find his owners.  Oliver had ID on him and they quickly found his buddies on the big hill.

  When his buddies saw Oliver they were so glad to see him, but were shocked at his condition.  Mama buddy called Papa buddy who took Oliver to the veterinarian where Oliver’s leg had to be amputated.   The vet was very unhappy about this because she had seen other animals in her office who had been caught in traps. Just a few days before Oliver, she had had to remove the toes of a Great Horned Owl who had been caught in a trap.

   In a few days, Oliver was back home with his family.   Laying on his warm bed with food in his stomach, he could almost forget the ordeal he had gone through, but not quite because some things startled him now that never startled him before.  Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is possible even with a dog.  He still had to learn to walk.

  And he did.

The End

   Trapping is one of the cruelest ways of hunting animals.  Even at that, the trapper is supposed to check his traps every few days.  This particular trapper had not checked his traps for at least fourteen days and probably longer, leaving a poor, defenseless dog to suffer for days and lose a leg.   Stop all trapping.

Oliver the Miracle Dog Part I

This story is based on what happened to our daughter’s dog, Oliver.  I have taken literary license with some of it, but a lot of it really happened.  This is illustrated by my grandson, Tristan, who is an aspiring artist.  He is also one of the “little buddies” mentioned in the story.


Oliver, a beautiful Golden Retriever, lived at the top of a tall hill with his buddies, the Larsons, his goofy son, Farley and Lily, the mother of Farley.  They were a wonderful Golden Retriever family.

It was a wonder life.  Eating, sleeping, running after thrown balls, exploring the forest all around.  There were head rubs and playing with his little buddies as they rode their bicycles in the driveway or played in their hideout in the woods.

One cold Winter’s day Oliver awoke and went to the door to be let outside.  Now Oliver was a roaming dog.  At one time he disappeared on one of the coldest nights of the year and didn’t return home until the following morning, no worse for wear.  It had worried his buddies greatly.  Big buddy had called for him for a long time. He heard him, but the smells of the forest were too enticing.

This particular day he lifted his nose into the air and grew giddy with the wonderful odors that wafted on the breezes.  “I must see where all these smells are coming from,”  he thought to himself.   So off he bounded.

Oliver ran quickly on his four sturdy legs, his tail like a plume, stuck in the air.  There was a squirrel smell.   The squirrel had not been there for a long while.  Move on.  There a possum smell.  Not much to Oliver’s taste, but playing with a possum as it played dead was great fun.

Then Oliver smelled coyote.  These were ones with whom he did not want to cross paths.

Deeper into the forest Oliver ran, nose to the ground.  Suddenly, he saw movement.   A rabbit!   Off Oliver went chasing the rabbit among the trees until the rabbit reached his home in the ground and popped inside.  Oliver sniffed around the hole and would have dug around it if the ground had not been frozen solid.   “Hmm,”  Oliver thought to himself.  “I’m hungry, must go home.”  But which way was home?

The day was coming to an end.  Oliver had been in the forest all day. His buddies would be home fixing supper and doing homework around the kitchen table while the dogs would be eating their final meal of the day and settling down for the night.  The sun was lowering in the sky  Oliver ran and ran, so full of life and happiness just being alive when suddenly, SNAP!  He felt a great pain in his back leg as a coyote trap snapped its ugly jaws around it.  He yipped in pain, trying to jerk away from the trap.  But the trap was attached to a chain that was wound around a tree.  Whoever had set this trap meant to keep his prey right there.

Again and again Oliver pulled and could not get free.  Blood gushed from the gruesome wound.  The sun went down.  It was cold.  Oliver was all alone.  He whined and moaned.  The pain was great, but nobody could hear him or knew where he was.  The pain was almost too much to bear.

Day 2

   Oliver had managed to sleep a bit through the night, but the pain and his hunger would not let him sleep very long.  He also was beginning to feel a terrible thirst.

   All that day he pulled and pulled to try to get away from the trap, but it just held on tighter.  The pain was so great.  Where were his buddies?   All that long day Oliver felt sad and lonely and scared.  it was cold and night came again and the forest was quiet all around except for the rustling of the night creatures and the birds who were settling in for the night.


  Day 3

  Another long night for Oliver.  He had heard an owl hooting in the tree above him.  A sad, lonely sound to Oliver.  He missed his buddies. He missed his soft bed and the warm house.  Most of all he missed his food and a cold drink of water.  He spent part of the day trying to pull free, to no avail.  He lay panting and feeling very sad.

Day 4

  Snow fell gently on Oliver as he lay with his nose on his forelegs.  A tear fell from the corner of his eye.  He had been forgotten.   He didn’t realize his buddies were looking for him and calling his name into the forest, but Oliver had traveled so far from his home, he could not hear them.  He only felt the pain of the trap on his leg. He pulled and pulled on it.  His beautiful golden coat had become dirty and stuck through with dead leaves and twigs.  Night came.   Nobody came to save him.

Day 5

  Oliver felt dizzy and sick.  Where was he?  Why wasn’t he in his nice, warm bed?  Where were his two little buddies who lay on top of him and scratched his ears?   He slept and dreamed of playing with Lily and Farley in the yard with his buddies all around.   Would he never see them again?  Pull on the trap chain again and again, but it remained securely wrapped around the tree.  Night time and danger was lurking.

  That Night Oliver heard strange noises in the forest.  He smelled smells that worried him.  He must get free.  Pull harder.  Lunging and jumping with every bit of strength he had.  The chain moved a bit, but still was attached to the tree.  He did not want to give up.  His buddies were waiting

Day 6

   Oliver was so tired from the last night’s exertions.  He felt so helpless.  Suddenly a squirrel came close to him and sniffed Oliver.  Seeming to know it had nothing to fear from the sad looking dog, the squirrel proceeded to gnaw on a nut it had just dug up from a hole where it had hidden it in the Autumn.  Oliver just lay there and watched it listlessly.  “I’d bite you in two if I could get to you,” he thought about the cheeky squirrel.  It made him angry.  “If only,”  he thought.   Oliver was in that poor, thin, starving dog somewhere.  He was so cold, hungry and thirsty.  Why was he here?  Did no one love him anymore?

Day 7

    A day of rest from pulling on the chain.  By this time Oliver had grown use to the pain.  His leg was growing numb. If it  wasn’t attended to soon, gangrene would set in. Luckily, Oliver knew nothing about gangrene.  All he knew was that he wanted the trap off his leg. He wanted out of the forest and into the arms of his buddies.    What was that?   He heard rustling in the brush. He smelled what he didn’t want to smell.  Coyotes were close.  But the worst had not yet happened.

To be continued………