Yesterday, on my seventy-ninth consecutive day of blogging my husband Rolly and I were discussing the whole experience so far. I expressed to him that I have really been enjoying writing it, but that sometimes I feel quite pressured to get a piece done and posted daily. He said ‟What if you run out of things to write about?” He thought perhaps that this was a possibility because so many of my posts are about memories of my family when I was growing up. As this was my primary focus in so many posts up to this point, he wondered if the time would come when I would “not remember any more of the good stuff.”
Good stuff, bad stuff, even mediocre stuff is still great fodder for the writer. Just think of some of the books you may have read. Marley and Me is a book about a guy and his dog, quite a handful of a dog no doubt, but even a lazy fairly well- behaved dog, like our Sandy was on the farm, could become the topic of a story, or perhaps even a book or two. I think it could be a pretty revealing story if it was written from the dog’s point of view. After all, maybe he wasn’t sleeping a lot of that time when he was curled up under the buffet in the dining room. Maybe he was just eavesdropping on our private conversations, like those times when Marsha and I were rolling our hair in front of the big mirror there. Maybe he understood our exasperation with Mom and Dad when they wouldn’t let us go to Grand Bend for a few days with one of our friends, when she invited us to come along. It wasn’t going to cost us anything, the cottage was already rented. Maybe he heard all the yelling, and the door slamming we tried to get away with, before we decided to sulk.
Sandy probably knew what it was like to be expected to hang around the home front when he might have liked to have a bit more freedom, the kind of freedom he vaguely remembered having before he wandered in off the road, lured by to the smell of fried chicken. The freedom he had before he got totally addicted to the grub they put in a bowl for him after every one of their three meals each day. The scrambled eggs that their youngest one (Donny wasn’t it?) was always dropping on the floor, and the crusts off their bread, dripping in butter, that somebody was always passing under the table to him. It wasn’t any wonder that he sauntered into the kitchen at breakfast time so often! And then there were those ice cream bowls everybody always sneaked onto the floor under their chairs after they’d finished all they wanted, just so he could lick them out!
He was doing such a good job of it that sometimes when one of them sneaked it back up onto the table the one who was giving all the orders, the one they called Mom, would put it on top of the stack of unused ones. Then she would put them back into the cupboard. How proud he was then of the help he was giving to those bigger girls who took turns standing in front of the place where the silver thing that the water they filled his bowl from came out of. Those girls always seemed to be taking turns, staying behind when everybody went out to play again. Two of them would stack up all the
bowls and plates and pots that still had some great- smelling grub sticking to them. They would put a bunch of them into a place with water and bubbles, and after a while they would take them out again. By then they were all shiny but stinky like dog shampoo. One of them would just look out the window a lot then, and the other would wipe each thing with one of those flags that the Mom liked to hang a whole lot of out on a long line that crossed over the back yard. Their flapping away there always made a lot of noise on windy days and that made him too edgy to sleep. Then he would have to get up from beside the wall, where it was cool under his belly, and the flattened down petunias were so soft, and move to a spot next to the garage wall, under the lilac bush.
Giving up the family jewels was the only bad thing that had happened to him since he came to live here with this bunch of noisy people who treated him so well. He got so many hugs and pats on the head, and sometimes the big one named Dad would pick him up and put him on his lap. Then he would rub his neck and his back and make him feel all warm and happy all over. And yesterday afternoon Donny came and sprawled out on the dining room floor beside him. Then he put his head on his side, which seemed to be getting a little rounder and softer every day and fell fast asleep. Any sacrifices Sandy had made to stay with them were worth it, he thought. Just then the one named Keith called out the new name he had been given by all of them when he first arrived here— “Sandy!”as he walked toward the back porch, carrying a big bowl of the most wonderful smelling dinner he had sniffed so far. “Yes! Life is good!” he thought.”I think I’ll stay for a very long time.”