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Beth Caldwell - The View From Here

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I stand corrected, and in costume

On Sunday morning, my dad was welcomed in his capacity as CEO of the plastic insulation project that my captain and I were stapling to my old screen porch.

My dad is very good at many things, including it would seem, catching my misuse of the English language when he read last week’s column.

“It’s not a gander of geese, it’s a gaggle,” he said, standing there.

My captain piped up in concurrence: “A gander is a male goose, as in what’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” officially outnumbering my bid to protest.

Who I am is yet unknown

Who knew a gander of geese could put out so much sausage-like material.

My neck of the woods suddenly is teeming with great green gobs of goose poop. It is a virtual war zone out there laden with log bombs that make every step a hazard and the bottom of every shoe I own a yucky, grossly-caked disaster.

The geese must swoop in when I’m at work or perhaps waddle in from the creek when the way is clear of human presence. Whichever method they are using, I reluctantly give the big birds credit for the stealth necessary to complete such a large emissions project.

Here’s to you, my canine loves

I would much rather be writing a story about cornered skunks and wide-eyed squirrels, and the flurry of cat fur that flies when “Cash” and “Dot” decide to play tag with unwilling members of the animal kingdom around here.

But that won’t be happening today, and it won’t be happening tomorrow.

When I began working a full-time job on top of a part-time job six weeks ago, it didn’t take me long to discover that my six-year-old Lab was getting the short end of the stick.

What I don’t like—and what I do

Maybe you’ll read this. Maybe you won’t.

If you do, and you’re the one who ventured uninvited onto my country property with a cat in a pet carrier and dumped off the cat here, you are a loser.

And no, you don’t get Brownie points for buying a brand new bag of cat food, ripping it open, and leaving it for the cat you didn’t want.

Yes, I live on an old farm. Yes, I have an old red barn. But I’m pretty sure there’s not a sign that you can see from the road—some 500 feet away—that reads, “If you don’t like your pet, you can drop it off here and it’ll be looked after.”

What matters most are the little things

There are men who somehow just grip your eyes and hold them hard like a spell and such was he, as he pointed the flashlight in my direction and with inflection, all bundled in woollies and lumberjack red, his face unshaven, said—as I turned my head—“The lady that’s known as Lou.”

It made everyone laugh as he carried on his narration, drawing us into the story.

The husky rendition of “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” echoed across the little bay in the south arm of Rainy Lake as six hardy sailors sat around a mighty campfire taking turns reciting the poetry of Robert Service.

The dog rules on earning one’s keep

I was sitting on my wicker couch by the creek a couple of days ago on one of those windy September afternoons that produces very bad hair and smacks of a season I am not yet prepared for.

Where did the summer go? I could have sworn it was June 1st just yesterday and now suddenly I’m seeing more leaves on the ground than on the trees. The furnace has been turned over on a chilly night or two, and hot chocolate is starting to sound like a good alternative to a cold glass of water.

Think twice and choose wisely

Sometimes when I open my mouth, what comes out are words I wish I had never said out loud.

I’ve made that mistake a few times lately and, of course, the afterlife of regret lingers longer than it’s welcome, like the smell of campfire in my hair that takes two or three shampoos to wash out.

In Gordon Livingston’s book “Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart,” he expands on what he believes are “30 True Things You Need to Know Now.”

Why ‘pray’ for things you don’t want?

Maybe my pets can read and thus know that I write about them.

Maybe when I’m gone to work, they make themselves at home in the living room (where the “Dog Rule” manual states they are not allowed) and read my column in the newspaper—or perhaps they surf my online blog for the latest scoop.

Nonetheless, something is up. I have a sneaking suspicion that the animals are in cahoots with each other. “Oneupmanship” appears to be on the rise around here.

To the kennel and back

I’m staring at a blank screen. My mind is empty and the clock is ticking.

This scenario doesn’t happen to me very often when it’s time to write my column. It means my life is sailing along on with calm winds at my back and my slate is relatively clean.

Of course, all I have to do is put the latter paragraph into writing and my neck of the woods erupts into a plethora of dog barking and cat frenzy—giving me plenty of fodder to scoop into a 550-word essay.

Choosing to ‘live in colour’

My soul sister told me the other day over tea that she wants to “live in colour.”

The desire was voiced after sharing her sadness about the recent death of a friend. We talked a long time about this, and we both had a compelling sense to fall into the world with our eyes closed and our arms outstretched.

Why? Why not? After all, none of us are guaranteed much of anything in this life other than the moment we are in. It makes sense to me, too, to live in colour as much as I can.