Thursday, August 28, 2014

Designer Dogs...?

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi folks!

I must be getting old...that's gotta be it!
Why do I say that you ask?

Because more and more I find the things people do, and say, and the fads they cling to....well, silly!

I was talking with a friend at work the other day, a fellow not savvy to the ways of the Internet. He told me his girlfriend's Birthday was coming up and she wanted a "Yorkiepoo, it's one of those designer dogs!" and would I help him find a breeder.

A Breeder?!? For Yorkiepoos???

So like a good buddy I looked online....and there are TONS of them! When did this happen?!?

In my day we didn't call these designer dogs...we called them mutts, or mixed breed, or Heinz 57, most often "Whoops"!!!

Not Puggles, or Labradoodles, Yorkiepoos or Goldendoodles!! MUTTS!!!

We HAD designer dogs...every AKC/UKC breed there IS, is a designer dog!!! That is why we have such diversity, from Chihuahuas to Great Danes!!! Because someone DESIGNED them that way...

Just silly!

The first time I ever heard one of these terms bandied about was from a Vet, some 33 yrs. ago!

My sister had rescued a puppy, more fluff than dog really. She and a friend had found it wandering near a lake, in obvious distress. 

She brought the puppy into my work at the Sporting Goods store, as the pup was tangled in fishing line and had a fish hook through it's lip. Not even having the okay to keep it, she brought it to me to remove the line and hook. Veterinarians cost money!

While she held it, I was able to snip the barb from the hook so it would slide out and a few scissor snips took care of the line.

Once she had it home and bathed, and had my mother talked in to letting her keep it, a Vet visit was in store. To have our families newest addition checked out!

After a thorough exam and all her shots my sister asked what breed the Vet thought it might be.

After looking the pup over again he said:
"Well, definitely poodle and something else...if I had to guess I'd say Schnauzer, I guess you could say she's a Snoodle!" He said with a chuckle.

My sister named her Heidi.

Heidi grew into a small/medium furball...vaguely poodlesque. She attached herself to our Mom as my sister had just started to drive, and once she had that freedom she was g-o-n-e! 

Both my sisters were married and out of the house, long before me...and when they left, their pets stayed.

One particular day I'd come home from a long, hot day at work. Fixed myself a cocktail of Black Velvet whiskey and Canada Dry ginger ale, with a splash of Rose's lime juice. Grabbed the newspaper (yes boys and girls, before the Internet that's how we got our news) and settled in to read.

Mom told me she had ordered a pizza for dinner, and would I mind going to get it. Hell no I didn't was PIZZA!

So I set my drink on the floor next to the chair and ran up to get the pizza. The pizzeria was close so I wasn't gone that long. When I got back, I set the pizza on the table and went to get my drink. 

As I turned the corner I saw my glass laying on it's side..."Dammit," I thought "I must have knocked it over when I left." So I went to clean up the mess I'd made, I grabbed some paper towel as I was sure the carpet was soaked. I'd only taken a couple drinks out of a 30 oz. tumbler.

So I picked up my glass and ice cubes, and applied the paper towel....

How could that be???

About that time Heidi staggered into the room...looked at my glass and licked her wouldn't have...would she?

"Come here Heidi." I called patting my leg.

Heidi slowly walked/staggered usual she jumped up and put her front legs on my thigh so I could rub her neck/head. She smelled of whiskey.

She would put her head back into my palm, relishing the attention...except this time when she put her head back she kept going...right over backwards!!!

She laid there for a moment, sprawled flat on her back, wondering what in the hell just happened I'm sure...before rolling over and standing up again, swaying.
I couldn't help it, I started to laugh...

Heidi threw a "look" over her shoulder as she walked away, even cross species it said: "ASSHOLE!"

Indignantly she started to stomp off and go up stairs...except she couldn't. Oh, she tried mind you...but in her state of inebriation she just couldn't get her legs to cooperate! 

First she tried her left leg...couldn't quite get it up on the first step.
Then she tried her right, again a "no go", finally she curled up in front of the steps...heaved a heavy sigh...and fell fast asleep.

She slept there, uninterrupted for a good 4-5 hours...occasionally snoring, waking herself up to re-position and she was out again. 

The next day I again found myself having a drink and reading the paper, when Heidi sauntered in to see if possibly I had something to eat.

"Hey Heidi, How ya feeling girl?" Yes I talk to animals like sue me! 

I figured she must have been rockin' a MASSIVE hangover! Those 4-5 ounces of whiskey was more like drinking a fifth when you weigh 35 lbs.

She walked over and I held my drink down to see if she wanted some, you know "A little hair of the dog that bit ya!" Lol

Intrigued, she took a sniff...backed up about three feet...and gave me the "ASSHOLE!" look again....
and said "Ruff!!!"
Which I interpreted as not just "no", but "Fuck no!"

Funny how it took the dog just one time....and many of us are still learning! Lol


Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear

Monday, August 18, 2014

Karma can be a cruel mistress...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

The other day I was having a discussion with some friends on the vagaries of that most fickle of mistresses, Karma.

Most often when we feel a wrong has been done us, we cry out to her for satisfaction...though she seldom seems to hear.

Oft times her machinations are far too subtle for us mere mortals to comprehend...but oh there are times!

I've told you all of my after school job at the Sporting goods store, that became my full time employment once I graduated.

I learned many thing in those early formative years...and one was taught to me by a fellow employee named "Zac".

I will again remind you all that "Zac" was not his real name, and in these stories true names are seldom used.

Zac, was a ladies man...that's all I can say!  He was a good 5 years my senior, taking college classes and working at the store for spending cash. Tall and blonde, blue eyed and handsome...he had that kind of "surfer dude" vibe; tan and active, outdoorsy and healthy. The girls loved him.

For his part, Zac loved them back...a "player" before the term was common!

One November day a young woman came in, she caught my eye as she walked over to the gun counter. Tall and lean, dressed in jeans tucked into brown knee high boots, a soft cowl necked white sweater with a knee length coat belted over it. She looked like she stepped out of the pages of Vogue. Long blonde hair and big blue eyes, a small nose and lush full lips! She walked in that way that women should...

As fate would have it I was tied up with another customer, when she pinged on Zac's Hottie radar! While I was busy, I was not too busy to surreptitiously listen in... 

"Well Hello," said Zac "What can I help you with today?" favoring her with that megawatt smile of his.

"I'm looking for a gift for my husband." she replied, I saw disappointment flash across Zac's face but he soldiered on.

"Alright," he allowed "what are you looking for?"

"My husband was talking to one of his friends and I heard him say that he wanted a new deer rifle...a Winchester I think it was...and two numbers, like 20/20. Does that make any sense to you?"

Zac gave a little chuckle and told her "It sure does...I think what he was talking about was a Winchester Model 94, in 30/30 win., I have one right here..." He took the rifle off the rack, checked that it was empty and held it out to her.

"Oh, no thank you," she said waving a gloved hand "I wouldn't know what I'd be looking for..." I had noticed her brown leather gloves and handbag both matched her boots...this woman was put to-geth-er.
"I'll take your word for it...that that's the much is it?"

"$189.00..." Zac told her.

"Wow, I didn't think they were that much...." she said, looking concerned. (that was a sum in the early 80's)

"We have a lay away plan," Zac explained "10% down and as long as you keep paying on it, you can have it in layaway."

"Let's do that then...but I'll need it by Christmas." She smiled...and oh what a smile!!!

Zac wrote up the paperwork, walked her up to the cash register...waited while she paid, shook her gloved hand before she left then strutted back to the gun counter wearing a Cheshire cat grin.

"Her name is Sarah, and I got her phone number!" he crowed to us once the other customers moved on.

"No you didn't," I ribbed him "you only got it for the layaway form! Besides, she's married...buying a gun for her husband, remember?"

"Doesn't matter how I got it..." He replied, holding the paper like Charlie's Golden ticket. "being married doesn't bother me, just means she won't want a commitment!"

We all laughed at him, called him a dog....and forgot about it.

Next week mid-day she was in again, asked for Zac by name to make her layaway payment. Any of us could have done it, but she asked for him.

Zac was his flirtatious self...and asked her if she'd had her lunch yet? When she said she had not, he told her he was about to go on break and maybe they could grab something together.

Against my belief, she said "Sure"! I was did he do it?

Every week the pattern repeated, right up to the week of Christmas when she made her final payment and took her gift home.

"Well buddy," I told him, putting a hand on his shoulder "Guess that's the end of that...huh?"

He heaved a mighty sigh..."We'll see...."

When you work retail, the 2 weeks prior and the 2 weeks after Christmas are your busiest time of year. As the new year get's into full swing...things slow down...a lot! In sporting goods, sure there are a few intrepid souls ice fishing...but until spring Baseball and regular fishing, we were dead. 

So when Miss Sarah reappeared, we all noticed...

She no longer came in once a week, her visits were far fewer...but whenever she appeared Zac would ask to take an hour lunch. We were dead, so the boss didn't care!

I asked him on a couple of occasions just what was going on, he'd laugh and tell me not to worry about it....

This went on for a few months.

Until one bright spring day not long before Easter. Sarah appeared again, dressed to kill in skirt and heels...and as usual her and Zac were off to lunch.

One hour passed, then another half...2 Zac!
Mind you this was a time before cell phones or pagers or GPS, he just didn't come back, and we had no way to contact him.

The manager, having a fit...allowed that Zac would have a lot of explaining to do when he showed up again...if he didn't fire him on the spot.

About 4 hours after Zac had left for lunch 2 Oakland County Sheriff's Deputys came into the store and asked for the manager.

When my manager had introduced himself, the Deputy's explained the reason for their visit.

It seems Miss Sarah's husband had come home unexpectedly in the middle of the day. Upset to find her, in his bed with someone other than himself, he availed himself of a gun and shot the fellow in the ass...that fellow being our employee Zac!

"Oh My GOD!!!" replied my boss "What was he shot with?"

The Deputy consulted his notes "A 30/30 Winchester rifle....a Christmas gift from his wife."

Ah can be so cruel.

Zac survived, albeit with a bit of a hitch in his giddy up for a while...
He never returned to the store, and I never saw him again. He wouldn't let the police tell us what hospital he was in and said he would refuse all visitors. What happened to the husband, or Miss Sarah for that matter I never did learn.

But what I did learn: Never date a woman that buys her husband guns!!! 

Be Well Folks!!!

Beastly Bear

Monday, August 11, 2014

Our Friend's Wedding...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

As many of you know last week I was on vacation. Momma, Princess Bear and I went down to Tennessee for the wedding of our dear friends Jenny and Stanley.

The second marriage for both, they wanted this time to be a little more "fun" and a lot less "formal"!
Falls Mill, Belevedere, TN.

They chose as their wedding site, Falls Mill in Belvedere, TN. 
In a word, stunning!!! Built in 1873, and listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. 

Starting life as a cotton and wool factory it was later converted to a cotton gin, and then a wood working shop. Today the wheel turns mill stones and produces stone ground flour, cornmeal and grits.
The Bride...

Jenny and Stanley have a love....of old cars.
Jenny resplendent in her cream colored dress arrived below the mill,
chauffeured in Stanley's restored Model T Ford along with her parents. 

An outdoor setting, in August, in Tennessee...Let's just say this Northern boy was feeling the heat!!!

But in true Southern hospitality style, their friend's Lonnie and Cathy's daughters handed out folding paper fans to everyone, and Gerber Daisies to the ladies. Classy!
'51 Chevrolet pick up

Stanley arrived, as any gentleman his restored 1951 Chevrolet pick up truck! 

Stanley and the boys, Jenny's two sons and Stanley's one all wore jeans and I said, a little less formal!

While on the subject of boots... 
Cathy and Lonnie's daughters are just the most adorable girls you'll ever run across! 

Dressed in diaphanous mint green dresses, holding Gerber Daisies and wearing cowboy boots...they looked for all the world like countryfied woodland is a candid photo I snapped of them just hanging out during the service. This is completely unposed! Just two sisters, sharing a moment...who can't love that?

One of Jenny's friends, Kim Petrie gave a reading from Frost, "The Road not Taken"...which seemed all the more poignant in the wooded setting.

Each of their son's gave a reading as well:

Jenny's youngest Jonah, from "Winnie the Pooh".

Her oldest Joshua, from "The Notebook".

Stanley's son Jesse, read "The Apache Wedding Blessing". 

A Lovely service in a beautiful setting...
The Happy Couple!

You see that smile on Jenny's face that's not just because she just married the love of her life...oh no! It's also there because she is about to drive them home in her wedding gift...

A 1959 Cadillac Sedan DeVille!!! Stanley had found her one in Reno, Nevada and had it shipped there. He and his friends worked feverishly to get it running for the big day, and he gave it to her the night before...amid much squealing and jumping for joy!

After the service we all headed back to the "At Last" Homestead for some fantastic Southern cuisine, cooked up for us by Stanley's friend Brian! Man did we eat!

A crawfish boil, corn on the cob, some Cajun potatoes...and a favorite among the Yankee contingent "Box Chicken"!!! As Brian explained it to me, the chicken is roasted inside a plywood box with the heat source above, low and slow...until it will just fall off the bone!!! So moist you wouldn't believe!!! Sweet Mary that was good stuff!!!

Jenny and Stanley had asked me to give the wedding toast...
Both readers of this humble blog, I have apparently hoodwinked them into thinking I can is my toast to my friends!

Jenny & Stanley's Toast

Hi Folks!
For those of you I haven't met yet, my name is Joe, and as you can probably tell...
I'm not from around here. 
But I've known Jenny and her family for almost 30 yrs. now.

Ya know....when Jenny & Stanley first asked me to give this toast...
I found the idea more than a little bit daunting.

My first thought of course was: 
"Please God don't let me screw this up!"

In keeping with the themes expressed so well by the readings the boys gave at the service...
let's talk about roads.

Jenny and Stanley have taken very different roads to be here today before you good people.

Jenny, a Southern spirit raised among Yankees...went on to College and Higher education.

Stanley, a true and solid son of the South learned a trade and opened his own successful machine shop.

It took plenty of hard work, and some rough roads. A lot of determination, and a couple wrong turns before those roads converged before us here today!

Now, it would be easy for us to raise our glasses and wish them the best of luck...
But we all know it takes a lot more than just luck...
don't we?

This love they share is a precious gift. 

Much Like the classic cars we’ve seen here...

If they cherish it and nurture it, 
fix it when something breaks...
it will sustain them throughout their lives.

Though the roads might get rough...
And sometimes the hills will seem too steep to climb.
Sometimes things will seem to go too fast, 
and you'll want to hit the brakes.
You'll cross spans where you'll be afraid to look down into that dark chasm.
And there will be days when that engine just won't run right...

But together, the roads will smooth before you.
You'll surmount those hills and slow things down. 
You'll whistle as you cross those bridges, hand in hand...
and have that engine running just like a song.

So let us raise our glasses and salute this journey they embark upon, together. From this day forward...

Safe travels my friends!!!

To Jenny & Stanley!

Now I'd like to say I gave it exactly as written...but that would not be accurate...A last minute rewrite to include the readings the boys gave threw me off....I managed to pull out a coherent toast...but just barely. I should have known better.

Anyway, it was after that and the Key Lime wedding cake that the drinking started in earnest... Could it be because Prichard's Distillery (purveyors of fine flavored small batch rums and Bourbon Whiskeys) is but a stones throw down the road, and they do know Jen on first name basis??? Perhaps...

Perhaps because my dear friend Jenny kept finding more and more of these...

Miniature bottles of Prichard's "Sweet Lucy" flavored Bourbon Whiskey!!! 

At least none came out my nose...Carol F. !!! Lol
I can't say the entire night is clear, but what I know for sure...Ol' Lonnie can PLAY a guitar!

The next day dawned, clear and bright...well maybe not too clear, but definitely too bright!!!

As we all recovered we found or way back out to Jenny and Stanley's...

A relaxing low stress day, the guys did a little shooting...the gals a little gossiping. Until Stanley asked if I'd ever ridden in a Model T.
Stanley fueling up the "T", Josh peeking out the window

When he learned I had not, he graciously offered to take me for a wasn't long before we had a regular convoy lined up! 
Father of the Bride, Bob in Ted's '25 Chevrolet

His friend Larry led us off in a Model T Pick up, then Stanley and I in the "T", followed by another friend of ours, Ted in his 1925 Chevy. Lonnie and Cathy followed in the only modern vehicle, (a rag top Jeep with the top removed)...just in case.

For those of you that have never had the experience, I highly recommend it! Not as simple to drive as a modern auto, driving a Model T took skill! You have three pedals on the floor, far left is forward drive, middle pedal is reverse, far right is the brake. A big lever on the far left takes you from low to high gearing. The throttle is on the right side of the steering column, ignition advance on the left. YES, I said ignition advance!!! Watching Stanley drive was like watching someone playing the piano...his hands are always moving, and magic happens!

If you look close in the video at the hood is actually the temperature gauge! See that red line in the center, it's about half way up the gauge...just right, when it turns all red you need to stop!!!

Neither Stanley nor I are small guys, and while tight the cabin was far from uncomfortable...I include here a short video, taken along a back road near their home...

Oh the beautiful vistas we saw, from roads built atop ridges you could see for miles...the Smokey Mountains in the distance. To the tree lined, canopied lowland driving through a tunnel of life itself. Brooks babbled...cattle looked on could have been a different time!!!

We had a great time, met some wonderful people! We look forward to going back again, a week next time instead of but a few days.
I'd like to thank all we met for making us feel so warm and welcomed! In no particular order: Larry, Terry, Lonnie & Cathy, Brian and Tennessee Carol!

Until we meet again, 

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear