keep pulling dogs apart
Sunday, July 6 2014
During Sunday morning coffee this morning, Gretchen quickly whipped together some pre-positioned ingredients to make a tray of brownies. She claimed it had taken her less effort to do that job than it had taken me to produce a French press full of coffee. The destinations of those brownies were several. We unloaded the first batch at the residence of our elderly uphill neighbors ("the Greenhouses") to thank them for their role in helping us recapture Oscar the Cat. When we arrived, the man of the house was watching NASCAR (which was a bit out of character and something his wife only seemed to tolerate). We couldn't let the dogs in because of the Mrs. Greenhouse was terrified of being injured by a rambunctious dog. At her age (which might now be greater than 90), skin injuries take a long time to heal and, indeed, might, as she fears, "never heal." The Greenhouses were delighted by the brownies, happy to have played a role in recapturing Oscar, and sad that the three legged cat is still out there somewhere.
The next recipient of brownies was our friends Susan and David (and Susan's 13 year old niece, S). We drove over to their new house just east of Woodstock, our dogs piling enthusiastically into their house before we did. Olive and Darla were there, and a playdate rapidly ensued there on the dripcloths scattered across the floor of the great room. It had just been painted for a price that Gretchen and I consider exorbitant. Susan and David are going to have to learn not to pay New York City prices even if there are plenty of Upstate contractors willing to charge them.
The brownies helped to redeem veganism somewhat to S, who (as you'll recall from yesterday) had a bit of a rocky introduction to the universe of foods made without animal-based substances. Meanwhile, David, working without a bottle opener, had managed to slice open his knuckles opening a bottle of a refreshing grapefruit-based shandy he'd offered me. Somehow the conversation came around to the topic of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the musical of which Gretchen and I will soon be seeing down in the City. S was mostly interested in it because of Neil Patrick Harris; it was one of several simple celebrity-based media preferences she made during the course of our conversation. I was curious if someone born in 2001 would understand the Cold War backdrop of Hedwig. What, for example, did she know about the Berlin Wall (which came down 12 years before she was born)? She tried to fake it, but it was clear that she really didn't know much at all about all the geopolitical absurdities that seemed so significant when I was her age.
At some point in this conversation, Ramona waddled over, got up on her hind feet, and started licking S in the face (as she often does to people, even ones she barely knows). Olive didn't like this and started growling. Soon a fight had broken out, and there we were, yet again, pulling dogs apart. It seems like we've been doing that a lot of late.
Gretchen wanted to show Susan & David the swimming opportunities at nearby Little Deep (which is close enough for them to walk to). But we drove, leaving their dogs back at the house (Susan wasn't confident they wouldn't get lost or get into a fight). We walked from Little Deep up to the derelict reservoir, where the fragrance of a rotting Snapping Turtle could occasionally be detected (a couple hikers coming back from the reservoir had warned us not to let our dogs near it). Randomly there at the reservoir were our friends Stacy & Keith and another couple I vaguely know (they had rented a house up here for the week). Stacy and Keith had brought their dog Butters, a somewhat problematic Pit Bull that Stacy was sure would pick a fight with Ramona if they were to meet. The idea was that they never would meet, but here we all were together at the reservoir. And, just as Stacy predicted, Ramona went up to sniff Butters, everything seemed to be going great, and then the next thing you knew, we had to drag them apart because they were fighting. You'd never expect such things from a dog seemingly named after the most easy-going character on South Park. But Butters really just wanted to play with humans, the water, and a stick. He didn't want any other dogs getting involved. Ramona tried a few more times to benignly insinuate herself into Butters' play, but he kept growling at her and making Stacy nervous. So I took Ramona across the Sawkill to its south shore (the water was running strong today and the currents made this more difficult than it normally would have been).
I couldn't really hear any conversations over the roar of the water, but eventually everyone went their separate ways while Gretchen and I stayed there below the dam, giving Butters enough time to be led back to Stacy & Keith's car.
Butters with Keith and one half of the couple staying with him and Stacy in that rented house.
Ramona with (in the green) the other half of the couple staying with Keith and Stacy in that rented house. Also a bit of Stacy.
A bit of Stacy with (on the left) Susan and (on the right) S. The partial dude on the far right must be David.
This evening at about sundown, after a dinner of linguine and red sauce eaten during an episode of Orange is the New Black, I went into the nearby forest just west of the Farm Road to salvage a backpack load of firewood. I hadn't gotten any in two days and was feeling a little behind (even though we've already got enough firewood for all of the next heating season and probably most of the next one as well).
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