Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Moving on- Celebrating a Life

As many of you know my dog Patches life ended this past Friday, September 27th. He was 11 plus years and in the last few months aged very quickly from what turned out to be cancer. All and all we would have to say he had a great life and really up until the last a very healthy one. Here is “The story of Patches”…One day this little frumpy puppy came bounding over to us while I was walking my old dog Hershel up the street at my parents house. Now he was kind of a funny looking guy with giant paws and short hair of all different colors, not at all “beautiful” looking. He started walking with us and then followed us home. After awhile he would wonder back up the street…he was staying under the deck with the neighbors lab who had puppies that were soon to be given away. This became a routine until n he gave the mother dog away, too, so now this puppy was alone and came down to our house to settle under our bushes in front of the house.  Dad really didn’t want him and would shoe him away, but he would always come back. I started taking care of him and secretly want to keep him…there was something very special about this funny looking guy who I did find handsome in some way. I thought it was nice that he was a smaller dog, the size of a cockier and with the short hair, it was great since all my dogs had been long haired, which is more up keep.  Everyone said he would grow into his paws, but I thought oh, that is just the way he does, not want to believe he would become a big dog. Winter came and he still lived under the bushes in the front of the house and when I returned from my grad classes at Piedmont he would come out to greet me, the ever faithful puppy.  As the days turned cold and wet, my Dad finally agreed to let him come in the house, but that I really needed to find him a home. In my heart I knew he already had one, but would say oh, sure.  He had started to grow into his big paws and his fur grew long and the spotty colors blended into a beautiful coat and his mussel grew longer. He lost his puppy look and turned into a very handsome dog. Dad grew use to having him around and stopped asking when I was going to find him a new home. When the school year ended and I got a teaching job in Florida so move my two dogs who became beach dogs playing daily at the dog beach near St. Pete.  Much to my surprise Patches and I came back to the place we first meet and it has become his final resting place. I’m so glad Patch found mes, where ever he came from I still wonder about sometimes. What I do know was he was a great dog and filled with love and joy. We sure miss his healthy self, but like very living thing age and poor health will over take us at some point. I was blessed to have him for as long as I did.

I would like to say a special grateful thank you to all my friends and family for your loving thoughts, hugs and support. He ashes are now in the front yard by the peace pole where he spent his last night. I added another painted pole that I had done a few years back with a painting of him and me at Duke Creek Falls.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Fall is in the Air

Scarecrow with old computer for head

 Well the days were hot with the start of Fall, but it has turned pleasantly cool in the evenings and  the driveway starting to be covered with browning leaves. The trees on our street seem to be just dropping leaves with no fan fare of Fall Colors…well darn that is the best part of Fall.  I know so many folks are nostalgic about the seasons, but I’ve yet to get the hang of it. It is nice to have less heat and humidity, but I hate it when all the green goes with the trees all bear and it starts being really cold. At least for now the weather has turned pleasantly mild and not so wet. It’s a great time to get out for a hike or two. Or like I did the other day after having lunch in the square with a friend, we walked around Dahlonega Square to see the scarecrows,.  This year there are some really amazing entries. Our art group and my church rate high on my list, but so many others are that are pretty cool as well. This is an annual community fund raising event that welcomes in the Fall with creativity and ingenuity, generating funds for literacy.  They are in front of business all over town, with the community voting on their favorite one by picking up a ballot at any local business and casting a vote. The prize is a blue ribbon and photo in the local paper.  The fun of living in a small town!

The artist group that I belong to had our monthly meeting this week. The group has started the process of becoming a non-profit, which is something that takes lots of thought on how we want to structure the organization, which generated some length discussions at our meeting. Kudos the group who have been researching and putting the bylaws together along with a great deal of needed paperwork for the state.  We do have some exciting up coming art events as well, including our annual Christmas Fair November 23-24 and gallery shows next spring.

Otherwise life seems to be filled with health issues of aging family, friends and pets…..sometimes it can be challenging to be in my age group, all the stuff one never gave any thought to when they were young is now part of our daily lives.  Well time to get back to the paints and then maybe a walk, it looks like another fine Fall day.
The Super Artist by Chestatee Artist
by Georgia Mtn. UU Church
by Habitat for Humanity

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Celebrations, Fireworks and Friends

Well our rain has continued throughout this summer, but last night the last official day of summer our collective prayers were answered and we had a clear evening sky to view the fireworks over Lake Lanier. Gainesville postponed their 4th of July Fireworks due to rain until Labor Day this year.  It may have been the good friends and yummy food or the pleasant night air, but last night the fireworks felt very magical, as we all sat across the lake from the launch point at Laurel Park, with just the perfect view. Our friends’ house just happens to be in the ideal location.  We had finished a wonderful barbeque with all the traditional foods, of grilled chicken, pulled pork, grilled corn on the cob,  beans, cold slaw, potato salad, with home made deserts of mud pie, banana cream pie and chocolate cake. We enjoyed interesting conversation and  had a glass of wine, ice tea or home made lemonade, what a perfect celebration for summers end.  I decided to check out the history of Labor Day and according to the U.S. Department of Labor website:

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. 

For me Labor Day has always just meant that summer was over and I would be going back to school, as a child it usually meant a new school because we moved during the summer, then as an adult back to teaching. I have never really thought about the true beginnings or meaning of this holiday. Reflecting now on it, it is really should be one of our most notable holidays…it is the celebration of all of us and collectively what we have accomplish, how perfect  to celebrate with fireworks.

For our family another celebration came with the birth of Martina Lucia to my nephew and niece in-law. She was born August 25th a healthy 8 lbs 15 oz. They live in Portland, OR, so for now we have to enjoy hearing about her and seeing photos. It is often said what we hope before the baby is born that they just turn out healthy, but really our hopes are for so much more. We hope the child will have a brilliant life and grow up to make exceptional contributions to the larger society, but maybe that is what we mean when we say we just hope that the baby is healthy. For even in some small ways our live is brilliant and meaningful at least that is the way it feels to us, our family and friends.
Martina, a couple of days old
So, I’m really starting to feel rooted in my community which is kind of a new feeling for me. I spent most of my life moving to various parts of the county. But now I’m been around here at least part time for over a decade and have come to participate in annual community events, which is starting to feel very special to have a history with a community. The other day we had the 9th Annual Adult Spelling Bee, which my church sponsored a team, as we have done every year. Some years I have had to be back to work in Florida so couldn’t go to it, but since I retired I have gone every year.  It is the main fund raiser for The Lumpkin County Literacy Coalition and a very festive event with the participants in costumes to reflect their team names, which are meant to be fun and silly. Each team starts out doing a couple minute skit and then is given a word to spell. Our team had a really fun performance with a song about words that sound the same, but are spelled differently.  With each round the words get much harder, words you have never heard of, so our team did really well, coming in third.
Spelling Bee
 My final thought is just how grateful I’m feeling for family, friends and community. As they say life is good.