“Holy ink cartridge, Batman. We’re on the second upper half of a century of blogs. That’s gosh darn awesome.”
“Calm down, Robin. It’s not a big whoopee. We walk around in public, wearing long underwear and a cape, and nobody finds that gosh darn weird. They call us heroes.”
Speaking of underwear, Buster, our dog, has come up with a new line of evening clothes which he calls Buster Wear. It consist of long underwear, a pair of shorts and a tee shirt.
I mentioned Buster Wear because I wanted to get the word Buster into my blog. Because I have received, once again, more requests for Buster blog epistles. Maybe they want a Buster Bible.
“Holy dog poop baggies, Batman, love that Buster Wear and all, but what is it about Buster?”
Putting aside all this Batman and Robin guff, I can tell you, when it comes to Buster, that we’re dealing with a basic philosophical question. Who is training whom?
The answer is we don’t know.
And I have another question. Is it possible, that while I think I’m a dog whisperer, that Buster is a human whisperer? Is the egg before the chicken or the chicken before the egg? Who is whispering to whom and who is training whom? This is definitely heavy philosophy, man. This is hey man stuff and figuring out the who and whom stuff was absolutely taxing to my grammatical weaponry.
Anyway, and for example, has Buster got me trained to such a degree that he only has to walk into the washroom, touch his nose to the proverbial ceramic flushing throne, and I’ll know, in an instant, that he needs some water put into his bowl or in a more extreme case, urgently needs a mighty fine dump?
Then there’s the throw and fetch game. This is where we toss a half of a hockey glove, a slipper, a boot or a Christmas doggy toy around the trailer for him to retrieve. He loves this game, usually in the morning. One of the reasons he’s a passionate fetcher is that when he declares the game finished, he gets a treat. In other words we give him a treat for having fun. Good boy, good dog.
Which got me to wondering why he should have a treat for having fun? But then my dog whisperer or Buster’s human whisperer stuff kicked in. Whichever way it goes, I could hear, in my mind, the words, “You have a beer after you have fun playing hockey, so why can’t ‘he’ or ‘I’ have a treat after having fun playing chase and fetch?”
For example, one evening Buster seemed to be in a terrible mood. He was lying on the couch, his eyes rolling around in his head like he was really pissed off at somebody, something or both. We got to worrying that he was ill. He hadn’t eaten his breakfast and he hadn’t eaten his supper. His stainless steel food dish was still sitting on the floor, by the front door, laden with Buster’s untouched, except for bits of our meal, supper mix.
Because, in this extremely boring dried up kibble, we add bacon fat and other bits and pieces of our own supper. Because, and I don’t blame him, Buster likes our food better than his food. We put all these goodies into Buster’s stainless steel doggy bowl.
Anyway, there he was, lying on the couch, looking pathetic. Just before our bedtime, which is also Buster’s bedtime, I let Buster outside. We always do that before we close up for the night. This is the time he does his toiletries. When he sniffs and walks around the trailer, stoops, lifts his leg and squirts and is a time when he barks to the east, barks to the west, barks to the north and barks to the south. A time for Buster to let the world know that he exists and therefore is, and you all had better just know that this is a truth like none other ever recorded in book or tablet.
When he’d finished doing these outdoor, night-time chores he scratched at the door and we let him in. Then he got a bit of a towelling off before he walked over to the treat stool.
Originally it was a stool for us to stand on so we could reach into the top shelves of the cupboard. It was, in the pre-Buster time, called a stool, but now, AB, it is called a treat stool. Who put that word into our heads?
Upon this stool he placed his two cutely crooked front paws. Pointed his almost human eyes towards a higher plain, where the treats are located, and waited expectantly, tail vigorously wagging, for his two tiny, low-cal biscuits.
After he'd had his treat, I heard, with my own little ears, the whispering voice, “Take up my food dish and walk. Walk to the treat stool. Remove one piece at a time from the stainless steel bowl and place this morsel uponst the sacred treat stool.”
I scurried over to the metal dog dish that was still full of the uneaten kibble. I brought the dog dish over and from the shiny bowl I took out one piece of kibble and placed it on the treat stool. Buster ate it. I took out another piece. Buster ate it. I took out another and placed it on his tiny treat stool. He ate it.
“Ah ha”, I thought, and I really do think that it was me who thought the “Ah ha” part. “Place the stainless steel bowl on the treat stool. Now place more than one piece around said bowl.”
I therefore and thus did just that. I placed the steel bowl uponst the treat stool and placed several pieces onto the TS.
I did, for an instant, during this feeding operation, think about calling this whole treat stool thing, TSD. Which means Treat Stool Disorder. Maybe get this made up term published in some thick, blue, hard-cover psychiatry book, which lists and defines all the different mental illnesses you can find in this crazy world.
I thought of all this while I was carrying out the whispering instructions I was hearing being announced from somewhere in my noggin.
Buster ate all the kibble I put on the TS. I took more kibble out. He ate all that kibble. Wouldn’t touch what was in the bowl.
Then the sneaky dog, human whisperer thing began again. It said, “Woof, woof, get out one of our, (or did I hear the word ‘your’), human bowls and pour all the remaining food into this offering bowl and see what’ll happen.”
I turned around smartly and pulled a bowl out of our private collection. I emptied the stainless steel food dish into the beautiful red bowl with white trim. Buster has seen us eat many of our yummy meals from these bowls. He ate his whole supper. Not a scrap left. Not a crumb.
And, I’m afraid to say, in case it sounds a little psychologically suspect, that the whispering has been giving me other guidance or commands. It has been strongly advising that “We, Sue and I, go to Value Village and purchase some bowls."
“And Larry,” the voice whispered, “mark them in such a way that Buster doesn’t know that they were bought for him and not for humans.” That has to be me whispering to myself and not Buster, I would think.
“And Larry, make room in the cupboard so that the eating containers will look like they are ours so Buster won’t think they are just dog dishes in disguise.” Me, I think.
Buster is a smart dog and I think Buster is a conniving and strategically scary dog who is covertly and relentlessly playing a canine form of chess or poker with us humans. Almost like a politician, but in a good way.
Before I go I thought I’d mention the river. The Middle River, to be specific, that has, in a certain sense, been able to show us some form of mercy. Mercy or luck, call it what you will.
The river was by the end of the day up to near the top of the snow banks. Thank goodness for the snowbanks. They get frozen and hard and therefore increase the height of the banks which keeps the water from spilling over. However, what has happened, up to now, is the temperature will begin to drop and then the rain will turn to snow and mercifully we are safe again. The river calms down.
Down the road a ways, is a place we call the Twin Churches. That’s because there are two churches sitting side by side. One is a United church and the other is the Presbyterian. Apparently the congregations get along. Very Christian of them.
A road turns off the Cabot Trail at the twin churches. A little way down this road is a bridge which crosses over the Middle River. Sticking out of the river is a tiny island. The day the river was rising, a friend and I drove across the bridge. The friend has lived in Cape Breton for many, many years. He told me that as long as you can see the island then the river isn’t too, too high. We could still see a bit of the island. That’s a good to know piece of information to have along with our own river-rising indicators.
Anyway, what this whole long lead-up was meant to be about was that I think you have to have a certain kind of philosophy, mental quirk or personality trait to live on a flood plain. I don’t know what all these traits might be. I’m sure my readers can name a few.
However, I know one of them is to not have a great big worry lump stuck somewhere up in your skull. This worry lump saying things like, “Why did you buy a place that’s on a flood plain?” “How can we put money into it when we might be flooded out and be swashbuckling it out to sea?” “What’s the old trailer worth anyway? Are we ever even going to get close to our money’s worth back if we sell it? Etc., etc., etc.”
These thoughts can become a vicious circle and can go on and lead to the next and the next and the next. And it’s not as though we approached the real-estate agent and said, “We’d like you to find us a 45- foot, fifty-year-old trailer that’s located on a flood plain, and just to make it a little more exciting, is also located in a snow belt. Please and thank-you.”
I do, however, think that I have one reason, personally, why I’m not overwhelmed by these investment worries. Well, actually, another reason would be that it’s never very boring living on a flood plain and in a snow belt and it certainly provides me with material for my blog.
becomes a river in the mind
or of the mind
or in and of the mind
Its banks snow
the tide falling a dark
rim lies between
the water and the shore”
William Carlos Williams, The Mind Hesitant
When I was young, I would, quite often on a Sunday morning, wake up to the sound of the kitchen radio broadcasting a man singing a particular song about being poor. I don’t know all the words, but part of it went like this—-. (Please give me a second while I fetch my pitch pipe and blow a C Major.) “Good boy. Good boy.”
The words were, ”I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold—-“ that’s all the words I remember. It was about a street sweeper who was very poor, but he didn’t care. He had a treasure that wasn’t based on money.
Now I haven’t taken up all the theology of that song, but I do think it painted money a certain way in my mind. And painted the river’s threat and our flood plain and so many other things in a colour that put money in the category where it really belongs. But don’t get me wrong. I know we need money. There’s no getting around that and if I won a million dollars I wouldn’t just go out and waste it by buying a K car or a fur coat.
George Horace Lorimer