Saturday, February 27, 2021

How Untouched Is That Doggie In The Meadow

I saw a little dog running through a field Thursday, on my way home from town.

It was the field across from where the guy used to have sheep, with that herding dog guarding them. The other field used to have cows grazing sometimes. Or it was left empty, and hay baled a couple times late summer. So the field isn't all grown over, but it's not mowed yard-short, either.

I'd just turned the first sharp curve, to the left, and was headed to the next sharp curve, to the right, at the corner of this field. To my right, I saw a little gray dog running across the field in my direction. He had that look of a half-grown pup. An adolescent. Kind of thin, not muscular.

"Oh, no! I hope he doesn't run under the barbed-wire and in front of T-Hoe!"

He was a gray, short-haired dog. Bigger than Jack, but smaller than Juno. I didn't see a collar. His coat looked fairly smooth, not curly, not silky. His ears stood up, kind of big on his head. Maybe like a heeler's ears. Not quite as big, proportionally, as a corgi's ears. His tail was medium length. Pointy, like Jack's, not feathery, like Juno's.

As T-Hoe got closer to the point where our paths would intersect, that little doggie put on the brakes! He turned and trotted back towards the middle of the field, headed for the treeline. It was then that I noticed


Not a little gray dog at all! A wild COYOTE!

Sweet Gummi Mary! I'd been ready to tell Farmer H to go have a look, and maybe bring that little dog to the Mansion!

When I told Farmer H of my canine identification faux pas, he said, 

"I've seen some over by So-and-So's mom and dad's house."

"You know I have no idea who that is, or where they live! Is it around here?"

"Yeah. Just over by the auto body place. About a mile from here, and a mile from where you just saw that one. People out here have been saying they hear them at night."

"Maybe that's what the dogs bark all night long. Maybe one of THEM pooped on the porch over by the garage."

"Nah. That was Jack."

"Why do you always blame JACK? He has lived here five years! WHY would he poop on the porch NOW? And only once?"

"I caught him peeing by the kitchen door the other morning."

"That's pee. Copper Jack and him take turns marking the house, I think. But you know every time you blame Jack for pooping, it's been the cat. And I haven't seen the cat in about two weeks. He could hardly walk across the porch, he's so old and weak now. He must be (or have been) 15 or 16 years old."

"I don't know. I guess maybe a coyote could come up on the porch. But you'd see hair in its poop."

"I didn't look that close."

"I did."

Sure, Farmer H looked for hair in poop on the porch that he said was Jack's. His argument skills are not that great.

First coyote I've ever seen. And in broad daylight, too.

I looked up some pictures of Missouri coyotes later. They looked more yellow than the one I saw. Which was definitely gray. Maybe it's an age thing, maybe they come in a range of colors. I don't want to see one again to compare!

Friday, February 26, 2021

Maybe The Pony Needs To Tie A String Around His Hoof As A Reminder

I am slack-jawed with bewilderment at a college graduate who cannot accomplish the most basic tasks of daily living! Not trying to pick on The Pony. No animosity here. Not even after HIS PHONE locked the kitchen door on me before I could make it in from the garage with my magical elixir. I'm only trying to understand the thought process in that seemingly empty noggin.
We had two boxes of Ritz Crackers on the kitchen counter. The kind with individual sleeves of 11-13 round tasty crackers. I eat them with a salad, and save part in my lair for a late-night snack. Farmer H got a box as a Christmas gift from The Veteran, with Oberle Sausage and cheese. Since the original family box was open, we set Farmer H's box of Ritz on the counter behind it.

For a couple of weeks, I'd reach into the open box of Ritz, and grab AN OPEN PACK, with 3-4 crackers left inside. Sweet Gummi Mary! I don't want somebody else's leftovers! WHO does that? Who cannot eat 11-13 crisp buttery round Ritz crackers in a day?

I interrogated The Pony, because he was handy. Right there in the kitchen as I was putting a sleeve of Ritz on my lunch tray beside my salad.
"I am SO tired of reaching in and getting already-opened crackers! That's the LAST pack in this box. Open! With three crackers! I'm not even dealing with that. I'm opening the new box. I can't believe somebody left THREE crackers, just to say they 'didn't eat them all' and avoid throwing away the box."

"Huh. It's not ME! Who would do something like that? It has to be Dad! I'll eat them, though."

The Pony took out the crackers and started munching. Didn't take him long. I could hear him crunching while I added a plastic fork to my tray, and counted out three iced animal cookies for my dessert. Store-bought, not Ponytail Guy free!

Anyhoo... The Pony carried my tray down to my lair. I ate half my crackers, twisted the wrapper for later, and forgot about interrogating Farmer H during our evening session of "It's time to talk about the most recent thing you've done wrong."

The next day I was getting out some Country Mart Deli ciabatta bread (the shelves had been bare of any other bread, due to people stocking up for the big snowstorm). Right there on the counter sat the EMPTY BOX of Ritz Crackers.

"PONY! Come in here!"


"I can't believe you ate the last three crackers, and LEFT THE EMPTY BOX on the counter! Don't even give me an excuse. I was standing right there when you ate them. You know you did!"

"Um. Yeah. I guess I just forgot."
I can only imagine what his college apartment must have looked like.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

What A Difference A Day Makes

It's Thursday, and I'm out running errands. So different from last week, when I couldn't get out, due to the snow! Bank, gas, post office, scratchers, Burger King! The freedom is great, but the weather is even better. Since I'm typing this at 2:51 a.m., I can't go out and take a picture. But I can give you one from Tuesday! Which was much nicer than the below-freezing temps on Monday.

That's 71 degrees, baby! And you can see how glassy my glass-back phone really is, I think it gives a better reflection than T-Hoe's mirror!
This picture was taken on the road that runs between the back of Dairy Queen, and my pharmacy. The building in the distance is the rat poison factory where our Neighbor Tommy got his first job. First job since his mom died, and we bought him that car. It seems like forever ago, but it was just a couple years. Maybe three.
Anyhoo... such a delightful change in the weather. My last errand day was like this:
That's the Sis-Town Casey's. You might think that the parking lot is clear past the snow, but it wasn't! That was slushy ice. I risked life and knees to get across that span to pay for T-Hoe's gas. 
Technically, the title should be What A Difference 12 Days Makes. Since that's the time that elapsed between the two photos.

I'm kind of glad Farmer H did my errands on the Thursday in between.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Reporter Becomes The Story

Mrs. HM is guilty of eavesdropping at the Gas Station Chicken Store again. Only THIS time, she overheard herself. Maybe somebody in line was mentally getting a blog post ready. Good luck, somebody in line! I'm going to scoop your story!
I sat in T-Hoe for a few minutes, gathering up my correct 44 oz Diet Coke change, and sorting through my winners to cash in for new scratchers. When I eased out, slowly stretching my sore knee before attempting to walk around the corner, a guy at the gas pumps hollered to me!
"Those roads are something, huh!"
Well. Short of my sister the ex-mayor's wife sending him to stalk me and embarrass me about the condition of T-Hoe's muddy flanks... I figured it must be somebody from our enclave.
"They sure are!"
I have no idea who that guy was. He was pumping gas into a white van. Not a white raper van. A more modern white van, with black trim, and more angular lines. He was tall. With a bald head. Almost shaved-Telly-Savalas-bald. In jeans and a white t-shirt with some kind of company name on the back, faded. I felt I had done my part to respond, and hobbled inside.
As I was putting the lid on my magical elixir, I saw the ersatz Kojak at the counter, paying for gas, and getting a draw ticket. He took the red tear-off tickets that are handed out for a gas drawing, and stepped back to put them in the drawing box.
"You know we have a bridge out, and the road is closed."
"Bridge out?"
"The one over on the back side."
"Oh. Farmer H mentioned that to me, but I don't go out that way."
"I called the county, and told them how much traffic we have on our road, with people using it for a detour. I asked if they'd haul us two loads of gravel, to help with the potholes. They said no."
"Well, it doesn't hurt to ask! We have more potholes in front of our BARn field than anywhere else on the road. I don't know HOW we got so many!" [not from the cut-through traffic, because we're on a side road dead end]
"Hey, when it was packed down with the snow, wasn't it just like driving on blacktop?"
"YES! That was great!"
"Well. Except for the guy who took out that pole and cut our electric."
"You know who that was, don't you?"
"Probably that kid."
"It was the LAWYER'S kid! He turned 18 that day, and then slammed into the pole. Not a good birthday." 
[I had to clarify the KID part, because I think he meant our next door neighbor Copper Jack's human daddy's grandson, who has been in hot water for driving too fast, and put on blast by his grandma, so everybody is supposed to tattle on him to her on Facebook if we see him going too fast.]
"Yeah. At least they got it fixed."
"At least his dad is a lawyer!"
Heh, heh. That was the end of our little reunion, me and a guy whose identity I still don't know. Farmer H told me his name, upon description, and what he does. But it means nothing to me. He's just a friendly bald buy who lives out here and would probably stop to help me if T-Hoe broke down along the road to town.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

I'm Still Havin' Fun And They're Still The One

The Gas Station Chicken Store does not disappoint! They're my go-to story generator! Another tale fell into my nonexistent lap on Sunday. I was the only customer for a few minutes. The clerk greeted me as I walked by to the Fountain of Magical Elixirs. She and Rainbow Feather are the only two who've been working my shift.

"How are you today?"

"About half as good as I was yesterday, but I'm gettin' by."

"Oh. Didn't I cash TWO hundred-dollar winners for you yesterday?"

"Oh, yeah. I just twisted my knee before I left, and I'm hobbling around. But yeah, the money situation is good! They're put away! They'll probably be casino money."

"I haven't been to a casino in a long time."

"I think we're going tomorrow, to the one in Casino Town."

"That's my mom's favorite."

"We like it too. Better than that one in the city we used to go to."

"I got thrown out of there the last time I went!"

By now I was up at the counter.

"Oh, no! What did you DO?"

"Well. That's just it. I don't know."

"Did you get mouthy? Or were you drinking? I've read that they'll throw you out for that at the drop of a hat."

"I guess it was for something I actually did the time BEFORE. But I don't know what it was! All I know is that I walked in and put my player's card in the slot machine, and all at once security showed up and escorted me out!"

"Well. I hope you aren't banned!"

Heh, heh. She seems so friendly and easy to get along with. Now I wonder why she got tossed from the casino. I guess she can go to the one in Casino Town. For now...

Monday, February 22, 2021

The Denizens Of Hillmomba Are Good Providers

I can always count on Hillmombans to provide me with a tale that brings laughter, outrage, commiseration, or perhaps, like the 11:00 a.m. alcoholic that needed a dollar for the smallest bottle of whiskey, ALARM.
Saturday was no exception. I was in my favorite story-generating establishment, the Gas Station Chicken Store. While I was filling my foam cup with 44 oz of Diet Coke, a lady standing at the counter digging through her purse turned to see how many customers were waiting. Just me.
"You can go ahead. I'm just talking." She was standing at the unopen register on the left. She turned back to talk to the clerk. "I've been busy. I'm keeping my daughter's three kids. She's been out of town with work, and couldn't get a flight back, because of the weather.
I was in here last week, and I guess I left my wallet. I didn't notice it, because I had the kids, and I didn't go anywhere else. They're  12, 14, and 15. They're not bad kids. They just keep me busy. Then I had to go to the store, and I couldn't find my wallet."

By that time, I had my magical elixir at the counter.

"Did you remember this is the last place you went?"

"Not really. I kept trying to remember."

The clerk added, "It was snowing a lot that night. I didn't see it on the counter until a while after you left. I didn't think of it as being yours. I only opened it far enough to see if there was ID with an address in it. Then I gave it to Woman Owner to keep in case somebody came back for it."
"I was in here asking about it. That little guy was working [Rainbow Feather]. I asked if he found a wallet, and he said, 'Can you tell me what's in it?' So I said, 'There's a twenty folded up and stashed in a secret pocket, and a Capitol One card. And three one-dollar bills.' He looked at it, and gave it back to me."
Sweet Gummi Mary! I don't know how she could remember where she was all that long ago. But I guess if she hadn't been out, due to taking care of those kids, it wouldn't be so hard.
Not like that time I drove around WITHOUT MY DRIVER'S LICENSE for TWO WEEKS when I'd left it in my gambling purse.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Such A Forgetful Family

Mrs. HM is not the only person to lose something around the Mansion. Technically, it was lost in T-Hoe, but at least my debit card, which once was lost, has now been found. The Pony was blind, but now he sees.

He's the newest loser, you know! And so soon after being a winner. 

On Friday, I took my $100 crossword scratcher to cash in, and also The Pony's $100 scratcher from his birthday. I accepted two $100 bills for them. When I got home, The Pony came out to carry in my Country Mart onions and oranges and lettuce and cheese. He put them away while I sorted out my tickets and money.

"Here's your $100 winnings. Put mine in my gambling purse. In that pouch I use for my casino bankroll."

Off went The Pony to the living room on his mission. Then he came back to the kitchen for some pretzel sticks from Dairy Queen. We continued in our daily routine.

Saturday, I called The Pony to the living room.

"I'm getting ready to leave for town. Is there anything you want?"

"Yeah. Get me a lottery ticket. The 200X ticket. I'll get you a winner to cash in for it. Oh, Mom. Did I leave my $100 bill on the back of the couch yesterday?"

"Nooo... I would have seen that when I walked by."

"Oh. Okay. I guess I stuffed it in my billfold with some other loose money I have in there. I have some left from the last casino trip."

"I didn't see a hundred on the floor or the couch. So I guess you did."

"Yeah. I must have not been sure how much I had."

When I got back home, The Pony put on a jacket and came out to carry in some cherry pie filling I'd gotten for the clandestine yogurt Farmer H smuggled home from the Ponytail Guy on Friday. Back in the kitchen, I put stuff away. Just the pie filling, bananas, and hot dog buns. Usually The Pony does that for me. He was busy scratching his ticket. Loser.

The Pony came back in the kitchen to throw away his loser. He stood there to talk, and put his hands in his jacket pockets.

"Huh. THERE'S that hundred I was looking for."

Indeed. The Pony pulled a $100 bill out of his jacket. We seem to be a bit lax in taking care of our financial resources around the Mansion.