Saturday, September 10, 2011

Riding the CTA

I'm a native Californian. Until two months ago when I arrived in Chicago with no car I have never ridden a bus or train except as a rare lark. Now public transportation is my only means of getting from here to there. Fortunately, the Chicago Transit Authority is rightly celebrated as being one of the best transit systems in the world. You can get anywhere, from here to there... and then from there to there further, on to there elsely and, eventually, your destination... if you just have a map, a transit schedule, a compass, an Eagle Scout badge and a the patience of Job. Through a simple yet sometimes confusing series of transfers and queries for direction you will eventually arrive for just $2.25, total plus a quarter for unlimited transfers.

You just have think of it as an adventure.

On the CTA you can set out for a Sunday farmers market and return home nine hours later with two fully ripened avocados.

You can haul a package to the post office and have it arrive at grandma's house in Des Moines before you reach your front porch.

One day I didn't feel like walking the two blocks to the train station so I took another train to get there even though it took half an hour and I had to stand the entire way, crushingly, intimately close to a bunch of people to whom I had not been introduced.

I'm sure this all sounds terrible to my California friends and family but I am saving several hundred dollars a month by not buying gas. And frankly, being alone in the big city I have nothing but time on my hands. I've read two full books while riding trains and buses. Plus, I've met some -- shall we say interesting? -- people.

More on that later. I have to be at work in three hours and it's twelve miles away. I must run to catch my rides!

Copyright 2011, David L. Williams

Monday, September 5, 2011

Chicago Is...

I've been in Chicago for two months now. I'll be moving into the house we've rented later this week. It's a beautiful old home on a beautiful old street. I can't wait for Carolann and the girls to join me here.

The city is gorgeous in summer but yesterday, a change blew in from Great Lake Michigan. The hot, muggy days and nights that greeted me on my arrival suddenly turned to a hint of Fall with chilly nights. I will admit some trepidation as I face the gradual arrival of the Arctic winters here I've heard so much about.

And so, as I wave goodbye to my first summer in the Second City, I post this slide show I put together with my cell phone camera just to remind me four months from now what awaits us in the Spring.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

City of the Big Shoulders

Sixteen days after my arrival in the town that Carl Sandburg dubbed the "City of the Big Shoulders" I am still fascinated; still excited.

It's July and Chicagoans are just adorable. The blistering, humid heat makes everybody on foot soak through their shirts in less than a block, though it is only 8 a.m.

Most of us lug computer bags and backpacks as we walk the streets of Chicago. Most of us wear loose cotton shirts and pants to work. A lot of men wear shorts. You see very few suits, sport coats and ties. That's smart. After just sixteen days even I know those suit-and-tie guys are business travelers trying to earn their freedom, comfort and confidence.

Mid-Westerners are smart and practical. We dress as comfortably as we wish while still looking respectable; neat, clean and simple.

My wild West-Coast Hawaiian prints have no place here except in a box.

Staggering through beautiful streets in the steamy heat we mostly keep our heads down so the perspiration doesn't drip onto our shirts and blouses. Occasionally we look up, nod, and give a pained but encouraging smile to our brothers and sisters who pass us on the sidewalk. We're all in this together.

We have many destinations but one common goal: to just get where we're going.

Chicagoans don't complain.

The City of the Big Shoulders doesn't suffer weather, it wears it with a shrug, a wink and a wry grin.

Everybody here  loves to warn me about the coming brutal winter. They tease and bait me. I think they're trying to goad the guy from Southern California into whining about the heat and humidity; they want me to worry about snowfall and the coming icy Arctic wind

I'm having no part of it. I have big shoulders.

I'm a Chicagoan.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Real Estate Ads

Over the past few months of unemployment I've had conversations with potential employers that never quite came to fruition but got close enough to send me online to look at homes for sale or rent in other cities. In checking the real estate sites nationwide, left coast to right, I have found a common thread:


I suppose that's harsh. It's certainly not nice though I hope it has a lovable ring to it. Maybe it's just that some real estate brokers have no marketing skills. Not everybody does. But I have read some outstanding ads on eBay written by Joe and Jane Lunchbox that make me think this is a particularly virulent form of ineptitude among real estate agents.

To begin with, all real estate agents have their own pictures on everything: their business cards, newspaper ads, bus benches and websites. They all look nice and clean and happy. But you know what might make me more likely to call them? A picture of a house I know I can't afford.

Show me my dream home. That's what makes my heart go pit-a-pat, not Jack and Jill Darling freshly-showered and nicely dressed for the kill.

When they do give me pictures of a particular house I sometimes wonder if they asked a nine-year-old in the neighborhood to take it. Mostly, I get to see the garage door and often a tree blocking the entryway and front porch. Sometimes I get to see a car blocking the front of the "storybook cottage" which needs "just a little TLC".

Just once I actually saw one I was interested in buying -- the car, not the house.

The inside pictures are usually the most maddening. Just today I went to a website advertising a luxury townhouse in a highly desirable big city neighborhood and it included three pictures: one of the weight room, which I am no more likely to use than if the complex had its own whore house. The second was a picture of the master bedroom. Just the bed, actually. (Nice comforter! And what is the thread count on those sheets?) And the third picture was of a toilet and sink.

Friends, I don't care where you live in this great land -- a toilet is a toilet and 98% of them come in white.

Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm different than everybody else. When I'm looking for a new home I want to love the location, how it looks from the outside, and I want to see the warmth and comfort of the family and entertaining areas. I want to be excited about the house and I want the house to love me back.

I just assume it has a toilet and a room for my bed.

Maybe I'm the nutball. I want to feel comfortable with my realtor but we're never going to meet if he or she just shows me pictures of the themselves, the toilet, the kitchen sink or the absolute worst feature I have seen in marketing:

A chair, half a drape and a piece of a potted plant.

Seriously, I pulled this picture from an online real estate ad and I didn't crop anything out of it.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

"It breaks your heart."

A writer who loves baseball must be careful. It's too easy to slip into flowery purple prose about the game and I'm already prone to over-writing. Besides, the love of baseball has already been written with soul-stirring elegance by the likes of Roger Kahn, Roger Angell, Red Smith, George Will, Jim Murray, Joshua Prager, Ken Burns and many others.

This morning  I started watching the Ken Burns documentary, Baseball, for the third or fourth time and for reasons I understand in my heart but can't put into words it still chokes me up. I get teary and a lump in my throat. It's that good, cleansing, happy emotion that makes you feel young, fresh and wholesome again.

The memories melt years from my body; I remember how I felt when my legs were lean, strong and swift and my arms were powerful.

I could smash a fastball to the moon and run like the wind all day with a huge smile on my barely sweating, freckled face. I can still remember the smell of freshly mowed grass under a cool March sky of scooting, fluffy clouds.
The base paths are wet from last night's rain. One leaden, water-soaked, torn-cover baseball is heaved toward the mud that immerses home plate. I swing my glued, nailed, taped bat. Foul ball. Pitcher and batter are enthralled by the escalating drama.

See? There I go, pushing the flowery purple envelope. When you love baseball you just can't help it. It's a disease you catch as a child and it festers joyously for a lifetime. As the great sports writer Pete Hamill once wrote:

"Don't tell me about the world.  Not today.  It's springtime and they're knocking baseballs around fields where the grass is damp and green in the morning and the kids are trying to hit the curve ball."

Pete Hamill has the delicious disease of his youth.

Here are more of my favorite quotes about the game from the men who played it professionally and fed the dreams of the rest of us who still believe we could have:
"You can't sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock.  You've got to throw the ball over the goddamn plate and give the other man his chance.  That's why baseball is the greatest game of them all."  ~Earl Weaver

"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball.  I'll tell you what I do.  I stare out the window and wait for spring."  ~Rogers Hornsby
"I don't care how long you've been around, you'll never see it all."  ~Bob Lemon

"It breaks your heart.  It is designed to break your heart.  The game begins in spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone."  ~Bart Giamatti, "The Green Fields of the Mind," Yale Alumni Magazine, November 1977

"During my 18 years I came to bat almost 10,000 times.  I struck out about 1,700 times and walked maybe 1,800 times.  You figure a ballplayer will average about 500 at bats a season.  That means I played seven years without ever hitting the ball."  ~Mickey Mantle, 1970

"The pitcher has to find out if the hitter is timid.  And if the hitter is timid, he has to remind the hitter he's timid."  ~Don Drysdale

"Every player should be accorded the privilege of at least one season with the Chicago Cubs.  That's baseball as it should be played - in God's own sunshine.  And that's really living."  ~Alvin Dark
"You gotta be a man to play baseball for a living, but you gotta have a lot of little boy in you, too."  ~Roy Campanella
"When they start the game, they don't yell, 'Work ball.'  They say, 'Play ball.'"  ~Willie Stargell
"You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time."  ~Jim Bouton, Ball Four

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pomp and Circumstance

The proper title of the piece is Pomp and Circumstance March 1 in D. It was composed by Sir Edward Elgar in 1901 and takes its name from Act III, Scene III in Shakespeare's Othello:

"Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, th'ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner, and all quality,
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!"

Today we know it as The Graduation March. It escorts all high school and college graduate candidates into and from the solemn and joyous, yet bittersweet ceremonies that set them gently on the next path of their lives. We've all been there and if you took it in the proper spirit of the moment there's no way you can be unmoved by hearing the music nor just a bit wistful for your own younger, simpler life.

Our niece, Christina Conley, graduated from Patrick Henry High School in San Diego this week and Carolann and I drove down to pay her homage. Christina is Carolann's brother's and sister-in-law's daughter but she is also the vicarious daughter neither of us ever had. She pretty, she's smart, she's fun and she's a good person with a virtuous heart.

I don't get to talk with Christina much. She hugs me and smiles with familial respect but I don't want to be one of those old-fart uncles who makes embarrassing remarks and offers unsolicited advice. I don't want to pry into her life but I'm sure curious about her interests and passions, her hopes and dreams. She has an excellent mind nurtured by her loving parents and grandparents. She also has a gleam in her eyes that tells me she's excited to be alive and to have the whole world opening to her. 

She reminds me of myself at her age.

High school graduation, poised between sweet, secure childhood and exciting, though treacherous, adult opportunities; young, beautiful and relatively pure, we are arrived at the greatest single moment of our lives. 

As I watched the Patrick Henry class of 2011 walk proudly, with great dignity and yet with goofy displays of the joyous child that still lives near the surface in each of them, I thought back to my own high school graduation and realized something: 

The joy of youth lives in us forever. The trick is to not bury it in disappointments, which are inevitable, and bitterness, which is nothing more than childish pouting. 

We still love you but after today nobody will dry your tears and give you an ice cream cone. Get over it. Get on with it. We still love you.

43 years and two days since my own high school graduation. 

It sounds so long but it lived so fast.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Phone books, Girl Scout cookies and circumcision

Remember telephone books? Well, of course you do. Just because anybody anywhere in the world can be found in fifteen seconds on a computer or mobile phone doesn't mean we're finished with phone books. We can't be, we get four or five of them on our doorstep every year.

I followed a fascinating conversation on Facebook this morning which began with the news announcement that San Francisco has decided to ban the unsolicited delivery of phone books. To politically conservative me it's another laughable example of how local and state governments are assuming control over the simplest matters of our personal lives. It's what some of us like to call the Nanny State. Of course, blaming "government" in a generic sense is easy and fashionable. The fact is, they do these things because a lot of people want them to.

This isn't a political column, it really isn't. Though I do think it is worth noting that San FranNanny (oops, sorry...that just slipped out) has already banned McDonalds Happy Meals and has an issue on next November's ballot that would outlaw circumcisions. (I know...right?)

And now, phone books.

From the reactions I read on Facebook this morning it seems a lot of people are spitting mad about having to dispose of a phone book they didn't ask for and won't use. I'm not kidding, this is a big deal to some folks. Personally, I think a phone book is very easy to throw away and as it doesn't happen more than occasionally it's just not high on my list of things that stress me out.

I don't use phone books anymore, except very rarely to balance a table with one short leg. Since you're reading this on a computer you probably don't use phone books, either, but a lot of people still do. How do I know that? Easy. Phone books will disappear from American life when they cease to be profitable.

As I thought about it I realized there are a couple of fairly serious issues at hand here. First of all, if we're going to ban phone books from being dropped on the porch, why stop there? How about outlawing junk mail? Ye gads! I have to throw that stuff away every single day! It's enough to make a preacher spit!

And what about those business cards people leave in my screen door offering to mow my lawn or fix my plumbing? And free weekly local newspapers I didn't subscribe to and the Pennysaver?

I have to put that stuff in a trash can all by myself!

As long as we're passing laws to restrict people's ability to advertise their products and services because old-fashioned neighborhood commerce now annoys us, I say it's high time to crack down on those pesky Girl Scouts hawking their damned cookies outside the supermarket. (That's not only annoying, it's deadly! Have you read the caloric and sugar content on those boxes? Somebody needs to file a class-action suit against these cute, young tools of corporate America!)

I'm being sarcastic and silly, right? Somebody will do it. Mark my words, before much longer somebody will stop Girl Scouts from selling their cookies.

My money's on San Francisco.

If phone books on the porch are one of our biggest problems I think America is in far better shape than I imagined. On another level, though, I am a bit worried about our society.

It seems to me we're becoming awfully self-centered, lazy, pissy and intolerant of each other.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Snarkiness is an American royal pain

The royal wedding of William and Catherine was achieved today amid all the pomp and over-the-top ceremony the world expects of such events and I think it's wonderful. We can well use more royal romance and less political bickering and personal nastiness. What really has me close to the boiling point is the contentious snarkiness I've been reading and hearing for the past few days from Americans who can't seem to find anything nice to say about anybody, much less the royal couple.

If you'll pardon the implied vulgarity, when did being an a-hole become cool?

The word, "snarky" by the way, is an actual word going back to the early 20th century. It is defined as "irritable, unpleasant and scornful." Though, ironically in this case, the word may be British in origin I'd have to say it has become as American as the disrespectful and snotty attitude it displays. American society today is rife with nastiness. Even as we're in a concerted national effort to teach our children to neither tolerate or be a party to bullying others it seems a huge percentage of adults can't follow their own advice.

What I really don't understand is the need so many seem to have to criticize and scorn people, events and traditions for which they have no personal affinity. You don't like the royal wedding? Don't watch! But keep your rude, nasty, sarcastic comments to yourself. You're bringing me down and I resent it.

Seriously, look at these kids. They're beautiful. They're happy and they're performing a real-life Disneyesque fairytale ritual. What's wrong with that?

This habit of compulsively expressing rude, unsought opinions and displaying offensive disrespect for others has become a national epidemic. The ugly American is everywhere and I am deeply ashamed of us.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Morning song, the reason for the road

Morning is God's way of gently shaking me awake with a smile and saying, "Get up, knothead. You're not finished yet."

I love mornings, by God. Always have. And by morning I mean a half hour or so before dawn. It's the grand reawakening of my little corner of the world. Sunrise, birds, the dew; the works.

Sunrise outside my home in Southern California is always spectacular. Sunrise everywhere is spectacular, amid mountains, deserts and seascapes. Even urban alleys and poor, blighted neighborhoods are washed by a hopeful light at dawn regardless of weather and transitory human circumstance.

A new day. A thing of beauty and grace.

I'll turn 60 in a few months. Though I've missed a few along the way I estimate I have had the thrill of experiencing nearly 20-thousand sunrises so far. I don't mean to be greedy but I'd sure like to see a few thousand more.

And, isn't there something extra special about a sunrise on the open road, away from home? 

Whether holed up in a cheap motel, staying with family or, best of all, waking up in my RV in some exciting new place, daybreak feels like the Christmas mornings of my childhood: promises of wonder in yet unopened gifts.

I'll take mornings wherever I find them. 

I'm not finished yet.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The wacko neighbor next door

I'm a dog lover. They not only make me happy, they inspire me to try to be a better man.

What other animal is always thrilled to see you, no matter how grumpy or mean you might be? Name one other creature whose only desire is to love and be loved in return?

I think dogs are God's gift to us as a reminder of how He loves us unconditionally. (And yes, I know "dog" is "God" spelled backward but the etymologists assure us that's just a coincidence.)

Cricket and me
I have loved a lot of dogs in my long life but none so much as the Yorkshire
terrier I bought Carolann as a gift eleven years ago. Only a few weeks old at the time, we named her Cricket for the way she hopped through the grass of our front lawn, grass that came up to her tiny chest. Cricket, or, as we often call her, our "Baby Girl", stole our hearts when we first laid eyes on her and she owns us, still.

When we first brought Cricket home I commenced the potty training. I would take her outside in the back yard every hour or two and command her to "go potty." She's a smart baby girl and she would learn quickly.

Our Baby Girl
One evening, shortly after dusk, I took her into the backyard and we began going through the exercise. "Go potty, Cricket," I said. Curious puppy that she was she ignored me and sniffed and poked around the yard while I continued to give the command, firmly yet kindly.

It was a lovely spring evening. A single cricket (the insect, not the dog) was chirping. I eventually became aware that our next-door neighbor was in his yard across the fence. The fence was tall enough that we couldn't see each other but I was aware of his movements and he could hear me, of course.

Here's what he heard:

A single cricket chirping.

And, me saying, "Go potty, Cricket! Cricket, go potty. Go potty for Daddy!"

Copyright © 2011, Dave Williams. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Crippling honesty from the eight-year-old

These are the precise words we exchanged not five minutes ago:

Isaiah: (Hollering from downstairs.) "Grandpa!"

Me: "What?"

Isaiah: "Can we take the dogs for a walk and maybe go around the block or down to the park? I'm just asking."

I half-hear him, half-think for only a moment.

Me: "Maybe. That sounds like a good idea. Let me finish a couple of things. Then I'll think about it."

Isaiah: (Still downstairs) "Okay. I love you!"

Me: (Mindlessly, back to my writing) "I love you, too."

Isaiah: "I'm saying that because I want to convince you to take the dogs for a walk. (slight pause) But also because I really do love you."

And so it begins.

 Copyright © 2011, Dave Williams. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Of Fish and Men

My dad, Don Williams, was born and raised in Wyoming. 

About fifty-five years ago he and his dad taught me to fish swift trout streams in blinding snowstorms.

I fished the Yellowstone River for the first time when I was only four or five. It was January in the mid-1950s, a stiff wind and vicious, blowing snow stung my tender cheeks and scared me. I grabbed my daddy's leg. He briefly caressed my head with his free hand just to let me know he was there for me.

Then he cast that Super Duper lure back upstream and continued reeling in the line.

A monstrous, lazy moose stood about fifteen feet away, knee-deep in the rapid, frigid Yellowstone, chewing on green river plants and looking at me with scant interest. The nearly-frozen river, the icy wind and snow, didn't bother that moose in the least. Certainly, he had no fear of me.

My dad, Donald, and his dad, Lester Williams, fished with a religious fervor.

For one thing, it was the only way they could hope to enjoy fresh trout for dinner. More than that, though, they embraced God's challenge that they provide for themselves and their families and be grateful for His bounty.

I loved my dad and grandpa. I wanted to be like them.

I'm a California kid just trying to hold onto family traditions. Yet, I occasionally have to jettison them when they no longer serve a practical purpose. 

My son liberated me from fishing nearly thirty years ago.

Jeremy was about six or seven. I took him camping into Northern California's Plumas-Eureka Campground. He had caught his first fish there when he was just five, back when he was still anxious to learn from me and to please me with his effort. 

(He still is and does, of course. I'm just sayin'...)

By the early 80s -- just a year or two after his fish harvesting experience -- he was thinking for himself:

"Dad," he said seriously and with no hint of sarcasm, "you know we can buy fish at the grocery store, right?"

He was right, of course, just as my dad and his dad were right in their time and place. 

We have all been right together, forever.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

21st Century Kindergarten

Our five-year-old grandson, Tyler, is in kindergarten.

(Generic Kindergarten class of 1956. I'm not in this picture.)
I actually remember my kindergarten days pretty clearly. Back then, in 1956, the kindergarten teachers had two classes each day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I was in Mrs. Armstrong's early class. It was an action-packed three hours of finger-painting, stacking giant blocks on top of each other, bouncing large, reddish-purple rubber balls on the playground and taking a nap on a cold linoleum floor with only a bath towel beneath us.

Now that I think about it I wonder why a bunch of five-year-olds needed a nap at 10:00 a.m.?  I can only guess that the first hour and a half or so of Mrs. Armstrong's day was pretty brutal.

Barbara Billingsly as June Cleaver
We didn't do anything even remotely academic. I think kindergarten in the 1950s was just intended to help us little tykes develop social skills. And, of course, it gave our moms, the June Cleavers and Margaret Andersons of our world, a little time to get a jump on their daily cleaning and cooking in their day dresses and pearl necklaces.

Boy, have things changed!

These days, as far as I can figure, kindergarteners don't do anything that doesn't have a clearly-defined educational purpose. I think it's great. They're still developing social skills but they're also getting a head start on reading, 'riting and 'rithtmetic. Makes sense to me. In 1979 I taught my son to read two and three letter words when he was two. Now his son reads, speaks Spanish and is learning fractions at age five.


I wasn't introduced to fractions until I reached the fifth or sixth grade.

Tyler's sixth birthday is coming up soon. I talked with him about it a couple of days ago in the car.

Tyler Goold Williams,
Five and 11/12ths years old.
"Tyler, your birthday is just a little more than three weeks away!" I enthused. "Do you know how long that is?"

"Soon!" he answered precisely.

"That's right! And, how old are you going to be then?" I asked, imagining myself the Art Linkletter of the 21st century.

"SIX!" He was really excited now.

"So, how old are you now?" I inquired, trying to help his elementary concept of mathematics.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Eyerocks, by Cheri

We all want to leave something behind. 

We desperately want to have mattered.

We want to believe that our lives were not coincidental and that somebody, a few years after we're gone, might be grateful that we passed this way.

Most of us can leave our footprints in the sands of time just by leading good lives and enriching the lives of those who love us. Surely, that's enough. We don't crave fame.

And yet, it would be nice to be remembered for doing one small, unique thing that touches others; to leave something of a legacy, a personal thank you for the life we lived and loved and wanted to share.

Please meet my friend, Cheri Fuller.

Cheri is a passionate 60-ish wife, mother, grandma, friend and artist. The world is full of Cheris, of course, but this one is ours. She's as uniquely gifted and personally delightful as nearly everybody whose name you'll never learn nor remember, except for one difference:

Cheri paints Eyerocks and leaves them scattered about in the spirit of Johnny Appleseed.

If you occasionally wander the rivers, streams and the ocean beaches of Northern California, if you're really lucky, you may stumble upon an original Eyerock by Cheri. They are individually simple and yet magnificently striking works of art found lying about, here and there.

Eyerocks by Cheri are nothing more than a human endorsement of the fragile beauty of nature and a statement, that we humans are also part of Mother Nature's landscape.

We belong here and we matter in the grand scheme of things.

If you find one, turn it over carefully so as not to disrupt its canvas. You'll see this signature.

Take a picture. Take two or three.  You've discovered a treasure that is, as far as I can figure, a unique gift to the world.

But, please put it back where and how you found it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Early morning mental gymnastics

I slept until almost 7 a.m. this morning.

That's two hours later than usual. When I do that my body feels a bit lighter and less achy but it takes awhile for my brain to engage. I feel a little foggy-headed. But I've done this long enough to proceed with my early morning routine on cruise control.

I took the dogs outside and waited for them to finish their morning ablutions. Upon my return, my 8-year-old grandson presented me with my morning mental calisthenics:

"Grandpa, do you have a crane?"

My brain does a quick search through my mental file cabinet: "crane"...

"Crane" – noun:

1. any large wading bird of the family Gruidae, characterized by long legs, bill, and neck and an elevated hind toe.
2. a device for lifting and moving heavy weights in suspension.

I know the word, don't understand the question.

"A what?" I ask, blowing out the cobwebs as quickly as I can.

"A crane," he repeats patiently, "You know, to hold up your leg."

I know Isaiah very well and I know that when this conversation ends I will be slapping my face with Oliver Hardy-like consternation.

"I don't know what you mean," I tell him, perfect straight man that I am.

"You know," he explains again patiently, but with a growing sense of exasperation, "A crane to lean on so you don't have to put your weight down on your leg."


"You mean a CANE??" I ask, like the idiot I clearly am.
"YES!" he says, the exasperation arriving. "My leg hurts."

May God forgive me, I pulled rank on him. "Your leg is fine, go get ready for school!"

It never ends.

Copyright © 2011, Dave Williams. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

These dogs...

I’m watching our girls as they sleep off their stress.

I picked them up an hour ago from the groomer. They cried when I left them and they cried even louder when I returned.

They were thrilled that I had come back for them.

Home again, I let them out of their carriers and they smothered me with frantic, tail-wagging kisses even though I’m the guy who had left them in cages with a stranger.
Cricket and me.

I really don’t think they even remember that. I can't know for sure, of course.

These girls need Carolann and me for their very existence. We know that, but they don’t. They don’t think about how they would find food or warmth or safety if Carolann and I weren’t around.

They just snuggle between us in bed. 

They lick us their good-night kisses and go straight into a deep stress-free sleep, believing that they are in Heaven. It's enough for them. It's everything.

I think God gives us dogs to tell us how completely, selflessly and unconditionally He loves us.

Copyright © 2011 by David L. Williams all rights reserved
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