Happy Birthday, Maddie!

My corgi girl is now fourteen.
A sweeter canine I’ve never seen.

She’s going white, I’m growing gray.
Yet we both know still how to play.

So full of love, this peaceful little dove.
Smiling up at me, and the blue sky above.

A beacon so bright, she’s been a delight.
My girl won’t leave me without a good fight.

Still, there will be a day, though not soon I pray.
When this good girl’s finally called far away.

I trust she’ll rest well, and I’ll then rest, too.
Knowing our love and deep friendship was true.

Happy Birthday, Dog

I celebrated my birthday last night with a can of Chef Boyardee.

Well, sort of.

Actually I’d gotten my real celebrating done early since I heard a few weeks ago that winter would be arriving on my birthday, which it did.

It’s amazing how the weather folks can nail down their predictions, but not those political prognosticators.

Anyway after scraping ice off my car locks I drove safely back home in snow and a howling wind. I could have picked up chow mein and chocolate cake, but putting the car to bed and grabbing a can from my personal blizzard bistro seemed much more inviting.

I partied briefly with the dogs afterwards, ignoring the big mess of papers on the floor from a bag of recycling I’d forgotten to take out in the morning. My terrier Tucker had been particularly tense and had torn them all up into tiny pieces.

It seemed the screen door near Tuck’s crate in the kitchen had been banging for hours from the 50 mph wind gusts.

We all decided to try to turn in early to stay warm, even though we knew it could be a restless one.

This morning still hearing those high winds and feeling a draft in the house my spirits sank some.

I got down on my hands and knees finally picking up the tiny bits of paper I’d ignored that were now lodged into the back of Tuck’s dog crate.

Looking out the window, I was blue looking up at the gray sky and the return of a frozen white landscape.

And I was likely blue as well from missing my big brother Scott whose birthday was today.

Being just one day shy of two years apart, we typically celebrated together until he passed away unexpectedly some years ago.

Scott was experiencing a few challenges right before he left us, but I’ve been reminded by my sister that he’d begun work on making changes in his life and “he’d even gotten a dog.”

‘Dog’ had always been Scott’s nickname.

And he loved every one of them.

As I was about to finish cleaning the crate, Tucker walked over and licked my hand just as the old Bing Crosby holiday song, “Counting My Blessings” began to play on NPR.

Suddenly a picture from a stack of old photos resting on a shelf in my kitchen slid down towards the floor.

As the rest of my canine crew trotted over my way, I picked up the photo.

I saw it was a picture of Scott and myself with a big birthday cake.

And I’m thinking it’s from the last celebration we shared.

“Happy Birthday, Dog!” I said softly walking out the door into the day with my little pack of blessings on leashes.

All was calm and the sun was bright once again.

And that’s another blessing for sure I thought, as I made myself a snow angel.

The perfect gift

Another birthday sails in to port later this month, but I’ve chosen to celebrate my gifts today.

We’ve been blessed with a November heat wave, a rare event here in the northern plains. Many years our snow shovels have already had a vigorous workout.

Yet this morning, my workout routine includes a barefoot walk on a sandy beach. I allow my tired, misshapen toes to wiggle in the chilly waters for a while before putting my socks and shoes back on.

I then walk towards the sunny and empty town docks, serenaded by a lone loon’s distinct yodel.

I find the notes are almost as crisp and clear as the morning air filling my lungs.

Selecting my favorite dock as a table, I remove half of my peanut butter and jelly sandwich from my back pack.

As I take my first bite, I notice the raspberry jam tastes sweeter and the oatmeal bread a little fresher than usual.

After I finish my lakeside breakfast, I cross the railroad tracks back towards my car to drive to work.

But I stop for a minute as I find another gift’s been planted just for me.

It’s the perfect surprise.

A bouquet of wild, late blooming sunflowers!

I pick a few and smile.

Their message might be the best birthday gift of all.

I may be in the autumn of my life, but I can still grow and shine as well.

April’s dog is full of grace

Today we celebrate a very good girl.
She loves everyone, she doesn’t chase squirrel.

At 13 years old, she’s still very bold.
Though I don’t have to scold, that heart’s full of gold.

In dogs years, I hear she’s now 91.
But my girl’s not done, she’s still having fun.

And though she is lame, this pup’s a grand dame.
Sure, days aren’t the same, her life’s a new game.

It’s one of sweet bliss, with joy she would miss.
So she soaks up the sun, oh…what a lucky one!

 

Moms, May and Magic

Every year I’d buy Mom the same gift in early May just as the pink and white crab apples trees would start smiling for the camera.

Mom’s present would be the best and brightest hanging plant of the season for the back porch.

But she wouldn’t receive hers on Mother’s Day like most moms.

My mother would receive her gift early on May 5.

It was Mom’s birthday.

With my own blooming apple trees as a canopy, I dragged a couple of old boxes out to my backyard last night with a goal of sorting through and tossing out most of the contents.

The first I discovered was full of Mom’s old photos. I almost closed the box before starting knowing this pastime wasn’t going to help my melancholy mood any.

Mom’s been gone for two years now.

But I kept going, throwing out tired old albums, duplicate photos, bad shots, and pictures of people I don’t know.

My sour mood remained, but I grabbed another box from the garage anyway.

Though this time I quickly dropped it when I heard something rattling inside.

A mouse maybe? A squirrel?

Yet it didn’t sound quite like either one.

The rattle had a lilting magical quality, like ‘fairy dust’ for the ears.

I opened the cardboard box slowly, and then saw the light.

Or maybe I should say ‘lights’.

There were plenty of them.

Hot pink, lemon yellow, royal blue, lime green.

And the colors were twirling faster and faster.

Right on top of a mini princess wand!

Instantly my last memory replayed of Mom together with my two year old granddaughter. I could see them smiling and giggling as they joyfully pushed the heart shaped buttons of the magical, musical toy.

Then underneath the wand I discovered more buried treasure.

Magnificent photos of my daughter with her own grandmother.

It’s my last memory of the two of them together as well.

Yet the magic still continues to this day.

My daughter will be forever blessed to share the same birthday, May 5, with her grandmother.

And my granddaughter will soon be receiving a slightly used but priceless princess wand from me.

I believe memories truly are a gift, but shouldn’t be left hung out to dry.

Instead the very best of them should continue to be lovingly recycled.