Monday, September 24, 2012


Dobro woke me up with joy, as usual, in the pre-dawn darkness. I was glad in a way because I wanted to check Suedey, my little rabbit, to make sure he survived the night. There's been a raisin turd stuck to his fur near one back leg that I'm using as a measure of the extent of his illness because he's as vain as a teenage boy in his grooming, normally keeping his fleece perfect. Lately he's been looking pretty moth-eaten. The vet checked him out thoroughly a few days ago, unable to find anything wrong with him. He seemed to be improving until yesterday when he pretty much shut down. Now he's barely eating, just hunched inside the cardboard box in his cage in the dark. He seems to like it when I stroke his nose and the base of his ears, but it alarms me how tufty his fur feels.

Tom and I were planning to go to a Country Fair at a historical farm today but it was just too chilly, so instead I brought Dobro to the nursing home and we hung out there for a few hours.

Before I talk about that, let me talk about HISTORICAL. A HISTORICAL FARM. NOT AN HISTORICAL FARM. I asked Daddy, an English teacher for thirty years, about the peculiar silent "h" in American English, how so many people are using "an" before words starting with "h." Daddy was a ready source of grammar wisdom for me and I feel bound to carry on his legacy. His thing was that the article "an" is to be used before spoken vowels, and therefore before silent "h." Therefore, if you say "honest" without the aspiration of "h" as it should be pronounced, then you would refer to "an honest person." Therefore, you would say "a hysterectomy" if you normally pronounced that "h." Therefore, you can say, "A hicky, a horse-sized hicky on the neck, is a happenin' thing for a hipster, but a hidden hicky is even better." A historical event for a hippie, to be sure.

Back to Tom. I draped him in the wool blanket that he got at the powwow a few weeks ago. It was a raffle prize, but the lady who won it presented it to him. Beyond the profuse thanks given to her at the occasion, I have no way to thank her but to pay it forward, to pass on the good. It is an incredible blanket, very warm and so vivid it makes your eyes vibrate.

Tom has always loved the Beatles, and recently we talked about adopting Paul's and his deceased wife Linda's vegan lifestyle, at the very least, a cruelty-free lifestyle. It takes steps to make the change since we are surrounded by a culture that takes so much for granted, but Tom was very clear in making strong single blinks to indicate, "YES!" A few days ago I found a local farm in our county where the couple has their own bees, chickens, turkeys, vegetables, fruits, flowers, and other products from local sources including maple syrup. I bought several items and used the beeswax cream to give Tom a foot massage.

I brought Tom some routine supplies, but also some other goodies. Since his big Abbey Road Beatles backpack had been chewed literally to bits by a frantic Tree Walking Coonhound that we were transporting, I got him a new one, bigger and better, and today was the first time he got to see it. It met with his approval, as I knew by his wide eyes and big affirmative blink, so I'll stock it with some necessities and hang it from the back of his wheelchair. I also brought along a couple of small raw wood birdhouses given to me for him by a friend so we can work on painting them together, again eliciting a long blink. What else? Some delicious colognes, some new socks, stuff like that.

At the recent Heritage Festival from a Native American vendor we had each got a small skin pouch  to be used as a medicine bag or spirit bag for "good medicine," containing personal items as well as herbs and crystals, that hang around the neck for strength and healing. At the powwow Tom was given some very special items as blessings. I brought some things from home for his bag, including his deceased father's crucifix, his old guitar pick, his black leather Camaro keyring, and some other things for him to examine. He was very glad to see them but I think so many mementos made him exhausted, too, so we'll finish the bag later. The main bag will stay at home in his room for safety, but I have an extra bag,  fringed black with blue beads, that we decided to use as a secondary bag to put on his bulletin board in his room at the nursing home.

After our dog's adventure at the flea market, I thought Dobro's visit to the nursing home wouldn't make him nervous, but there were WHITE MEN IN BLUE JEANS that left him trembling even though they were very kind to him. He's getting more and more accustomed to being around people but being approached by a person who strongly resembled his abuser was hard for him.

The happier news is that he's totally used to wearing bandanas. He wore one today bought at a recent dog rescue fundraiser, showing doggie skeletons and the words, "BAD TO THE BONE."

I have to say that I hadn't had any coffee Saturday, so by Sunday I was ready for some. I treated myself to a big steaming cup of Tim Horton's vanilla cappuccino. The bright blue sky and crisp autumn air made it taste soooooo delicious. I feel bad for Tom that the brain injury damaged his olfactory nerves, forever impairing his sense of smell, so food and drink are not only difficult to swallow for him, but they no longer taste as they did. Many years ago, before he was removed from home and institutionalized, he used to use the deaf hand sign for "S," a fist with the thumb in between the index and middle fingers, as the sign for "shit." One time I fixed him a sweet potato with lots of butter, something he had loved before his hiking accident, but he made a terrible face with the first bites. I asked him how it tasted, and he made the sign for "shit."I laughed at his expressiveness but it was a bit sad at the same time. It was no insult to my cooking, but a disappointment representing another loss in his life.

We spent a few hours outside together and then parted ways, each looking forward to our respective beds since we don't share one now except on special occasions. I was happy to spend time with him, especially since we are both marking the death anniversaries of our mothers this month. The bleakness of our parents' absence is ever present. It's weird how absence can be a presence, a kind of silence at the periphery that doesn't go away. Since the weather is warming up again this week, I'll try to plan a visit to their cemeteries for us. Daddy was cremated, so I can't be in his physical presence again, although I do carry a tiny gift from him in the medicine bag around my neck.

 When I got home and checked on Suedey the bunny, I was elated to discover that the raisin turd stuck to his leg was GONE! He ate some of his alfalfa pellets, the raw celery bits, and then half an apple. He came out of hiding a few times, leaving the cardboard box to be petted.

Tomorrow the new week begins.

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