Maggie is a wonderfully caring dog. She told me she wanted us to move back home to help my sister-in-law (http://winsteadremission.wordpress.com) feel better. Maggie knows that nothing cures the ill like a wet nose and a belly rub. I loaded the vehicle full of the usual necessities for a road trip-Slim Jims, gallons of water, semi-automatic weapons and 2, 500 rounds of ammunition- and a way we went.
Along the way we met some really nice people. We hadn’t gotten too far when Her Ladyship requested a break to powder her nose. We met a man who told us a story: Once upon a time, on that mountain right there, a nice lady lived. It was her mountain; she owned it. (! you can own a mountain? “Sure,” he said…”Its just a piece of ground with a pointy top, ain’t it?”) This nice woman had a pool built on the plateau on the western side. She’d let all the kids from around the mountain come and play and swim. But to get up there, the kids would have to climb ladders drilled into the side of the rock faces. Eventually, the crows took over. Mean crows. Crows that eventually pecked the ladders to death. Now that lady is dead and because of probate laws, its now a State Park. Bummer. Moral of the story: you can own a mountain, but you’d better get your paper work in order.
We stopped at many a drive-thru (not one McDonald’s, though!) and Maggie did not appreciate the people putting their hands into our vehicle. She tried to eat them. It was a very good thing she was all buckled in for safety, or the Arby’s guy and the Starbucks’ girl would look like Captain Hook. One Starbucks, however, had a really nice guy named Joe working the window. He gave Maggie a treat: whipped cream on a lid. Her Ladyship greatly appreciated that and is now petitioning for Joe to be awarded a Knightship. “Sir Joe, the Mocha Steward, Keeper of the Cream”.
In the mountains of Tennessee, I met an elderly fella who owns a gun shop. It wasn’t really a shop, it was more like a garden shed. That shed, however, could provide firepower to a small army and make Rambo weep. And this gent must’ve fought for the Confederacy, because he was saltier than the ocean. Anyway, this old guy mounts the scope on my rifle for me. He said, “This yours?” “Yes, sir.” “What you gonna do with it?” -grinning, I said, “Shoot stuff.” He looks me up and down and says, “I reckon so.” (Remington 700 Verminter, 26″ heavy barrel). He sights it way in… we went out to his range and he made a shot that was so far away, I had to have a telescope to see it. “You got ammo?” “Yes, sir.” “Bring me one.” Yeah. He said, “Bring me one.” and made a shot over 800 meters away with my cheap little scope. I couldn’t stop grinning like a complete idiot.
He complimented my dog, which made Maggie and me very happy. I hadn’t told anyone why I was driving half-way across the country before that stop; but he asked me and I felt compelled to tell him the whole story…Laura being so sick, the kids changing schools, my husband’s job… This old man with three teeth in his head took a deep breath and sort of looked up at the sky. His eyes were very blue, like my Dad’s. I hadn’t noticed his eyes until he looked up at the sky because he wore a beat up old Tennessee Volunteers ball cap that had seen many, many better days. Then he said, “I reckon that sister of yours’ll be just fine. The Good Lord don’t need no more angels up yonder just yet. She’ll perk up. You’ll see.” I cried. Old guys just know these things, you see.
When we got home, I unpacked my bag from his little shop and found two boxes of ammunition for my .45acp that I had not purchased. The old goat snuck some goodies in my bag. There is kindness still yet to be found in this world.
After two days of driving through mountains, sunshine, rain, and stopping for some photography breaks, we made it home. We’re now living upstairs at my in-laws’ house in my husband’s old room; thankfully, his little sister painted the bathroom purple before she grew up and got herself married. 🙂 Laura is very grateful to Maggie, although Maggie is very self-depricating and insists the move is no big deal. Maggie now has a great deal more hair than Laura because of the chemo, but she assured Laura that fur isn’t all its cracked up to be. Anyway, Laura has a cool sock monkey hat and Maggie doesn’t, so that more than evens the score.
Pray for Laura and the rest of us. When Laura gets all better, she’s gonna want to run and shop and play…Maggie will be the only one that will be able to keep up with her.
(Well, dang…I deleted all the photos from the trip while converting over to Aperture. Maggie insists that if she had opposable thumbs, she would never be so clumsy. I believe her. Please forgive the lack of photos…there will be more soon. …if I can figure this thing out…)