Saturday, November 12, 2005

Friday, November 11, 2005

Ozarks MisAdventure: Day Seven, Deer X and Our Return Home

This morning started differently. Mom awoke in a burst. We went for a quick walk. And while I ate my breakfast, she began gathering everything up. Auntie N cleaned and Mom took everything from the cabin and squeezed it compactly into the CRV.

What does this mean for me, I wondered. By that, I don't mean WHETHER I'm going... but WHERE I'm going.

Once in the car, I had a hard time settling down. I was thinking... the beach? Or Home Sweet Home. I would be satisfied with either, but the excitement was too great to contain.

We were going down a steep incline. Mom was commenting to the driver of the truck behind us, to please back off of our bumper. Remember, Auntie N was in the car. I'm pretty sure if it had just been the two of us, her language might have been a little more... explicit.

Then it happened.

Out of the woods on Mom's side of the car... a doe. I could clearly see that "OH NO" look in her eyes as she tried to change her trajectory. Mom was trying to slow down enough that the truck didn't hit us, but that the deer could pass in front of us.

It was not to be.

The doe hit the front fender and bounced back into the ditch on that same side of the road. She slid almost all the way to the bottom of the incline, hopped up and ran back into the woods.

The truck swerved around us in the oncoming lane and almost hit her, but luckily... didn't.

Mom pulled over and had a... meltdown. Remember, Auntie N was in the car. She might have had something different, otherwise.

It was a lot quieter on the way home. Mom stopped at a body shop to make sure we were ok to drive on home. We dropped Auntie N off in Nac and continued on to H-Town.

I slept most of the way. Vacations have a way of taking it out of you.

When we got home, I was relieved. I, leisurely, conducted a border check. The perimeter was secure, my yard and toys were exactly like I left them, and my king size bed is calling my name. Life is good, yet again... at home.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Ozarks Adventure: Day Six, My Trip to Branson!

o-boy-o-boy-o-boy! A road trip!

Mom and Auntie N shopped, and I sniffed and greeted folks.

I love a trip in the car, especially when they're short trips.

This place was like none I've really seen before... lots of old folks, for sure, which is cool. Maybe next year we'll go to Disney Land!

You're probably asking... a trip to the Ozarks, with the colorful changing leaves... and the best you've got to show for is it is THIS photo? What can I say? Mom's the one with the opposable thumbs and forefinger!

We got back to the cabin in time to chow down on more good food and a good nap in front of the tv. Mom seems a little antsy tonight, but I'm not going to worry about it. If something's up, I'll be the first to know.

As I slumber, I'm thinking... if we're not going home, we need to fix this place up with a fenced yard and a little St Augustine.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Ozarks Adventure, Day Five, Mid-Morning: BIG CAT and the Turning Ponit

Mid-morning, Mom decided that she would like to drive into Branson this afternoon and tour the World's Largest Toy Museum.

At this point in the vacation, I had no cares, and a little time to myself would have really been no problem. But Auntie N wasn't feeling well... and as I rested peacefully on the sofa... they decided that Mom would go and Auntie N would C-sit. Whatever...! All's good.

Right about lunchtime, Mom took me on another short hike. I knew the program. This was about me doing what I needed to do. Unfortunately, I didn't much feel like doing those particular things.

We hiked to the cross-trail that leads to the marina and down to the lake. Once there, we turned around and started back to the cabin.

About 100 yards along the return trip, and about 50 feet in front of us... was the BIGGEST CAT I had ever seen. It was solid black, had short to medium length hair and a long straight tail. It walked slowly across the trail, where we had (just moments before) walked.

(Many peoples and other pals have asked me... ) What did I do? I did what any inteligent dog would do. I FROZE IN MY TRACKS. Mom and I quickly developed an alternate plan, and turned back around!

Now don't get me wrong, I have 14 feline cousins and two feline neighbors who like to sleep in my back yard. Had it been one of them... or one just like them, I would have chased it to my heart's content. Oh, and I've read the story about the golden defending his Mom against the mountain lion. I would have done that, too. For sure I would. But I figure, this big old cat was minding his own business, so... so should I!

That's what I figured!

Anyway, we took the trail back to the Marina road and followed it up the mountain. I won't lie, it was rough going. For some reason, we felt safer on a paved road. It was treacherously steep, but we finally made it up to the top of the mountain, where we took a winding road back down to the cabin. Auntie N was a little frantic when we got back, because we were gone so long.

I sighed deeply as I sank into the sofa for a nap, but Mom got on the internet to figure out exactly what we had seen. It turns out that there are many big cats in the Ozarks and what we saw was something called a BLACK PANTHER.

Mom called the cabin management people and according to her, they said, "yeah, so?". After that, all I heard her say was "Hiking is over. We have just been NYE-EVE." I don't know what that means, but I'm thinking if I had known about such big cats before, I probably would have just trotted around the cabin chasing BLACK SQUIRRELS.

Ozarks Adventure: Day Five... Morning Hike, Big Bird and Familiar Sounds

Bed time now is greeted with a heavy sigh by all involved.

I have resolved myself to the fact that there is an exchange for all things. For 24 hours spent with Mom's attention, I must trade a small portion of the real estate I have grown accustomed to having in the sleeping hours. I'm good with it. It is not too much to ask.

But there IS a lingering question... This IS vacation... right? At this point, I don't know. Is this a getaway? Or is this our new home...? As a golden, by my very nature, I hate to reveal any sort of anxiety... But I do wonder...

I know the routine now, and upon waking (and just enough smooching), I wait patiently for Mom to don her hiking clothes. I know the reward... a long, relaxed hike... at whatever pace I choose.

THIS morning, I choose a LONG walk. It is particularly tranquil in sound, but I find interesting scents... side-to-side of the trail. About a quarter of a mile down the trail... Mom stalled just a little. We both heard a low gutteral sort of sound... I looked back at Mom and she said it was probably a bird...

We were nearing the narrowing of the lake toward the big long bridge, and to our right, the sun began to really glisten off of what I could see of the lake between the trees... very far below our elevation.

We reached a little of a clearing... and Mom stopped suddenly, as I flushed a big old bird. He was perched on a guardrail, and was slow to take off but he seemed to just... sail. It was really cool, and Mom seemed in awe. I would later hear Mom tell Auntie N that we had seen "an eagle". I wasn't sure, but it sure wasn't a finch or a dove.

We continued a bit further and reached a steep bank at the highway. It was the first time that I have heard those familiar sounds since last Friday. All's good. We turned around and headed back for the cabin... home.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Ozarks Adventure: Day Four... An outing!

All's good in my world. The bed, though still small, is a pleasant place to land after a busy, busy day. :-)

This day was as those before it. Brisk morning and afternoon hikes. Sweet naps. Constant companionship (my personal favorite). And peaceful evenings.

The only variation today was... an outing! We went for a drive! We drove around the lake, and through the hills, and we just looked at things along the road. It's a lot different from H-town. If you're not going up, you're going down. There don't seem to be so many other peoples, either. I liked it, and my window was cracked just enough for me to put my nose through it.

On the way back to the cabin, we stopped at the foods store. Mom went in, leaving the windows down, and me and Auntie N stayed in the car. I was good. I was quiet. I was very calm.


This guy, who was parked a space over from us, returned to his car. Then, well, I did it. He never saw me. I laid in wait. And just when he least expected it, I barked (out of mere attention-seeking amusement... but he interpretted it as) ferociously. He might have boomed his pants, but then he turned to Auntie N in the front seat and began to lecture her about restraining me.

Auntie N got mad and told him a thing or two about a thing or two... me, I didn't get my fur ruffled. I was in a seat belt for God's sake. How much more could I be restrained? It wasn't even my protective bark... but my "hey, look at me!" bark!

Peoples have NO sense of humor.

It's ok. Life's good in the Ozarks. (That guy must have been from the big city).

Monday, November 07, 2005

Ozarks Adventure: Day Three... Trails, A Footloose Golden and Mom-Made Burgers

Mom laid down some laws about the bed. I didn't agree, but have felt too tired to really stake additional claims in the middle of the night. Ok, ok... I'll sleep north-south! I like, after all, that there is room for my Lolly!

I'm really getting the hang of this vacation thing:
  1. The big chair that Mom moved to the window serves as guard post, squirrel blind, and most excellent napping spot.
  2. The space on the sofa between Mom and Auntie N is just enough for me. Head placement should be on equal intervals of rotation, for maximum benefit.
  3. Dr. Phil, Oprah and the judge shows are all on tv in the Ozarks. God is good. And so are remotes, opposable thumbs and forefingers.
  4. Having my leash hanging by the door is cool. All I have to do is bump it with my nose... and voila! I'm out on the trail!
  5. Trails are cool! Wildlife rocks! Sights and scents are enough for me to overlook the... (errrr) rocks.
  6. I finally see the beauty of staying on the same side of the tree as Mom!
  7. I met a footloose golden! He was really friendly, and it was exciting! I was a tiny bit jealous that he had no string, but later Mom told me that she was afraid she would get lost. I'm good with the string now. I would never want Mom to get lost.
  8. Burgers! Can you believe it? Fried chicken, bacon and eggs... and burgers!!!! All in the same week!!!!
Life is GOOD in the Ozarks!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Ozarks Adventure: Day Two... Rocks, Mountains & Boom!

I tell you... that bed ain't getting any bigger. We managed, though, to negotiate "equal" allocations of space. My half was on the pillows. :-)

We woke up as the sun began to filter in the window, and I was anxious to greet the trails!

If you ever wonder where God put most of the rocks and hills in the world, I'm inclined to tell you... the Ozarks. I have roamed on and off the trails, to the high side and to the low side. And there is nothing but more rocks and hearty vegetation. I like it, none the less. There are rock outcroppings and tiny caves and everywhere, trees, trees, trees.

At the far end of our early morning hike, we reached a beautiful lake where there were many large birds. It was peaceful, really. And we rested a bit, just gazing, before we doubled back to go home. I think what's really neat is the sound of it all. It's like nothing I've ever heard.

About half the way back, what can I say... nature placed a call. I turned around to head back to the lake, but Mom didn't budge. So I did it. Right there to the downward side of the narrow trail, I boomed the biggest boom I have ever boomed in my life. I looked back at Mom, afraid that I had committed an infraction. And there she stood, with her arms upward, as if declaring a touchdown!

We jogged most of the way back to the cabin... well, until we came to the part you almost need a set of stairs to climb. It seems that we both laid our cares down at the same time!

Mom walked in and announced to Auntie N... "Don't be suprised if someone issues a bear alert!" She thought it was funny. I did not.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Ozarks Adventure: My First Full Day

I awoke early after a restful night's sleep with Mom on a teeny tiny bed. Mom says it is a queen, but it is definitely not fit for one. :-)

I could hardly wait to see what was outside the door. It was too dark to appreciate when we deboarded last night, after what seemed to me like a more than adequate nap in the car.

We quickly dressed, or I should say that Mom did. I have my own suitcase full of two coats, two sweaters, towels, toys, treats, food, leashes, stakes and cables... but I do not think I will need the apparel. It is colder in the air conditioned cabin than it is outside.

We headed out on our first trail about 7am. It was fun. There were so many scents; I just couldn't get enough. I swear (though Mom tells me not to), there was stuff out there I had never seen or even come close to smelling before.

There are squirrels here, too. Darn them all. They look different. Lots of em are black. Weird, huh?

We walked and walked and walked, and then we turned around and came back and headed down another trail. For a vacation, I couldn't figure out why Mom seemed a little impatient. She kept nagging me... "Don't ya need to boom?" I did. It's been a couple of days! But I wasn't sure it was appropriate. I mean, ya boom on level St Augustine, do you not? And I didn't find a speck.

We returned from our first hike, after about 45 minutes. I was hungry as an Ozark hog when we got back, so I ate a healthy breakfast and then rested my head in the window sill for a bit. Mid-morning, I greeted a second hike with equal enthusiasm! This is great!

After lunch, Mom left for what turned out to be a food gathering expedition. I stayed at the cabin with Auntie N, who I love... but I was none too happy about Mom leaving me. The sweetest site in these woods was her walking back in the door a short time later... WITH FOOD!
We went on more boomless hikes this afternoon. I had a nice nap. And I barked at some people who passed our cabin. Who knew there were peoples here???

Mom cooked fried chicken for dinner. She said it was bad for me and I couldn't have but just a little taste. What she didn't know is that Auntie N (did I mention that I love her?) fed me under the table. It sure was good!

We stayed close to the cabin after dinner. I don't think I've ever seen it so dark outside. The other girls worked on a jigsaw puzzle, while I dozed upside down on the sofa. Life is good in the Ozarks!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Ozarks Adventure: My Outlook, I saw Hope Come... and Go

The day on the road started out fun, with fresh donuts and Ozarka spring water, but in spite of the comfort of my Mom's shoulder, my (great) Auntie N's willingness to love on me, and the many and various locales I was priveleged to mark... it was a very LONG day.

I became dejected before reaching Harrison, Arkansas. I guess I was sighing a lot. Auntie N asked my Mom if I was ok. My mom said it best...

"She was excited about the trip, but she saw Hope (Arkansas)... come and go". She was right on the mark; I couldn't have said it better myself. Sometimes, I swear... that ole gal reads my mind!

We've arrived to a place I can't see. It's dark here now, and I'm not sure why exactly we came to this cabin. Mom seems really tired and a wee bit impatient. My plan is to follow wherever she goes, sleep close... and see what tomorrow brings!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ozarks Adventure: My Outlook, Departure Day

It didn't take me long to figure out that we were really going on a trip. I had noticed the suit cases, including MY duffle, for several days.

In typical golden style, I remained calm. I know Mom will go nowhere without me. And we will go... when we go, and not a moment sooner. So, I protected the yard all morning, until I was given the official signal that we were to depart.

We left just after Mom ate a sandwich. I'm guessing it was around noon. All was good, for about an hour... and then I got the urge. Maybe it was the Ozarka, or maybe it was just that I wanted to see the surrounds of the outlet mall in Livingston. At any rate, Mom heard me... and she pulled over.

There were men there, on a ladder on a big truck. They seemed to be changing a sign. Mom thought that it was probably blown out by Rita.... it didn't matter to me. I barked! Don't get me wrong. I wasn't afraid. I just couldn't figure out why they were on top of the truck, instead of greeting me. My tone and wagging tail were a dead give-away!

I'm in Nacogdoches now. I've been here before. This is where my Mom and my brother, Wellington, were born. Or at least that's what I've been told. That was a long, long time ago, and I have no way of proving it.

My (second) cousins are not happy to see me. Perhaps they know that I'm going on an adventure with their mom; I'm not sure. Mom is keeping me separated from them, so I won't let on to the secret.

For now, I'm ready to get back on the road. Rest is out of the question. There is no need for sleep at this point. Let's go, let's go, let's go!!!