Cookie Killed A Chicken

Our new chocolate lab, Cookie, killed a chicken. I kept hearing a bird in distress and finally went to investigate. Cookie had it in her mouth. She’s a retriever not a killer. She was just holding on to it, not eating it. I grabbed her by the collar and swatted her to drop it, but too late. Maybe we’ll have it for dinner. It wasn’t full grown. More like a Cornish hen.  Cookie is following in our last retriever bird-lover instincts, but without the fan fair and excitement. 


Cookie by Sebas










Buck’s story has become a legend in our family. I was ready to leave Costa Rica and return to Florida. Nicole would drive me to the airport. The car was packed and everyone in except my irrepressible grandson. Sebas was racing after Buck who was racing after the one and only rooster in our brood. What great fun! “Go get ’em, Buck.” Sebas egged him on. He didn’t need egging. He leapt to the attack, grabbing the “gallo” in his soft mouth. Not to kill but to play with, enjoying the game immensely.

Until the screaming began, “SEBAS! STOP! GET OVER HERE.” Nicole running now, overtaking Sebas, gaining on Buck and grabbing his collar. “BUCK! STOP! LET GO!” No way. Buck clamps harder. Nicole grabs the legs. It’s a tug of war. Nobody wins this one. Nicole gets the dead rooster, the realization infuriating her to turn and run after Sebas. “YOU KILLED EDGAR’S ROOSTER! YOU’RE IN BIG TROUBLE. GET IN THE CAR!”  The rooster’s broken neck spinning as she runs after him. 

Sebas still running and sobbing, “I didn’t do it. I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry.”

“GET  IN  THE  CAR! NOW!” All quiet except for the sobbing as we drive away. “You’re going to pay for this. What’s wrong with you?” I make my plane and rise above the turmoil past my house on the edge of the Costa Rican shore and back to Florida. I call Nicole and reflect on an event worthy of World’s Funniest Home Videos. In retrospect she has to laugh too.

Memories – Old Slices

Reading Spartina by John Casey. Not my favorite topic – boat life in New England – but I’ve dog-eared so many pages of good stuff. Like a memory of a father that brought tears to my eyes and looming memories of mine. I fight the slide into my father’s later life.

He sits alone in his recliner in his big empty house waiting for the phone not to ring. Year after year. And it doesn’t. Financial papers are strewn in piles at his feet, waiting for the attention he will never again give them. He hates what’s happening to him;  watching the bedrock of his life – his superior mind – crumble into dust.

“How’re you doing Dad?” I ask.”

“I’m gonna jump off the bridge.” or “I’m gonna shoot myself.” or some other form of suicide.

“We want to take you out for dinner.”

“Got stuff in the fridge I gotta use up.”

Right. Like the moldy bacon?  Or the bottle of orange juice, so sour that Terry spewed it out like a surging fire hydrant after the first swig. He’s stubborn just to be stubborn. So closed up inside he can’t break out of his hard Cancer shell. He’d rather suffer loneliness than crack open and let his guts spill out. 

But time passes. The teeth-gnashing and hair-pulling stage subsides until he forgets how to be stubborn and closed in; forgets how to hate losing his mind.

And at long last. He smiles and hugs and kisses me hello and good-bye. He (the absolute atheist) goes to church because he likes the music and sings along. He says ‘I love you’ for the first time in my life.