The Observer and friends took a trip to the Ozarks last weekend to the Boxley valley.
After three wrong turns and perhaps a half hour traveling the wrong direction, half of our party finally pulled into the driveway of our cabin on Smith Mountain. Finally. We unloaded and took the tour. A beautiful deck fronted the cabin and then made a left to create an outdoor dining area, set amid the forest and with a view of the hills. It was a cool and lovely place to wait for the other half of the party. After a half hour, we washed the cabin's dishes and started the salad. We weren't really worried about the other half of our party. Just a little thirsty. Then we heard the wheels in the driveway.
It was our landlady. And she looked a little nervous.
You are in the wrong place, she said. Your friends are waiting for you in the cabin down the hill. This cabin, she said, is much bigger than the other.
So why couldn't our friends join us in the bigger cabin?
Because it wasn't hers. No wonder she looked a little undone. We'd just made ourselves at home on someone else's property.
We went in reverse. Salad crammed back into plastic bag. Food in fridge back into cooler. Clothes back into car.
Make that four wrong turns.
An ad from the Dem-Gaz classified section:
“SWM, 50 years old, black hair, brown eyes, w/HS education, living on Social Security, wants to meet nice church going lady, single, pretty, slim, w/no children, who's a teacher or LPN, & is willing to relocate to Parkin or Wynne.”
We're guessing the odds aren't good.
The Observer was looking for the perfect excuse to get a dog, and when our home was broken into a couple of weeks ago we felt this would be a good time. Previously, smaller dogs would have been our preference. But after the break-in, we felt vicious, or at least vicious-looking, was the way to go. After a pit bull, which you can't have in the city, our next choice was a boxer.
It seemed as though the planets had aligned. Someone had dropped off a boxer just one day prior at the local shelter. She was house-trained and only four years old.
When our roommate returned with the new watchdog, we were excited. However, the dog that scuttled into the house, out of breath from dragging herself up the stairs, was not exactly what we had in mind. To say that she was four years old was outright deceptive. This girl had grey in her beard, and the temperament of a welcome mat. Mean? If a robber busted through the front door she'd probably waddle right up to them, nub-tail wagging.
But, watchdog or no, she is definitely part of the family now. In the weeks since she came along she has only barked once and spends most of her time lying on the floor snoring like a chain saw. She only gets up to be petted and to eat. Territorial she is not, or so we thought.
The other day we offered to dog-sit for a friend. We still have that affinity for little dogs so the chance to play around with a pug was something we couldn't pass up. We thought the little guy would get along just fine with the dog we've affectionately come to call “Mammaw,” but that was not to be. The second our little pug friend walked through the front door our mellow boxer jumped up, snarled and started chasing after him. He cowered, and, as pugs do, belted out a whirring, high-pitched squeal. Things settled down for a moment while the two participated in the age-old crotch-sniffing ritual, but after a brief cease-fire they were at it again, growling and squealing, charging and retreating.
We eventually gave up and took our little friend home as he panted anxiously. We felt bad that his afternoon was ruined by our old boxer, but we were excited to know that if someone ever broke into the house, they might incur the same wrath as the little pug. Who knew Mammaw could get so worked up? And over something so small?
You know that times are tough when the rich folks are mowing their own grass. A correspondent tells us she spotted Jennings Osborne, sartorial gift horse to former Gov. Huckabee and thrower of big barbecues, on a riding mower taking care of the lawn of one of his three houses that sit side by side on Cantrell Road. And not a minute too soon, the correspondent said.