I can still see him laying in front of the wood stove
where the sunlight from the skylight above him hit
"just that spot".
Which became "his spot".
I miss him a lot.
The doggie days of summer mean many things
to many people.
For Old Meme, it means picking blueberries.
She has been picking blueberries
for over 80 years.
I mean, that's a lot of berry picking.
She said she used to sell them door to door, for a nickle a quart.
Can you imagine?
Mama took Old Meme blueberry picking today.
Old Meme picked ten quarts in two hours.
And my Mama, she is a pro at blueberry picking.
You should see her getup!
She has a plastic quart cup on a string around her neck,
an old floppy hat,
a stool slung onto her shoulder for sitting.
This is so she can search out and pick the best
and largest berries way down below hidden away.
Except my Mama.
She KNOWS how to find them.
she is an
JUST TRYING TO LIVE
CLOSE WITH THE LAND.
You can see me and her getting ready to go berry picking ourselves.
Every once in a while I get to go.
Mama puts me on a leash and puts the loop around her ankle so
SHE CAN PICK TO HER HEART'S DELIGHT
I CAN EAT TO MY HEARTS DELIGHT.
She told me once that it was her older brother Danny
who first brought her berry picking.
But it was her aunt Claire who took her at 9,
best berry picking places ever!!
And since then, she's been hooked.
Every summer, during the
"dog days of summer"
you can find her picking blueberries.
Over the years she would take her young grandchildren,
Bunny Wunny and Bumble Bee
They would stuff their faces silly with
you ever saw.
They loved that part,
MOST OF ALL.
We do love our berries here and eat them all year long.
Our Mama picks
quarts, and quarts and quarts.
I love this time!!!
just can't seem to stay on the counter.
Mama works hard to prepare them for the freezer.
But you see,
the "baby blues", they have this
dance they do.
But for me, its like
and they jump,
and before you know it
they have taken the big plunge,
that great leap out into the universe,
"where no berry has gone before".
It is my "ever ready bunny"
personality that works well here
because I am watching like a hawk for the
"bouncing baby blues"
Rolling off the counter onto the floor.
I am willing them to take flight!!
(I sing to them you know)
I am here,
I am here,
come to me,
have no fear!
I think it works, because I do seem to get to eat
quite a few of them.
Anyways, chasing blueberries
across the kitchen floor
one of my most favorite fun times.
It's like a search and rescue game I tell you.
I AM SORRY,
I do not rescue them.
I eat them.
While I chase the berries
Papa chases me yelling
trying to get me to stop.
It is something about
eating things off the floor.
I just tell him it's the "5 second rule".
He said his old Italian papa Poppy
used to chase him around too
calling out Oofa, Oofa.
Some things never change.
But this time of year it gets hot,
and it gets muggy, and well, all I can do is
DREAM, DREAM, DREAM
of running through the arena
in the snow up over my head!!
I love that so much.
(You can see me in my picture in my "snow cap". )
to cool down.
Back home in Atlanta the "home folks"
had a little kiddie wading pool that we all swam in.
Now it's me
laying in front of the air conditioner
under a ceiling fan
flying at full speed
with me singing
"Dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh".
Not that I have ever seen a "one horse open sleigh",
but I do dash through the snow.
You should see me as I
spread out my wings,
my ears like I am
And so, I hope you are enjoying
the dog days of summer.
Dream of SNOW!
I realize that
JUST LIKE MAMA
LOVE TO TELL A GOOD STORY.
When my Mama comes home from her adventures from out in the
GREAT BIG WORLD
We sit in the garden and she tells me about her day.
Here is a picture of me sitting on her lap.
VERY BUSY DAYS
she walks around the house telling me of her adventures
while I follow close behind,
LICKING HER ANKLES.
I was trying to remember where I got this
WELL YOU MUST ADMIT, VERY INTERESTING HABIT.
BUT AS WE SPEAK
I am under the desk laying on Mama's ankles as she is typing.
NOW I REMEMBER!
When I first moved in with the old folks, Mama would often have to do work at the desk and
I JUST WANTED TO BE NEAR HER!
You know the feeling, like when they come home from being gone to work
and they walk through the door.
IT IS LIKE
THE SUN IS SHINING,
RIGHT INSIDE THE HOUSE!
So, I would lay under the desk, when she was working,
with my head on one of her ankles and my butt on another one,
and she would swing me up and down, like we were
ON A SWING TOGETHER.
JUST LIKE SHE IS DOING,
So I think the ANKLE LICKING happened because
I AM ALWAYS TRYING TO GET MAMA
TO PAY ATTENTION TO ME!!
SLOW DOWN MAMA
TAKE ME FOR A SWING!!
And so for my story today.
Being the "main dog", well I like to think
that most of the world rotates around "me".
I mean, what other way can it truly be?
But there are other dogs in our lives and other stories
that need to be told.
Here is another one.
I come from a long line of dog lovers. So almost everyone in our family either:
HAS A DOG
HAS LOVED A DOG
TAKES CARE OF DOGS
KNOWS A DOG.
So this week, my Mama and Papa went and visited Liz. Now Liz has had many famous dogs.
The only famous dog that my Mama
EVER EVEN GOT CLOSE TO BEING WITH
was when Jon Provost, who played Timmy in the Lassie television show
came to Nashua N.H. to help out the local animal shelter.
Well actually it was Papa who went and met him, for Mama couldn't make it.
But she lived vicariously through Papa. He brought this wonderful portrait of my
older long lost brother Meghan to the event and Mr. Timmy signed the portrait itself.
Meghan was known as "The Prince" in the family, he was so regal. Anyway, Mama has had many collies, and Meghan is part of that hereditary line in our family, of
DOGS WE HAVE LOVED.
You can see his picture below.
But back to Liz.
Mama met Liz and her dog Ruby many years ago.
It inspired Mama to think "gee, maybe I can write a book about my dog".
Now, no one writes a better book than Liz.
But it is funny how life is, don't you think?
Here, this really kind lady who did not even know the "old folks"
invited my Mama and my Papa to her house,
so that she could sign the book that my Mama loved.
It was so cool. Mama still tells the story of meeting Ruby.
For a dog lover it was just wonderful.
Years ago, Mama and Papa took brother collie Kira to the
(can you believe it),
LAD A DOG.
If you don't know who LAD A DOG is, GOOGLE it.
Dog lovers, they UNDERSTAND!!
Anyway, that visit with Liz inspired Mama to think, maybe she could write a good dog story some day because Liz has written many great dog stories, and she was just like,
I DON'T KNOW, A REGULAR PERSON?
That was ten years ago.
So this week, Mama brought Liz a copy of my book to her for a gift.
Mama says "the grownups had a wonderful time" eating pizza and drinking cane soda.
She also told me how Liz's dogs were "freaking hilarious". They wiggled and squirreled around, as only little dogs can do. Liz has had many dogs but once the dogs who had gained notoriety (due to her wonderful books) had passed,
she was alone, and I mean come on,
a dog lover with no dogs.
HOW IS THAT EVEN FUN?
So Liz found these two little guys at the shelter.
I mean, she had to take both of them as they were together in one cage, didn't she?
Any "dog person" would have done exactly what she did.
So now, you should always remember with little dogs, "though we be little we be very smart!"
So, when you go out for pizza AND cane soda,
NEVER LEAVE THE CHAIRS OUT AROUND THE KITCHEN TABLE.
Because of course when they came back, Chapek and Kafka had climbed onto the table
and ate all of the grapes right off the branch.
When Mama and Papa first got there they were like barking little hellions. But by the time the people got back from getting pizza, and the boys got their bellies filled with green grapes, they were old buddies.
IT'S FUNNY HOW EASY IT IS FOR A DOG
TO BECOME A GOOD FRIEND ISN'T IT?
Anyway, they squirreled around, and jumped on Papa's lap.
IT WAS LIKE HAVING JELLO ON YOUR LAP, BUT YOU COULD PAT IT.
WHICH IS MUCH MORE FUN THAN PATTING JELLO.
DON'T YA THINK?
And so good bye for another week.
I was looking at the Drabble comic for July 3,
and that DOXIE was in it again.
He also, has a
TAIL WAGGING TALENT!!
JUST LIKE ME!
Tonight I want to share the story of "Dharma the Bee."
It is very interesting getting to learn so much new technology.
My technology is general trying to figure out
HOW TO GET OUT INTO THE ARENA
SO I CAN RUN FREE.
But MY MAMA, who is the
person I know, has learned a lot since publishing this book.
"Dharma the Bee" is a little video that we had Uncle Jim from Betsy's Folly Studios come and film me.
Make sure you go and see it on this web site or on You Tube.
Anyways, Mama and Papa had this idea about how to show off my best attributes, my ability
TO WAG MY TAIL AT WARP SPEED
LICK A FACE UNTIL IT IS COVERED WITH
ALL OF THE DOGGIE SALIVA
THAT A DOGGIE WANTS TO GIVE.
Now any one who knows me knows that
I JUST NEVER STOP WAGGING or LICKING.
It is like, I have been cranked up, like one of those wind up toys, and was
It is funny because when Mama goes away for the day,
when she comes home I follow her around and lick her ankles.
I JUST CANNOT HELP MYSELF.
Anyway, so we did a lot of things to show you the licking and wagging,
but one of my favorite parts was when Andrew came and let me lick his face silly.
He was SUCH A GOOD SPORT!!
Mama once covered her lips with her hands and let me
LICK TO MY HEARTS DELIGHT.
After about seven minutes, it was
WAY TOO MUCH FOR THE AVERAGE DOG (OR PERSON).
So she had to make me stop,
but it did give her the idea for the video.
But I digress.
Andrew, he just let me follow him around,
LICKING AND WAGGING,
LICKING AND WAGGING,
LICKING AND WAGGING.
LITERALLY, TO MY HEART'S DELIGHT. (You get the visual).
My second favorite part was running around with my Bee wings.
I REALLY DID NOT WANT TO TAKE THEM OFF.
I see those wings I am like,
I AM FLYING, I AM FLYING,
I AM THE BEE,
SET ME FREE!!!
IN MY DREAMS I AM FLYING AROUND THE ARENA
HERE AT HOME WITH THOSE WINGS ON.
So, the entire project was a lot of FUN, I can tell you that.
Met a lot of cool people in the process.
And so it is,
good night for tonight and thanks for reading my story.
DREAM OF ME,
the NIGHT TIME of YOUR DREAMS,
WEARING THOSE GORGEOUS WINGS AND SINGING,
"I AM FLYING, I AM FLYING,
I AM FLYING, I AM THE BEE
COME ALONG, COME ALONG,
COME ALONG, AND FLY WITH ME!!!
SO HERE WE ARE AGAIN
JUST LIVING THE GOOD LIFE
Don't you just love this picture of me with
beach sand on my nose?
I mean, come on.
ISN'T IT JUST GRAND??
My brother Kira the collie, never saw a pile of horse poop that he did not absolutely adore. I mean,
I think its something to do with being
"A REAL DOG".
For me at the beach,
I was definitely
A REAL DOG!
Kira told his little sister (me) about how he would
always make big circles around the family whenever they were hiking. I think it is a collie thing. He said he just could not help himself. Now Kira, had never herded a sheep,
or even seen a sheep,
for crying out loud,
IN HIS ENTIRE LIFE.
But in his bones was that need to KEEP EVERYONE SAFE. He just could not help himself. It was on this one beautiful fall day that he remembers all of them coming around a corner while hiking on a beautiful New England woodland trail, and there was a horse right in the middle of the trail. He had never seen a horse so, FEARLESS, he walked right up and said "HELLO". The horse was a good sport and just stood there, nose to nose saying hello right back. Anyways, they said their HELLOS and GOODBYES and the big guy moved on.
And that is when Kira saw it.
Fresh, steaming and
JUST WAITING FOR A GOOD ROLL.
Mama said he shoved that long collie nose of his, right into it, and after a while had to be dragged away.
Driving home was a bit, PHEW!!
Kira said, he was in collie HEAVEN, I mean HEAVEN!!
At Salisbury I rolled and wiggled my entire body all over the sand and I got little seaweed bits and pieces of clam shells,
and jelly thingies, which I really do not know what they were, stuck everywhere in my coat.
BUT IT ALL FELT SOO GOOD.
Back at the camp site I had a pen which was really great because never am I off the leash, and I got to run around on GRASS, AND DIRT, AND SAND, AND BEACH CREATURES.
It was GREAT FUN. I saw other pens that other dogs had, some had the Cadillac version. Tarp on the ground. A suspended bed.
All the amenities. I thought,
HOW IS THAT FUN?
Anyway, here's to you Kira, I miss you bro.
Here's his picture for you to see.
He was a beautiful boy.
At the beach, Uncle Jef and I took many walks up and down the shore, checking out the little critters that were everywhere. And of course I barked at every big dog. The little ones, I guess I thought, what would be the point. They already knew I was boss. Jeff and I made it to the beach at sunset and we just walked, and talked, and walked, and talked. He told me all about his dog Yoshi back at home. It was really nice to learn about another part of the family. You can see us here. We initially had these grand ideas of coming to the beach during the day.
UH UH, NOT HAPPENING.
Mama says that though she spent many days at the beach in her,
HA HA "YOUNGER DAYS",
now the heat just knocks her out. So we came at the later end of the day and it was VERY NICE.
And there were children,
which I personally love, because as you fully well know
"I AM THE MOST TAIL WAGGING,
LICKING DOG THERE IS".
LITTLE KIDS JUST ADORE ME.
They would come up to me and ask the big people,
"OH, CAN WE PAT HER?"
I am thinking, what an odd question to ask. I mean, if you are asking me I say
"ABSOLUTELY, FOR SURE, EVERY SINGLE TIME!!!"
Have I made myself clear? Anyway it was fun.
We finished out day back at the campsite. The big guys got the fire going, which I can say was very cool. They cooked lamb on the grill and we, brother Merlin and I got to lick the dishes. It was a great time hanging out together.
In the morning Mama, who is the SUDOKU queen took out her stack of newspapers
that Old Meme saves for her to do the SUDOKU puzzle.
She taught Uncle Jef, before he went back home to Old Virginia how to take the "SUDOKU CHALLENGE".
Anyway, on the flip side of the puzzle is the "funny papers", comics that is.
Mama reads to me the Drabble cartoon once in a while because it has a dachshund, just like me in it.
His name is Wally.
When she first read a comic that had Wally in it, I thought, how cool, another DOXIE!!
And so, our last morning at "BEACH CAMPING" it was,
Papa making a fire and breakfast for all of us,
Merlin and me waiting for our plates, (drooling profusely),
Uncle Jef helping Papa with the fire,
and Mama reading a Drabble comic strip, with Wally the Dachshund in it.
I THINK I AM IN LOVE.
WE SHOULD MEET SOMEDAY. DON'T YOU THINK?
Anyway, until my next story.
Dharma Hugs and So Long!!
As you can see me here,
I AM READY FOR CAMPING!!
So this past Sunday
we are rolling out of our driveway
heading to the airport in Manchester
to pick up Uncle Jef.
Now you have to understand,
I had no clue about what kind of adventure this was going to be.
I mean, we had to get me, in my crate, and Merlin in the back seat,
AND GET UNCLE JEF TO FIT IN THE BACK SEAT ALSO?
I mean it was a new thing for all of us.
And so we have our coolers, and our bicycles, and our food, and our tent, I had no clue how much STUFF you have to take with you camping, that is if you don't want to wake up with cricks in your necks. And so, we packed and we moved and we cranked the trailer and lights, and well it could have been a fully Three Stooges event. But once we got started it was good. We stopped along the way, for my kidneys were not used to all of the jostling as you know, being a couch potato. I had not up to now been out on a long trip much. Now when we got to the airport, I remember coming into that airport. It was just me and my big red dog (see picture).
It was a good thing that Auntie Harriett gave me the "BIG RED DOG" to keep me company
for I would have surely been lonely without him and I have kept him all of these years.
But back then I was just a
"babe in wonderland".
Everything was a wonder to me. I did not understand the noises, the people.
I mean I wanted to lick everybody and no one would pick me up.
MY LITTLE HEART WAS SO SAD.
But that was until I saw Mama, and all was forgiven.
But I digress.
So we see Jef at the airport and everyone is so happy
and me too because it has been a long time since I have seen him,
AND OF COURSE I AM LICKING HIM TO DEATH.
He is a good sport though and
JUST LAUGHS THROUGH IT ALL.
And finally off to the beach we go.
Our first night at the beach was SPECTACULAR I should say. We got to go down the boardwalk and watch the sun set with younger folks who were hanging out there.
They liked me a whole lot and I liked them, but did not get in,
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT, NOT EVEN ONE LICK.
(But we did give them a Dharma card).
Then back at the camp I got to go for walks with Mama and Papa and with Jef which I really loved, but was new for me to see other dogs. Remember, I am a "couch potato", so I am a little timid with others.
I learned something new, how to walk on a leash on the left. Now this might seem like odd to most people since I have been around more than a decade, but I always just hung out with my brother Stoney,
and he did not like walking so far.
Many times Mama tried to bring us to other places, even in parades, but quickly she and Papa
WOULD END UP CARRYING US.
But this beach camping was all new and exciting for me.
I am a quick study I will say.
I MIGHT NOT HAVE KNOWN WHAT SHE WAS SAYING TO ME, BUT I KNEW WHAT SHE MEANT.
I also started my lesson about not barking at other dogs. Now many dogs came by our camp site,
and I barked at every single one of the big dogs.
I can still hear Aunt Beki say "No Bark, No Bark" when she came to visit.
But really, I am just like my brother Stoney Wall. I have what is know as the "Little Man Syndrome".
Though I am little, I think I am a bear
(like Napoleon, those of you who are history buffs will know who I mean).
Stoney was like that. I think I just like letting them know who is boss.
Anyway, Mama has a theory about miniature long haired dachshunds,
and how she thinks they were bred with basset hounds initially,
because when I get nervous, I bay like a basset hound.
Old Pepre raised basset hounds for a long time,
and my cousin Doni,
he once had one named Casper (named after the friendliest of ghosts),
who was all white.
Finally we get to the edge of the ocean.
Now, I have never seen an "ocean" before, but I will tell you,
I WAS IMPRESSED!!
I mean I am thinking
"Oh Wow, Sweet Georgia Peaches"
how cool is that?
So I am like running down the shore dragging Mama behind. Sand is flying everywhere, the hairs on my toes are sticking out covered with sand everywhere. I am sticking my nose in the sand (see the picture) and when I get to the edge of the water and like I am thinking, well
"I'm thirsty, aren't you?"
looking up at Mama.
Wouldn't you be?
I look at all of this water,
I jump into the waves, covering my toes and
I SHOVE MY WHOLE FACE IN.
I was so thirsty and then!
YIKES!! ACH ACH!! What?
I am choking and spitting water out, and my tongue keeps coming out, what is wrong with me. and Mama,
I have no idea what is wrong with her because she is LAUGHING, can you believe, LAUGHING her head off.
All I could think about is "Come on guys, couldn't you have put up a sign?
DON'T DRINK THE WATER.
Like how was I to know?
And so, Dharma Hugs and So Long for Tonight.
Catch me on Thursday for the conclusion.
Did you know that I come from a beach camping family?
Years ago, when the great great grandparents were around,
Memre and Pepre, they started our family down the camping highway.
Sailing down the highway,
LOOKING FOR ADVENTURE!!
Yup that was them.
Anyway, their first camper was called a Cobra and it fit on the back of a pick up truck. And the old folks would travel all the way to the Florida Keyes where they owned property, ON THE WATER.
I of course have only heard the stories. But Mama tells me that they would see
gators (alligators), armadillos, and all kinds of other critters like
BIG SNAKES, I MEAN BIG ONES, LIKE SO BIG I COULD BE A SNACK! YIKES!!
All of them crossing Route One the highway they drove to Florida and back. Did you know this highway is over two thousand miles long and goes from the Keyes in Florida through Maine to Canada? One highway. Pretty cool huh? But I digress. Anyway, the old folks, they were getting up there in age, they were in their seventies, when they finally stopped making the trip. You know how back seat drivers are? Well Pepre hated to be told anything about how to drive. After a few trips dodging the orange safety cones, I think Memre thought it was time to hang up the camper Cobra and sold it to Meme and Grumpy (her daughter and husband, Mama's parents)
who lived down the same old country road they all lived on.
Did I tell you that Memre
made the best molasses cookies
you could ever eat?
Every November or December Mama makes Memre's recipe (Memre showed her how one day) and the whole house smells so good. Mama says that Memre also made the best ginger bread cake with real whipped cream.
It seems now everything comes out of a can. Which is kind of too bad, don't you think?
Not my mama, she still makes those cookies from scratch.
I JUST LOVE THE SMELL!
Anyway, so when Meme and Grumpy started traveling with the Cobra camper on the back of the truck, they started going to the Salisbury State Park in Massachusetts. When I think about this, that was almost fifty (yes 50) years ago.
What was great about Salisbury was that the camp ground itself is right on the beach and, most important of all,
YOU CAN HAVE DOGS!!!
I mean come on, let's face it
HOW GREAT IS THAT?
And so over the years many dogs got to go to Salisbury. Brother Meghan, the collie, sister Brandi the spaniel, Kira the collie, Stonewall the dachshund, like me but short haired.
So I am the last in a long line of family dogs who camped at Salisbury.
Let me tell you how much fun it is to go here.
My brothers and sister got to sleep in tents, and pop-ups. They got to run on the beach, run in the water, be with the family fishing from the shore, chasing the grand kids, and nieces and nephews and friends and anyone else up for the fun, all around the park (one of the perks is that is it perfectly flat and perfectly safe for kids and bikes),
following them on bikes and skates.
A favorite memory of Mama's is
Auntie Kelly being pulled by Meghan the collie, at full speed, around the campground,
on her roller skates. I mean, how much fun is that?
That is Meghan and Meme at Salisbury Beach at the beginning of this blog.
And, they have policemen, on horseback, traveling around the campground to make sure every one is safe.
Wow. All in all, a fun place to be.
Those dogs got to track kites, walk on the beach at night, sit by the fire and hear stories, eat watermelon,
and scarf up some bologna sandwiches at the beach when the big folks were not watching.
And of course special doggie treats because,
WE ARE ON VACATION PUPPIES! Bark Bark!!
TOO MUCH FUN to mention all of it here.
I bring this all up because I want you to understand how excited I am to tell you about my first two days at Salisbury.
So, catch me on Tuesday for part two. I had
QUITE THE ADVENTURE!
Dharma Hugs and So Long!
Chell Sommese is a retired teacher.