“Bid Adieu to Summer” Vacay

1sandpipers

First off, let me apologize because I’ve fallen behind in my blog and responses and reading other blogs and almost generally everything except work and getting ready for vacation.

I promise to be a lot more interactive over the next few days even though I’ll be on vacation. The one thing I learned on my last vacation is that I still need to write, so maybe I’ve finally become a writer since it seems to be in my blood. So there will be writing! 🙂

There will be more Mouse stories to come. I know I kind of left her there in a desperate situation (poor Mouse is almost always in a desperate situation, which she handles with Snickers; I’m sure there’s a life lesson there, just sayin’) and you may be wondering: what’s next for poor Mouse? (me too 😉 ).

I’m off to North Carolina. First I’ll be visiting the Outer Banks because evidently this Pisces needs her fix of salt air and then off to the western part of the state (and mountains) that I’ve never visited before. I hope to share a lot of photos with you. Then on August 21 I’ll go to South Carolina for the solar eclipse and I’ll share that experience with you as I think it will be really, really cool and I’m looking forward to it. In fact, I’m looking very much forward to the whole vacation.

I hope to pop in later this evening when I arrive at my first destination.

Thank you as always for reading.

My best, Sascha D.

8/11/2017

 

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The Night Of The End?

presentation1I was in the kitchen with Mom, putting the final touches on the cold dishes. Dad and my sister-in-law, Carmen, were already grilling and deep-frying seafood. Mandy appeared in the kitchen, wearing a sundress with a daring v-neck. Mom, knowing that when a child hits 27 that they were probably too old to send back to their room to change clothes, just rolled her eyes.

“The artist,” she whispered conspiratorially to me. “has all of the women in town pretending that summer has never left. Even your sister.”

“Maybe I should go and change,” I said.

“He’s not your type,” Mom said. “Definitely a bad boy. Tattoos and rides a motorcycle.”

Not my type, eh? I wonder what she’d think of Damien.

My brother, Joe, was lighting the tiki torches around the eating area as I started bringing out the salads. He grinned at me and took a long draught of beer.

“You need to leave more often if we get to have a party when you get back.”

“I’ll make a note of that.”

A tiki bar was set up on the far side of the deck. My other brother, Tommy, would be playing bartender to the extent that he knew how to make rum punches and mai tais.

I walked out onto the beach and savored the soft wind blowing. They said that there was a hurricane down south and that by next week it could be here. I hoped not. Being here, home, the ocean, was like being spiritually cleansed. I felt fresh, new.

I heard the low rumble of his voice before I saw him.

“Damien! You came!” Mandy yelled as she threw herself at him.

I turned and watched as she hugged my Damien. Oh, yes, those three letters, WTF, fully enforced words in my head, sprang to my lips.

“You’re the artist?” I asked as I swung around on him. Vaguely I remembered that he’d smelled like turpentine that last time I saw him.

His eyes widened and he laughed. “You’ve finally shown up, Red,” he said.

“You are the craziest stalker that’s ever existed.”

“I doubt that. There are far crazier stalkers than me.”

Mandy frowned. “You two know each other?”

“Very well,” Damien said.

“Not that well.”

“We could know each other better.”

“You were here and you couldn’t just stop in? You knew this was my family.”

He at least looked a little shame-faced. “I wanted to surprise you.”

“Oh, yeah. I’m surprised. I was waiting to hear from you.”

“I explained about my phone.”

“You were less than a mile away from me.”

He grabbed my hand and pulled me close. “I didn’t want to ruin the surprise.”

“I was worried about you,” I said, looking into his cognac-colored eyes.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’ll know better next time.”

“There won’t be a next time.”

He kissed me then. I heard the gasps of Mandy and Missy and maybe even my mother. Maybe bad boys were for me after all.

 

end 10/4/2016

S. Darlington

So long vacation

 

Vacation.

You look forward to it. You plan it. You dream it. You count the days until it comes.

And then, it’s there. You live it. You feast in it. You absorb it.

It’s ecstasy. It’s breathing. It’s life.

Gone.

And, you wonder how it could go so fast.

Unlike some workdays that stretch into numbing ennui.

Back to the demolition derby: the daily commute.

Back to DC and combustible political rhetoric.

Back to being serviceable.

Dreams of beaches and soft sand and rolling waves that echo in your head,  comforting white noise of bliss.

 

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Cha, Memory

sascha baby picThe eve of our annual Sandbridge trip, our first without Cha. Last year, Cha was still here, although degenerative myelopathy had taken its toll and we knew she was literally on her last legs, but my girl had will, such strength and sense of purpose and plain desire to never let me out of her sight even if it meant that if I was out of the room, she barked so that I would return. And I always did. I didn’t take many vacations without her. If I was near, she was near. Even now, ten months after her passing I have this sense that she is not far. How could she be?sascha

I had her from a puppy. She came on an airplane from Massachusetts, such an amazing extravagance. She looked bedraggled, besieged, and perhaps a tad disappointed,  covered in vomit and poo and urine. She looked a bit like she
would never be happy again.

The first night she wailed and carried on. The second night too. In fact, for many nights. She hated the crate initially, although it soon became her place of comfort.

She was just three months the first time we went to Sandbridge. We rented an SUV and put the crate in and put her in the crate. Oh, it was the most horrible experience. She barked frantically until I took her out and she settled down or, more truthfully, settled into a place where she could see and rule the world.

sascha 2

When we let her loose on the beach, she ran. She loved it. She barked at the ocean as if she could make it quiet. She chased the seagulls into flight. She weaved herself into the waves and jumped and licked, her brown eyes fervently bright, her tail a metronome on caffeine.

For fourteen years we lived those summers over and over and then age took over and disease and neither of our wills could persevere.

The last visit she sat on the sand and looked out at the ocean. I think she would have loved to ride the waves again, bark at the roar. She was over sixteen, battling kidney failure and neurological deficits.

sascha at beach

There are many things in life that are hard, I mean, really hard. It’s making true life and death decisions. Creating a will. Burying your parents. Letting go of institutions that have kept you grounded. Recognizing you must let go of dreams of children or such things that others take for granted. Losing the dog that you held as a puppy and house trained and obedience trained and who obedience trained you and taught you how to love with a completely open heart. Yes, she was your surrogate daughter, all fifty some pounds that you nearly lost a decade earlier to some parasite. She who was there to jostle your elbow with her cold nose to remind you time and time again that you were never alone, that she was there. She who barked at you, razzed you because, just because, you did something that she didn’t think was quite so. So much love you had for her. I had for her. My shadow, Cha.

I wish I believed in heaven and rainbow bridge and that someday I would see my girl’s face, her joyful eyes and her lamb-like skip. I have a video, which I watch, and which reminds me that she, the life force to contend with all life forces, has somehow passed beyond me and I am left with hope and longing.

On our last drive to Sandbridge, she couldn’t quite get comfortable, although the vet assured me that this disease left her in no pain. It had been her way to snuggle herself between the driver’s and passenger’s seats and lie down, but she could no longer manipulate her body. Her wails were like her puppy wails and we had come full-circle, but this time there would be no running on the beach. We were visiting for the last time and we all knew it.

sascha last

I have no profound thoughts to end this. I had a beautiful shadow, an English Shepherd who taught me much about living and loving and being loved, who was a boss in a dog suit, who I gave my heart to, and who I cry for on rainy days and sunny days and who will stay with me even when I am old and gray and can no longer cavort in the ocean but must sit in the sand as she once did and maybe in some realm she will be there with me and we will watch the breaking waves turn white and undulate and I will feel the warmth and think it is the sun, but it will be her shaggy-coated self leaning into me.

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