Pegody's Christmas Present

I guess I did have the Christmas Blues after all. Not that I'd forgotten all the fun Cappy and I had with the kids and grandbabies in western NY, having had our Christmas with them,
or the fun of stuffing stockings and taking them and gifts to the guys on Cappy's boat. It's just that the prospect of spending another Christmas by myself, when I'd promised myself year after year that it wasn't going to happen again, was just too depressing. Although I'd had Christmas with the kids and Christmas at home with Cappy, I knew what day "Christmas" was; the day everybody else was celebrating; even Cappy and his crew out there on the boat. Greedy me; I wanted another Christmas. I didn't want any more presents for Pete's sake...I got spoiled this year, but the thing I wanted most of all with my whole heart was to not be alone again on that particular day. I guess I misunderstood a few things around here. I thought I'd distinctly heard a couple of times that Christmas in our town was strictly for family, but that didn't include friends. Family only. I'd tried to "horn in" before unsuccessfully in years past. Now I could have, but I didn't want to drive a hundred miles or more away to be with Cappy's family. (After the drive up north and back, I was kinda tired of road tripping for awhile.) Soooo, I thought I'd tough it out again this year, just me and my dawgs. Christmas Eve, I ran across the street to take Sonia and Jude their gifts, and when they learned I was going to be by myself, said to be sure to come over Christmas day Night, because their family were going to be getting together for food and fireworks. That sounded GREAT!

I had gifts for my friend Melissa and her family, so called her, and I guess I sounded so pathetic that she told me to come on over Christmas morning, but that they were going to be leaving to go to her cousin's house around noon. I was thrilled; I'd have a family to be with while they opened their gifts ON Christmas day. When I got there, Melissa met me with a big warm hug and a smooch on the cheek, and gently told me, "This is from Sookie", my daughter, who had called her from snowy western NY to ask her that favor. Well, then I hadda bawl. A kiss and hug from my daughter delivered by my friend, Melissa, could the day get any better.
I got to watch her family open their gifts. Melissa said that if I was going to Blog about this, to be sure to mention that so many people had contributed to their Christmas this year with gifts for her grandson, Little David. (Regular readers will remember that Melissa lost her son, David in a car accident, leaving Little David for the family to raise.) What a joy to see all the wonderful things he got to open! Clothes and toys...he was so excited, and so were we. I don't know who the folks are who brought him all these things, but they have great taste in picking out clothes and gifts for little boys. I was about to leave when they said that I could go with them to their cousin's, but I opted out, thinking that there was still a slim chance I could go visit Cappy for a bit wherever his boat might be. I sure wouldn't want to miss that opportunity.
Alas, it was not to be, but Sookie called and I got to talk with son Thom, who was with her, then later in the day, Foy, our friend from North Carolina called to say "hi". Now that was very nice. We had intended to visit with him and his lovely wife, Brenda on our way back from NY this last time, but time didn't permit. Rats.
Later when it got dark, I heard hissing and booming and loud reports going off, so went across the street and took a few pictures of neighbors gathered around a bonfire, setting off gorgeous fireworks. When people began to go inside, one of them whispered to Miss Mary, with whom I was visiting, whereupon she got up and began walking toward the house. I asked Miss Mary where the crowd was going and she said, "Oh, they said we are going to be opening presents". Since the information had been whispered to her, I took it to mean (from past experiences) family only, so excused myself and made a discreet exit.
I had, had a full and wonderful day, so got into my nighty and got into bed early. I slept like a LOG and woke up the next morning at 11(!!) to the sound of the dogs barking, letting me know Sonia was at the door. She and I were both shocked that I had still been asleep. She asked, "Where did you go last night?? I almost came over at ten o'clock, but saw the house was all dark. Here...we got you these gifts". Awwwww. She had a plaque made special for us, and her sister had given us a lovely Christmas rug. Sighhh...you know what? One of these days I'm gonna get it right. Past experiences often cause me to misunderstand the present. I love that old saying, "Yesterday's a history, the future is a mystery, today is a gift; that's why it's called the Present".


Merry Christmas Yall!

And another video of a dawg who loves to sing Christmas songs: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=WcJh7itUrzM&NR=1


Weird Little Jingle Bells Video, Right Up My Weird Little Alley

This is Cappy's work outfit for the next few weeks. He steps out of his wheelhouse and waves at the people along the River and bayous, or just the other guys on passing boats. Smart alecks yell back, "Where are the reindeer??"


The ol' mailbox out by the road has been bulging with catalogs, but sifting through them I get to find treasures like these. Grandbabies!! They look even sweeter than they did when we left them last week. Zachary looks just exactly like his Dad, Joe did when he was little. Ashley is a beautiful little girl, and the baby looks like her pretty Mom...she's "little Jessica".Some of Cappy's oldest and dearest friends. I'm still in shock at the sight of Owen and Patrick in their Marine uniforms. BAW!! They look like handsome men already, not the teenagers that they were when we last saw them. And look at the proud Momma and Daddy :-)

Cappy's cousin Ainslie with her beautiful family. Their cards just get better and better each year. All I could say when I saw this year's mailing was, "WOW!" Macy looks like a model, and Reece looks so sweet and handsome as ever. And I've never seen Brad or Ainslie take a bad picture ever. They always look great.

Another part of Cappy's family includes Matt and Bernie. I didn't get to see their new baby, but migosh, he looks huge already! The little guy I did see still looks like a sweetie pie. I'll bet his running around is giving his parents fits about now. My Mom always told me to enjoy them while they were little. I tried remembering that when they were going through their terrible two's and three's. Now when I look at this happy little family, it makes me wish I could still put my sweet little "Gruntsy" or my Sookie, or Joe, or Thom on my lap. (they gonna kill me for saying that, especially Dan)

Cappy's cousin Meli took pictures of her kids and her playing in the snow. (I think that's her, too...I can't make the pictures bigger...it'll only save as a bitmap) When we had snow last week, it appears that they got wayyyyy more than we did here in our town.

They handled that snow like a regular ol' Yankee family from upstate New York. LOOK at the size of that thing they are rolling...yow!
And I'm proud of Cappy. In the mailbox yesterday, I found this certificate for him being the local Knights of Columbus knight of the month. Although he's a member, he hardly ever gets to attend, due to his work schedule conflicts. His heart is always with them, tho. When I told him about receiving the honor, he was truly touched, said he didn't know what in the world he could have done to deserve such a privilege. Then in true Cappy humility, he said that they must have run out of candidates to be scraping the bottom of the barrel like that. I told him they weren't scraping the bottom of any ol' barrel, and that we are gonna have it framed! (I covered over his name for discretionary purposes.)Knowing him, how modest he is about such things, he'll probably be embarrassed that I put this on our Blog. It's part of our 'world' so it's going on here; it's for you to know, and for him to find out...(when he gets off the boat).


It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

We love road-tripping; it's something we always look forward to because we laugh and sing at the top of our lungs, take in wonderful sights, eat along the road, and just, most of the time, have a carefree time. We took the dogs. SparkyBear and MarkyBear are very good about travel; they look around, doze most of the time, and the only time they complain is when they need to potty or are hungry. They never bawl, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" About the time they need to potty, so do we, or about the time they are hungry, so are we, so it works out great. We listened to our usual Lynyrd Skynyrd road trippin' music, then some Jimmy Buffett, then I surprised Cappy with a ten-hour CD of a book named Redwall. It is a Renaissance period, swashbuckling tale of mice, narrated by actors of British fame, all told with sound effects. The writer has a poetic, intelligent way with words...a great wordsmith. Since I was driving and concentrating on traffic, I missed a lot of it, but what I heard makes me want to listen to it here at home when I get the chance. Good stuff. It accompanied us on the way up and most of the way back. Cappy loved it.
We spent the first night at a hotel just north of Nashville, so as to avoid the rush hour traffic in the morning. We all fell into bed exhausted around midnight. A few hours later, about three a.m. MarkyBear either fell or jumped out of bed, dislocated his good leg and woke us up screaming like a woman! Oh NO! Cappy surmises that since it's a habit of MarkyBear, when everyone is asleep, to sneak out of bed and go foraging for any leftover food SparkyBear may have left in his dish, that in the middle of this particular night he'd gotten the munchies and not knowing how high the bed was, being unfamiliar with it, jumped off in search of goodies. Now we were wide awake trying to decide what to do...turn around and go back home to his vet? We didn't know if he'd broken a hip or what, but he was in pain. We just didn't know what to do. We cuddled him between us and tried to decide what would be the best plan. We woke up about eight o'clock and Cappy said we should continue our trip but find a vet as soon as possible. We gingerly carried the poor boy everywhere. It was hard for him to potty, not being able to 'assume' the postition. So, on we drove. We stayed in another hotel in Erie, coddling him. I'd decided to take him to the veterinary clinic I'd used in Rochester for my other dogs. As soon as we got to Dan's house, we called, and my old vet said they weren't taking any new patients, so we got ahold of Dan and his wife, Jennifer's vet and they said to come right on over. They were only a few minutes away, so it was convenient, as well. What a great place! Dr. Larry Silberg DVM and his staff at Palmyra Animal Hospital took care of MarkyBear and got him out of pain immediately, poor little guy. (We were suffering right along with him the whole time. I had to step out of the room when the doctor gave MarkBear a cortizone shot...Cappy the Braveheart stayed with him.) Though the weather was cold, these people were so very warm and friendly. God Bless them! After I took MarkyBear, SparkyBear and Cappy back to Dan's house, I headed off to spend the day with my daughter Sookie. We'd both been looking forward to a "Mommie and Daughter Day". (Even tho she's in her mid-thirties, she'll always be my little girl.) She had arranged for us to go to a ceramics studio, where she's taken classes, etc. for the last five or so years. What a fun place. She's an artist, anyhow, so her work always looks fabulous. I've never tried it before, but we chatted and laughed and caught up on all the latest news, while we painted. I picked out a gentle "Papa Noel" for my friend, Melissa, for Christmas. I hope she likes it. We had a wonderful time, and looked forward to spending the next day with her and her hubby, Russ, opening our Christmas gifts.

When I got back to Dan's house that night, I discovered Cappy had been having a good/bad time with the boys. Sons, Dan, Thom and Joe were all doing the 'guy' stuff, but in the meantime, our dogs, being downright DAWGS, in the worst sense of the word, had gotten into the cat's kitty litter (GAGGGGGG!!!) and eaten the kitty "cookies", and now had upset stomachs and extreme diarrhea; what the vet called "kitty cat revenge". We were staying in the "in-law apartment" upstairs where, to get up there, two sets of stairs and four doors have to be negotiated. It's an huge house built in the 1800's...1700's?? President Grover Cleveland was said to have been a visitor there and had his picture taken on the spiral staircase. I digress...Cappy could not see himself, when in the middle of the night, one of the dogs having an urgent need to go outside, trying to throw on his clothes, leashing the dogs, fumbling his way down all the stairs and through the doors to get them outside...in time. As it was, they didn't make it and Cappy found himself and Thom down on their hands and knees scrubbing the carpets. Meanwhile I had gotten ahold of wheat somewhere and was lying in bed as sick as I'd ever felt, thinking about going to the hospital emergency room....no help to Cappy, and only making things worse for him. I think he was about in tears by this time. Do you believe in fervent prayer? We do. So. In awhile I was up and 'running'...unbelievable, but true. It was as if a switch had been turned on. One minute I was so ill, just drinking water...the effort made me all shakey and weak and wondering if we should call the EMT's...the next minute...hey!!! all better. God is sooooo good to us! Cappy sent me off to Sookies house, while he stayed and took care of the dogs and got ready for the party the next day. The man insisted. (I'll relate in a later post about my wonderful "Christmas" day with Sookie and Russ.)

When I got back home to Dan's there was a lot going on preparing for the next day's activities. In the middle of all of it, Cappy had spoken to the vet again, and had me cook the dogs rice with lean meat to try to settle their digestive systems and 'firm up' their 'stools'. Cappy's fun had been punctuated by running them outside, sometimes making it in time, sometimes not, then having to get down on all fours and cleaning it up. THEN...he INSISTED on sleeping in his clothes on the carpeted floor 'under' the dining room table with the dogs, because he said, as any fan of the show, 'The Dog Whisperer' knows, that dogs will not go to the bathroom in their sleeping area. He had put up a kiddie gate, so that the dogs couldn't get into the rest of the house, where it is all carpeted, so that the only place they could have an accident was on the linoleum floor in the kitchen. Which they did...several times, as he tried in vain, to rush them outside. He said it was a nightmare to find himself down on his hands and knees scrubbing the floor at three o'clock in the morning. I wanted to sleep down there, too, but he sternly put his foot down against that idea. That man slept down there on the floor...what...three...four(?) nights in a row to make sure the 'boys' got outside when they needed to go. I said that I was going to take a turn sleeping down there with them anyhow! He said that I had hurt his feelings, because what kind of a southern gentleman would he be to allow that. He said it would hurt his dignity for him to sleep upstairs while I slept downstairs on the floor. I always offered anyhow, and he always adamantly declined.

The poor man. His only goal, he said was for me to have a very enjoyable Christmas with my kids. Despite everything, he said that he was enjoying himself, spending time with the guys, family and friends. We both had a memorable time...no dogs next time...I did indeed have a great Christmas with the kids and grandbabies, but felt so very bad for Cappy. I learned a lot about him that week, and am speechless about his unselfish giving nature. But now, he's happy, so I guess I'm happy. As it is with us here in Cappy and Pegody's World, we had an "Awful Wonderful" 'Christmas in New York.


That's Cold.

Well, we got back home safe and sound. Cappy is back out on da boat. The day we left for western NY, Cappy was outside in his short pants, picking oranges and lemons to bring north to family and friends. That night before we pulled into Nashville, we were running into sleet mixed with rain. The roads are steep, wide and winding, so I slowed way down, not wanting to go sliding anywhere. Driving at night in strange territory is bad enough, but then to have the roads all slippery and slushy, too...not good.
Now Cappy has seen snow before. In northern Louisiana they sometimes had gotten snow about an inch deep, so he seemed rather nonplussed when we began to get some snow 'spitting' around Cincinnati. (I do NOT like driving through Cincinnati...at all. Whenever we start planning a trip up north, I always start looking for alternative routes to avoid the place, but, alas, it's the only short and quick way to do it. As we drive through, my every nerve is always on emergency standby and I'm sitting on the edge of my seat.) We were in a merry mood nontheless, and singing, so I started (mock) shouting to the other drivers, "Ok, you city of Cincinnati 'cinners', out of our way; the Saints are driving through!" (New Orleans football Saints, get it?...well, anywaze...) All that day, through Ohio, we drove in light snow flurries, til nightfall in rush hour around Cleveland, which sits on Lake Erie, notorious for blizzards. We continued until we got to the city of Erie, in Pennsylvania, where they had gotten "socked in", earlier in the day with about a foot of snow. Not a problem, the roads had been plowed and were, for the most part dry. There were huge piles and drifts everywhere, especially in the hotel parking lots, and the sound of us driving through the packed snow was all crunchy and familiar to me. It was not familiar to Cappy, who thought we were driving too fast to negotiate the turns in the plowed mazes of the back streets and in the parking lots. I think it was, for him, like having been suddenly thrust onto a very strange and unsettling planet, so I slowed down and took it easy. Erie, aint it.
Since I didn't get us killed, the next morning as we drove through the hills of western NY around Jamestown, he had his side window open, his arm out the window, held aloft, taking pictures of the beautiful scenery.

We stopped to pick up son, Thom, in my old college town, Alfred. Thom lives on a steep hill, and the road, though plowed, still has a tight packing of snow, so getting up there, one has to pick up speed before getting to the base of the hill, keep the speed up, til getting to his driveway, then turn into the driveway and kind of slide on into it. Ya get a knack for it, after awhile of driving in the white stuff. It can be pretty tricky, tho'. Actually, I drove too far in, and had to back up, spinning the wheels, then pulling forward and backing up again about five times before I caught enough traction from the fresh snow between the icy tire tracks. The guys were talking about getting out of the warm SUV to push us up and out, but I made it.
Once we got to son, Dan's house up in Walworth, just east of Rochester, we found that they had no snow at all. But it was Cold. When we left, they were on the brink of a windy kinda/sorta blizzard, but not. The wind cut right through whatever we were wearing. Cappy experienced, for the first time in his life, his exposed ears and hands stinging from the 'scalding', freezing cold.
We have lots of stories to relate and plenty of pictures and videos.
Suffice it for now to say, that we got home safely, despite the fact that down south here, the weather was in the upper 70's, the wind was crazy and we drove through tornado weather to get home. In the morning I drove Cappy to work in the rain, turned on the radio to learn that Baton Rouge was getting snow and they were closing schools. Whaaaa??? By the time I got back to our little town we were indeed being snowed on and people were saying we brought it down with us from New York. To which I said, "Tah-Dahhhh!" and took bows.

A house on our street.
Only thing...now I'm dosing myself with vitamin C, echinechea, garlic tabs, hot soups, bundling up, and fighting a fever, snotty runny nose, cough, achiness and foggy head that accompanies my .....COLD.