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.
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