Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A QUICK VISIT TO MY FAVORITE HAUNT

Click photos to enlarge


I really wasn't going to put an entry in the blog about today but, I thought, why not?  I paid no particular attention to taking good pictures and this morning was very overcast with about 25 mph wind making good photography challenging with the little Elph Canon Camera.  I've discovered that Falcor, being so light in color, is always over exposed in my photos.   He's just the opposite of Shade, who is pure, glossy black, making her images look solid black without shades and shadows mixed over the image.  The reason is that the camera is metering the lighted areas and adjusting the exposure to correspond.  If I could hold the camera down to the dog and set an exposure reading, then back up and take the picture;  the animals would receive the proper exposure.  But, alas, dogs just won't hold still for that kind of exposure manipulation.  I really am not that concerned about it anyhow.  Many photos of Falcor are blurred because I don't have control of shutter speed with the Elph camera.  I wanted to capture his joy and love of life.  I will, however, attach a fast lens on the big Canon next time for the specific purpose of photographing him.  He is a lively, fun loving dog and deserves to have all those movements and facial expressions captured.  Enough of the excuses for bad photography.   Before I move to the actual blog entry;  the family got together when Falcor and I returned home and I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for us all.  I splurged and gave each a whole sandwich.  We talked about their morning and then kicked back for a nap.  Well;  its Thanksgiving!  And I give thanks that I'm in a position to offer the best of a wholesome life to these wonderful friends of mine.  My reward is their absolute and total devotion to me.  It's wonderful!

Looks like Falcor has a good spot




Darling little Happy;  the velcro dog.  She has selected a place to rest as close to me as possible.




Shade grabbed her favorite spot at my feet, under the computer desk.  She has made it clear that no other entity lays in that spot.




Sweet little Chestnut;  the timid hound who listens better than any of the others, accept Falcor.  Everyone else laid down so she figured she may as well lay down also.  Funny!




And, last but certainly not least is Homer, who was brought home by my golden boy Douglas when he was a puppy.  Douglas simply walked into the kitchen one morning with a little gray kitten at his heels.  They both stepped to his food bowl and shared his food.  Homer's been with us ever since.  He thinks he's a dog.





The state boat was at Madisonville Marine located in the town of Madisonville near my old home of Greenback.  I took it there to have a cold weather starting problem repaired and they called yesterday informing me it was ready to go.  I am off today but, then I love this job so much that working is just as good as being off.  Falcor and I saddled up at 5:30 AM and down the road we went.  I won't get into the usual morning's interstate struggle as I've probably worn that story out by now.  
Falcor is a great passenger in the truck.  He is very laid back and low key.  He sits straight up beside me like a little guy for a few miles and eventually lays down and stretches out with his head on my leg and falls instantly to sleep.  We did stop at the interstate exchange for an egg and cheese croissant that I halved with him.  I wasn't very hungry at all.
As we pulled into Maryville and picked up Route 411, I thought I might introduce Falcor to the old state park.  We were early, as I always am, and would be driving right past the park and Wildlife Management Area (WMA). 
As I drove to my favorite parking place; the old feelings and memories started.  I tried to push them away and focus on Falcor but, they crowded in.  I wanted Falcor to walk the same paths that my boy Douglas walked.  This was without a doubt one of Douglas's favorite places to visit. 
This old state park has been a blessing for the dogs.  I brought them here, some weeks, every evening through the Summers for eight years.

Shades of Brown
The beautiful fields and meadows-I used to refer to them as shades of brown in Wintertime.  The dogs had room to grow out there and to learn.  But mostly;  they could just be dogs and act like dogs were supposed to act.
Falcor walked directly at my left, a foot away from me.  No leash is needed out here.
Many different dogs have walked this path over the years.  Some were temporary rescue dogs who needed some time away from the fence.  Those have gone to folks who have adopted them.  I remember them all and a few stand out in memory as outstanding dogs.
Now, a new member of the family walks the same path that all the nobile ones walked, who came before him.
Then, the two stone pillars appeared on the left, indicating we were at the ruins and sadness started to overcome me.  I looked at Falcor and suddenly I felt better.  I talked to him, as I always do with all members of my family.  I explained to him why this place was so important to me, and now to him.  I guess I just wanted to hear myself talk.  My words were for my own ears as much as for Falcor's.
"Falcor;  see that old tree over there?  Douglas used to run straight to it and plunge his entire head inside that hole.  He loved to chase the squirrels and they would always run into that big hole."
"Look here boy.  There's the stone steps.  I have written many journal pages while sitting on those steps.  Douglas would join me after chasing squirrels,  by lying down beside these steps in the shade.  He would wait until I was done writing.  As soon as I would stand, he would be on the move toward the trail.  He was always ready to move out."
"Falcor;  you are walking where a very great dog once walked.   He was a king and a master of his environment.  He, in his innocence, could do no wrong and blessed the wilds with his presence and bearing."
I sat down and played with Falcor.  He was enjoying the moment.  He's such a happy little guy!
Falcor is lightning fast.  I wish I had the big camera to stop motion.  He's a typical happy, healthy, young Golden Retriever.
We had a few minutes left to spend on the trail before going back.  I wanted to walk down the road to nowhere, as I call it.
The leaves were really falling off the trees.  Soon the limbs would be bare and Winter would be upon us.  We are ready.  The old road is so very familier and the memories many.  I've watched many dogs trot down this road heading for the old cut off that puts them at the lake's shoreline.
"Falcor look;  the path to the shore.  Many great, great dogs have used this trail to swim in the water of the lake.  Verdan, Olmandine, Robin, Wren, Vivie, Turnip, Analine, Spruce, old Sigh, Happy, Chestnut, and Shade; to name only a few.  They were all here and they were all shown the way by the greatest;  Douglas, the Golden Dog;  the Golden Retriever and the love of my life.  And now you, Falcor, join them here, in this most important place, on the soil that will not see many of them again.  You are the prince who will follow in the footsteps of Douglas and someday, like him,  you will be a king."

The waves and water are just a little scary for him. 


I had to go to the end of the road to see if the tree was still hanging off the cliff.  
"See that tree ahead, Falcor?  Douglas tried to walk down the length of it from the cliff, slipped and fell off.  He frightened me very much.  Don't you ever try that."
I had had enough and was ready to leave.  I let Falcor inspect the immediate area for a while before we left.

It was time to leave.  They should be turning the key in the lock to open the boat shop.  I'm glad I visited here today.  I'm happy Falcor could walk here.  It is a special place.  It holds so many special memories for me;  memories that are more near and dear to me than any I've previously known.  One special friend has cemented the bond between me and a canine family.

Thank you Douglas, for giving me your life and all the many happy memories associated with it.  I will always love you and hold you in my thoughts and in my heart.  You were magnificent in stature, and as a companion.
"Falcor is a great little guy, Douglas. I think you would approve of him and find him worthy to follow in your paw prints. All he needs is time. I remember your growing pains well. You drove me crazy when you were a puppy. But, you made me so very proud of you when you grew up. You're driving me crazy even now. Please look approvingly upon Falcor. He will make you proud of him. I know he will. He's following the same path you took on your way to being great. But never fear great golden dog; there will only be one master of the wilds, and one only. You have that position filled. We'll talk again. I'll see you later Douglas. I miss  boy!