Tuesday, April 22, 2014
If you pay attention when you’re out for a walk, you might be struck by all the little dramas going on around you.
A chickadee looked up at me as it lay limply in a neighbor’s driveway. A tougher woman might have crushed its head with a rock to put it out of its pain, but hoping it was just stunned and would fly away, I walked on. When I next passed by, it was dead, its feathers fluffing in the wind.
A week later, I was passing the same driveway and heard birdsong from above. There on the wire directly above the driveway was a black-capped chickadee just like the other.
It has been there every morning since.
Three cats lingered on the front steps and side yard of a house that their owners had left behind, along with them. The Animal Welfare League told me they could do nothing unless I managed to trap the cats and bring them in. Maybe a neighbor will take them in, they said.
A young girl who moved in next door did take care for them for a while, until all her belongings piled on the street told me she’d been evicted. The cats were wandering about aimlessly once more.
I recently saw the lady across the street from them come out in her housecoat with a large bowl of cat food which she placed on her driveway. They gathered around, tails twitching, no longer feral for a few moments.
Now they’re apparently paying tribute. This morning two eviscerated creatures had been left at the end of her driveway.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Forgot to post this, especially for any Rhode Island Sparkers out there. You're a small state with a complicated coastline that seems the equal of Florida's in length, so you deserve a shout out.
A deli isn’t always a deli. Sometimes it’s a shape-shifting roadshow with New England fair food and its own troupe of troubadours.
Your first hint that this deli with the Boar’s Head sign has morphed, almost in spite of itself, into something unique is a wrought-iron patio set and potted succulents placed artistically out front for sale. Still thinking you’ll just go in and take a number at the counter--for a Reuben and a half-sour perhaps--you instead step into a Caribbean breeze.
Soft calypso is being played by Trinidadian Sylbert Jackson-Smith (Smitty), who runs Saturday’s open mic here.
Also in the house: the Guitar Army, an eclectic community of acoustic musicians who encamp here when not playing Gilchrist Park Thursday nights. Canadian Marc Ballesteros, card-carrying member of the Army, showed up one day, got talking with co-owner Lisa Vale about music, and next thing she knew, all these musicians flocked in for lunch and kept coming back to play.
“I mean, I like music, but I always thought I’d be doing an Italian restaurant,” Lisa admits, bemused.
Where you least expect it, is a coffeehouse--painted warm bistro earth tones, musical paraphernalia hanging on the wall, striped café curtains that a customer sewed for free from a bolt of yard-sale fabric, and salty Rhode Island accents rolling off the tongues of staff and customers.
One patron yells, “Hey Joe Walsh!” to co-owner Randy. “He looks just like Joe Walsh, the rock stah. I just gut in lahst night from the Carolinizz, had an ice stawm, lost powah for fo-ah days. How ya doin’--aright?”
This place could be called RI’s, not RJ’s, but its name comes from Randy Jr., not his home state.
Half the year, a box trailer sits contentedly out back, frying up such delectables as clam cakes--Rhode Island’s cornmeal/clam take on the hush puppy, best when dunked in chowder.
Order some while you can, before Randy and that trailer rumble away like the circus, from May through October, to crank open their yellow awning at big New England fairs. The awning opens over the Charlestown, RI, Seafood Festival, where the dress code requires lobster attire, from red antenna-waving headgear to full-on clawed costumes; the Deerfield Fair’s cattle pulls, pig scrambles, and Flying Wallendas; and that mile-long flea fest near Sturbridge, MA, the Brimfield Antique Show.
When they ask, “What do you do when Randy’s gone half the year?” Lisa laughs, “It’s great! No cluttah problem. Pah-TAY!” But she also takes RJ’s helm offseason, keeping only slightly different hours.
Lisa’s coffee-brown curls spill out of a fisherman’s cap as she strides around waiting tables, greeting everyone like old friends with her broad Ocean State accent. She never waitressed before, and she’s “still to this day not a tray carrier,” but she loved cooking at home. Her mother, sisters, girlfriends remember the stuff they made when they were kids--potato and chicken salads, sheet pan pizza. Lisa’s mom, Margie, going on 89, shared all her recipes.
“Now we tell her, ‘Oh that chowdah, oh that pizza! Mahgie’s recipes are famous now!’”
Monday, April 07, 2014
For any of you living in the Gulf Coast area, beware of the walking stick bug, also called the "stick bug." Our regular vet is fairly certain that's what got Doxie. These three-inch-long sticklike bugs are very hard to spot, but when threatened, they shoot out a caustic acid that should be flushed out immediately by human or dog owner, or it will cause a corneal burn. The vet shared with me an article that described a situation almost exactly like Doxie's. Dog yelps, rubs face, then hours later has an eye swollen shut.
He has her on new medications and is hopeful it will heal because, though widespread, it's superficial. Fingers crossed!
Both patients are on pain meds, but only one of them can eat crunchy food.
Sunday, April 06, 2014
"Yipe!" said Doxie, while nosing around our tree, and at once threw her face on the ground and began rubbing it. I checked it carefully, couldn't see anything, and she subsided with the rubbing. So I figured whatever it was would work its way out.
By evening, her eye was weeping. I gave her hot compresses, which she gratefully accepted. Good girl.
This morning, the whole thing was swollen shut, and she was kicking and scratching at it. So, enough. Time for the emergency vet, a trip that I expect will cost as much as a short vacation. But, Sunday or no Sunday, I'm not messing with possible infection. Off we went, leaving Sister Roly home with Bill and praying there will be no pitbulls in the waiting room with torn ears hanging from their heads after the Saturday night fights.
All was quiet. Everyone was a delight. Doxie behaved herself like an angel in the absence of her sister to give her courage.
But it seems she has a severely ulcerated cornea and will be on an aggressive course of eyedrops and ointment every few hours. Not to mention the Cone. Bless her heart, she has gotten used to it quickly--maybe because it frightens her sister like nobody's business.
Tomorrow Bill goes in for major dental surgery in preparation for a nice set of new teeth. He's on his own!
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