It’s been many weeks since I last posted a blog. That’s because many changes have occurred and the blog just had to wait.
On July 13, I moved from Friends House to Spring Lake Village, still in Santa Rosa. Although I enjoyed, and indeed, loved, many of the residents at Friends House, and respected their integrity, I noticed that I devoted way too much time worrying about the stability of the administration. I’ll be ninety next month and don’t want to spend the next years being concerned about the reliability of services in a senior center. The marketing person at SLV who answered my questions has been here 22 years. She described independent living, levels of assisted living, skilled nursing, medical staff, and memory care. I sighed in relief and signed the contracts.
SLV is larger than FH and offers many classes, lectures, excursions, programs, and good food. Thirty-seven exercise classes each week! I have met with a member of the Health and Wellness staff who has assessed my physical abilities and suggested classes for strength, endurance, and balance. I’m planning to add swimming one of these days. Next week I will join a paper and card-making class. And on August 29, I’ll join the busload to the Palace of Legion of Honor in San Francisco to attend the Degas and Impressionists exhibit.
Meanwhile I have enjoyed reading a publication of two dozen short stories by and for SLV residents. The next issue will focus on the theme, “What We Learned from our Pets.” I have submitted a short story about the dog my brothers and I had when we were children.
Actually, I’ll share it with you now:
“Bootsie Rankin is a good ol’ dog,” the Reverend Grey told his congregation one Sunday morning in the late 1930s. He stood in his pulpit in Coquille, the small dairy-logging town in southwestern Oregon where my three younger brothers and I grew up. Brother Grey, that’s what those in his little grey clapboard church on Second Street around the corner from our house, called him. Brother Grey described Bootsie’s physical appearance even though that was unnecessary as everyone knew Doc Rankin’s family pet.
Boots was a black Australian shepherd with a white bib and four white socks or boots. An old photo shows my nine-year-old brother John standing over his beloved pal, brushing her thick coat. Both boy and dog are smiling.
The Reverend Grey explained, “That dog chases cars. But only when one comes toward the children playing kick-the-can in the middle of the street. She is protecting the children, is telling the drivers to slow down. By risking her own life, she thinks she is saving the lives of the Rankin children and their friends. Jesus will bless Boots for her bravery and sense of responsibility.”
Maybe Brother Grey was right. But I wonder if Bootsie was exercising her herding instincts on the cars. I know she wanted to herd us children. During our games, when we ran to hide, she raced from one hiding place to the next, barking and wagging her tail and prancing about, trying to get us to run back to the telephone pole in the parking strip that we used as home base. We shushed her, but she had already given away our hiding places, especially when we hid in Old Man Schroeder’s wood shed. It was large enough to house several hiding places, and Bootsie excitedly tried to round us up and out of there.
So, what could we learn from Bootsie? To be responsible, to care for others, to smile in appreciation, to slow down and look around more. And when being bossy, to do so with enthusiasm and good cheer.
The Reverend Grey was right. Bootsie Rankin was a good ol’ dog.
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Do you remember your pets you as a child had? What did you learn from them?