Merry Christmas 1999,
I hope the season finds you well. When we had to have our dog put to sleep last year, we made a solemn vow not to even think about getting another dog for at least a year, and then we went right out and bought another female Airedale Terrier. Her name is Josie. We’re having trouble training her because she has a birth defect: she’s stupid. We will teach her things and then she takes a nap and forgets everything she ever knew since the day she was born. Sometimes it’s a struggle.
We went on vacation to Fairfield Bay, Arkansas this year. I believe Arkansas is an Indian word that means, the land of ten thousand different kinds of wasps, and I believe we had every one of them at the condominium where we were staying. I don’t know if one sting from any of them would kill you instantly, but they all looked like one sting from any of them would kill you instantly. I did enjoy the tarantulas however. While we were there we visited a folk center where people made lye soap, spun cloth and did everything the exact same way the mountain people did things 150 years ago in the same air-conditioned buildings.
Most of the roads were narrow steep mountain roads with sharp hairpin turns. I did most of the driving and I got to use some of the high speed cornering techniques I learned at the law enforcement academy. I asked the others several times how I was doing, but they were usually busy praying or screaming, “We’re going to die!” so loudly that I don’t think they ever heard the question.
We drove to Memphis one day and saw Graceland and Beale Street, the birth place of the blues. I wasn’t impressed with Graceland, but Beale Street was great. We ate crawdad gumbo and listened to street bands. Someday I’d like to visit the birth places of some of the other colors.
Before we went on vacation we had been negotiating with an organization about renting out our house as a group home. We thought it would be a good way to make some extra money, and maybe we could leave the dog there and they wouldn’t notice. When we got back from vacation we finalized the deal. We bought a ranch-style house and our big old house is now a group home. It seems to be working out okay, although the day after they moved in they called us up to come and get the dog.
Until next year, that’s about it. You keep doing what you do and I’ll keep trying to train the dog. I have it down to when she scratches at the door I let her out, and when she turns her food dish over I feed her. Now that I think about it, she’s training me.