I arrived to quite the reception recently at Hyatt Place in The Woodlands near Hughes Landing. I’m sure they heard a star was arriving so they pulled out all the stops for little old me. They greeted me with a lovely packet of my most favorite dog biscuits and a special tag to hang on my door. They wanted contact information in the event I needed anything while Mama was out. The ladies thought I was just the sweetest! Well enough of that, after all Mama told me not to talk about myself so….shhhhh, don’t say anything. She’ll never know.
The room was just lovely. Very large so I could run all I wanted. There were big windows with lots of sunshine for my daily sunbaths. But that fluffy bed with all those pillows, wow, I thought I was in heaven. When Mama rounded the corner and saw me all snuggled into those pillows I thought for sure I was in trouble. Boy was I glad to see that big smile on her face. I could get used to this. Let me see, do they have doggie room service here? I certainly hope they have fresh apples chunks, my absolute favorite snack. Mama peels my apples and cuts them really small. I’m certain they serve peanut butter and spray cheese as well. Just tiny bits, after all I am a dog but I really love my snacks.
Well Mama and my favorite Daddy left me in the kennel so they could go see their grandson play his last football game of the regular season. I took a little nap and woke up to such a quiet room. It’s really quiet here and that’s why Mama always likes to stay here. I lay there for a while and thought; I remember a poodle in the lobby when I checked into the hotel. There was also a golden retriever and a mixed breed golden lab. We barked hello to each other and I gave them the paws up that there may just be a party later on if the parents went out tonight. I also signaled a special bark if indeed I thought the party could happen. Giddy up, the parents are out! I finagled the kennel door until I got it open. Then I began to howl until the management came to find out if I was ok. When they opened the door I made my escape. I began the signal bark that I had arranged when my buddies checked into the hotel. It was a bark only known to my buddies and me. We met on the lawn and escaped into the nearby ditch. I happen to know there’s a great Whole Foods across the street that trashes all sorts of delectable items at closing time. I led the pack across the street, whew; the golden retriever is sort of slow and almost got smacked by a Mercedes! I woofed at him that if he got run over my Mama would punish me with that water sprayer she uses when I don’t obey. She thinks I’m scared of that little wimpy thing, I actually enjoy getting that cool little mist. Oh well, you just have to play the game. Yum, they threw out the salmon and sweet potatoes. I just love sweet potatoes, they are especially my favorite! The golden retriever loves the pizza, he would…..lol. The mixed breed lab was just over the moon with all the muffins that were in the trash. I tried to tell him those muffins had raisins but he wouldn’t listen. Yep, he barfed all the way back to the hotel. Well the persnickety poodle wouldn’t eat anything because she was waiting for the cheese soufflé. No soufflé sister. She put her nose in the air and headed backed to the hotel in a huff. Oh well, you just can’t please some people. And no, there was no room service, well at least for dogs. That’s ok, my Mama taught me to be resourceful! Love ya Mama!
Whelp, my favorite Daddy has been a little under the weather again. Never did quite understand how someone could be ‘under’ the weather but you know those humans, they do talk kinda strange sometimes. Because of Daddy’s condition that means that sometimes I get to visit different folks. Like Miss Ruth and Mr Craig. They have three dogs themselves but they made room for little ole me. Bailey is the elder pup and he keeps us all in line. Then there’s Charlie Brown who’s a bit older than me. Charlie Brown is a sweet pup, made me feel right at home. Their baby is Toby, a schnauzer who’s about a year old and just lots of fun. Toby and I ran all around, wrestled over the chew bone, and just had a ball. My favorite place to hang out at Miss Ruth’s is the sofa. Except that I didn’t know Miss Ruth doesn’t allow her pups on the sofa. Oops! You see I have my own love-seat at home. Mom keeps a cover on it just for lil ole me. I love you Mama! Well, Miss Ruth was trying so hard to make me feel at home she never told me I didn’t belong on her sofa. She just put a cover on there and made me feel right at home. I love Miss Ruth, she made me feel really safe. It was such fun spending the week out at Miss Ruth’s home. She has lots of farm animals. There are longhorn cows, horses, a visiting duck, and who knows what else out in the woods behind the house past the windmill. Boy would I love to have a run in those deep woods. Might be a bit scary but not if Mr Craig was close by. Well, I’m certain Mama would never allow that and maybe I’m secretly glad. Besides we all had great fun playing in the yard watching the baby calf just beyond the fence. It was a very fun week.
Dad’s home and I think I’m on my way to becoming a therapy dog. Surely I am close to being certified. I sit right beside Dad’s chair and follow him everywhere he goes. Geez I am so excited that he is spending more time at home. He’s getting very generous with snacks. He has to sneak around past Mama though, cause she thinks I shouldn’t have anything from the table. Well it all started with peanut butter. Dad always gives me just a tiny taste of peanut butter when he’s making a sandwich. Or it might be a tiny chip or Chex mix. Mmmmmm he’s gonna be in real trouble if Mama catches him. I’ll never tell. I’m loving it! Thanks Dad!
OK, so I just spent my first full day at camp! Wow, what an experience. No one explained this camp was mostly for kids. A small detail left out of the online brochure. I have never been so scared in all my life. Those crickets were singing so loud I thought they were about to dive down and carry me away into the hills. I mean, I had no idea I was gonna be sleeping outside. People, I’m used to being inside. Yeah it’s nice to just go potty anytime of night but geez, it’s dark and scary out here. At least my cousin’s are with me. Bear, Luke, Felix and Lacy the cat are sound asleep. So does this make me a fraidy cat? Well, maybe so. I have a thousand things running through my head about now. Like…..are there bears out in these woods? Bobcats maybe, who might sneak up and jump in our dog yard? Then those rats, yuk! I thought I could count on Lacy to scare those rats away but then I learned she doesn’t even care for rat! Incredible that a cat doesn’t have an appetite for rat after all those great recipes I mentioned yesterday, rat meatloaf being among my favorite. Those rats come out at night gobbling up all the crumbs dropped by the kids during the day. They love it when all those kids roll into camp. Those rats have a big meeting just before camp starts. The rat chairman divides the camp and assigns the rats their territories. The oldest rats get the best territories, which are nearest the kitchen. The young rats don’t really care about their territory, as they don’t need as much food anyway. They just like to chew on things, like dog tails! Yikes! Get me out of here! Mom, come get me, I’m being eaten alive by a rat. Ok, Dallas, settle down, you’re just dreaming. Felix just told you those stories to scare you. Felix came as a young pup to camp several years ago and one of the big dogs at camp told him that rat story. In a few years you will have the pleasure of scaring another young pup new to camp. So go to sleep and in the morning the schedule says all dogs are free to swim in the lake. Just be sure to watch out for that big ole alligator.
Camp Longhorn here I come! Geez, I’m finally old enough to attend camp with my cousins, Felix, Bear, Luke and of course I suppose we’ll have to let Lacy the cat come along too. Besides, having Lacy around we won’t have to worry about rats. Wait a minute, what do you mean Lacy doesn’t like rat? What? Are you kidding me? All cats like rat! I mean, there’s chicken stuffed rat, rat meatloaf, ground rat hamburgers, rat potpie, fried rat and I’ve been told grilled rat wrapped in bacon is to die for!
I have been waiting for this day for a long time. Let’s see, I’ll need a small trunk to hold all my stuff, things like a few extra collars, harnesses, leash, swim trunks, goggles, my favorite cinnamon treats, chew bones, sun glasses, hat, some of those cute doggie boots, balls, chew toys, thunder jacket and oh and I can’t forget my stuffed monkey. I can’t wait to try the dog paddle canoes, made especially for small dogs like me. They’re made with a place for my little legs to hang out and dog paddle the canoe around Inks Lake. I’ve heard that there are lots of rabbits out there at camp. I’m gonna have a ball chasing those little cotton tails around. I have lots of experience chasing turtledoves and squirrels. We even have a raccoon that comes out at night but I steer clear of that dude. They have huge claws and big teeth. My Mama told me to never get close or they might tear me to shreds. I hear they have campfires at camp almost every night. So cool! I’ve never been to a camp so I’m thinking they’ll have smores, popcorn, candy, kool-aid, Hawaiian punch, sour patch candy and all that cool junky candy while we sit around listening to scary stories. Yum! I can hardly wait! Felix just hates those scary stories but Bear and Luke love them. Once while Felix was visiting my house I told him about a giant lizard that resembled a big old alligator. That ole lizard stayed under the front porch and he ate so many bugs that summer he couldn’t crawl out from under the porch. We told Felix to not go near that porch or that giant lizard would bite his leg completely off. Sure enough one very dark night, the crickets were screaming up a storm, the hoot owls were hooting and scouting for rats. Poor Felix was lying very near the porch sleeping that hot night. He had forgotten the story about the giant lizard. Felix was sound asleep when the big owl swooped down to capture the rat that had escaped the claws of the giant lizard. Poor old Felix jumped a mile high as he felt the owls feathers brush by him in the dark of night. Felix ran under the porch and mercy he came face to face with the giant lizard. He scraped most all the hide off his rear end as he was escaping from under the old porch that dark hot night. Pass the smores please!
It’s been awhile but I’m back! I have learned so many new things since we last talked. I developed a taste for table food. Now Mama says boo hiss on that stuff for me. But my favorite Daddy sneaks me a little morsel when we catch Mama gone. I love love love peanut butter too! Dad usually lets me lick the old butter knife when he makes a peanut butter sandwich or better yet when he cuts an apple and dips his apple in the peanut butter. I am in love with apples. They’re good for you right? One a day keeps the doctor away and all that stuff. Then I found these little flakes on the floor a few days ago. They tasted a little bit salty and very crisp. I’m in love with potato chips now. When Dad opens that big ole bag of chips you can hear it next door. I learned the sound of a chip bag opening very quickly in my young life. When that happens I am front and center in the kitchen with the most pitiful look on my face I can muster. Sad eyes, tail wagging but of course I am too classy to beg. I would never stoop that low, well unless it was apples, chips or peanut butter.
Tonight I am riding out my first hurricane, well ok, it’s a tropical storm. Lot’s of rain, thunder and lightning. I am all snug in my little bed and have the covers pulled up. I’ll see ya’ll in the morning! Nite nite!
I’ve been missin’ ya’ll! I have a lot of catchin’ up to do. I went for Thanksgiving holidays to my cousin’s in The Woodlands. Thanksgiving night my Favorite Daddy had a heart attack. Everything was just crazy for a while. I didn’t know what was going on for days. But thank heavens I had my cousin dogs and cat to help me. Max, Luke, Bear (he’s so big you’d think he was a real bear), and Lacy the cat. Berkley and Aunt Shannon spoiled me rotten. I learned to climb stairs to Berkley’s room. Luke wasn’t too keen on that plan but he shared the space in Berkley’s bed. Luke sleeps there every night on the foot of her bed.
Mealtime at my cousin’s house is a real fiasco. But Aunt Shannon figured out that she could fence me in the hallway by the pantry and I wouldn’t have my food scooped up by the other dogs. I was pretty picky when I got there. Mom buys me this really high quality food. Truth is I don’t really like it so I just graze and nibble. Whelp, have you ever tried to graze and nibble when 4 sets of eyes were staring you down, one of which was a giant German shepherd named Bear. He’s really sweet and we talked thru the little fence Aunt Shannon erected. Pretty soon I began eating the same dog food my cousins were eating and I loved it. I learned when the food is put out I had better eat. I am a changed pup. I was there about 2 ½ weeks before my Favorite Daddy was able to come home. I had a wonderful vacation.
We came home just before Christmas. I spent lots of time lying in Daddy’s lap. I am pretty certain I could be one of those therapy dogs. I love him so much. I would lie real still and be careful to not jump around. If he wasn’t feeling too good, I’d just lay at his feet. Mama was real proud of how I took such good care of Daddy. He’s doing really well. He’s getting better every day.
Mama says she knows why the good Lord sent me to live here now. It was so I could doctor Daddy back to health.
I’ve been missin’ ya’ll! I have a lot of catchin’ up to do. I went for Thanksgiving holidays to my cousin’s in The Woodlands. Thanksgiving night my Favorite Daddy had a heart attack. He had to have a big surgery. But the doctors there were great. Well, everything was just crazy for a while. I didn’t know what was going on for days. But thank heavens I had my cousin dogs and cat to help me. Max, Luke, Bear (he’s so big you’d think he was a real bear), and Lacy the cat. Berkley and Aunt Shannon spoiled me rotten. I learned to climb stairs to Berkley’s room. Luke wasn’t too keen on that plan but he shared the space in Berkley’s bed. Luke sleeps there every night on the foot of her bed.
Mealtime at my cousin’s house is a real fiasco. But Aunt Shannon figured out that she could fence me in the hallway by the pantry and I wouldn’t have my food scooped up by the other dogs. I was pretty picky when I got there. Mom buys me this really high quality food. Truth is I don’t really like it so I just graze and nibble. Whelp, have you ever tried to graze and nibble when 4 sets of eyes are staring you down, one of which was a giant German shepherd named Bear. He’s really sweet and we talked thru the little fence Aunt Shannon erected. Pretty soon I began eating the same dog food my cousins were eating and I loved it. I learned when the food is put out I had better eat. I am a changed pup. I was there about 2 ½ weeks before my Favorite Daddy was able to come home. I had a wonderful vacation.
We came home just before Christmas. When we got settled back at home I spent lots of time lying in Daddy’s lap. I am pretty certain I could be one of those therapy dogs. I love him so much. I would lie real still and be careful to not jump around. If he wasn’t feeling too good, I’d just lay at his feet. Mama was real proud of how I took such good care of Daddy. He’s doing really well. He’s getting better every day.
Mama says she knows why the good Lord sent me to live here now. It was so I could doctor Daddy back to health.
Heard It Through The Grapevine: Tales From The Kitchen and John 15:5,6
OK, I’m not talking about the song today. I have long pondered over grapevines as I’ve devoured cluster after cluster of delicious grapes. When grapes are first picked their vines are green, supple, smooth and almost impossible to break. Left on the vine the grapes seem to last longer and stay plump and juicy. After a stay in the fridge each day the vines seem to become just a little harder and prickly. The grapes that fall from the vine don’t last as long as the ones that remain attached. So here’s what I heard from the grapevine…..First of all I am reminded of John 15:5,6 which is Jesus’ words and says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers;” and it goes on.
So that old grapevine just gets harder and harder the longer it’s off the vine. Just like a Christian that decides he doesn’t have to attend church with other believers. The further away from church he roams the harder he gets, forgetting his first love, Jesus. He becomes so prickly he can draw blood with his words, attitude and actions. Hebrews 10:24,25 says…”And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” I think the Bible makes it pretty clear why we are to remain in fellowship (attached) with one another. There are many other verses that make this abundantly clear.
I hope when you hear that song, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, you will be reminded why you need to remain in church with other believers. And if you don’t have a church, find one. Make certain it is Christ centered, Bible believing and you can’t go wrong with your choice. Oh, and the watercolor above is mine.
A Texas Thanksgiving…….Deer Camp Style
By Gayle Jones
Thanksgiving deep in the heart of Texas can sometimes include things other than the customary Turkey, dressing, green beans and yams. Depending on your geographic location and expendable income it could mean venison tenderloin (aka deer back strap), wild pig roast (aka feral hogs), a token turkey (deep fried) I mean it is Thanksgiving. Turnip greens, smother fried potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, pinto beans, biscuits and cornbread. If you’ve never had Thanksgiving at a deer camp you’ve really missed an event. Those guys put their food on to cook well before daylight and maybe even the night before. They have to be out on the deer stand before the sun comes up. Mid-morning they return to camp to feast on bacon with the rind, biscuits, sawmill gravy, ribbon cane syrup and scrambled eggs. They wash this morning feast down with lots of coffee and ice cold milk. Now that’s just the beginning of Thanksgiving Day. They will have already begun to smoke just about any kind of meat the law allows. There’s always smoked meat at the deer camp! Everyone at camp pitches in and makes their favorite dishes. Turnip greens were most likely planted at camp during the preseason camp clean up. Do you have any idea how many turnip greens it takes to make a ‘mess of greens’ for a deer camp? A 30-gallon garbage bag would probably be needed to hold the raw turnip greens just to have enough to satisfy a few campers. Those greens are washed, put into a huge pot along with a Texas size ham hock, a glob of bacon grease, sugar and allowed to simmer until nice and tender. Sweet potatoes are greased and put on the side of a smoker to be baked. The women from back at home begin arriving at camp bringing all the side dishes and desserts. Camp is pretty primitive but somehow these guys and a few gals manage to put on quite a feast. Their campers are circled just like in the wagon train days. A huge fire pit in the center of camp provides the setting for the biggest tales ever told under a moonlit Texas night.
When all at camp gather to say grace before this incredible meal, the quietness of the woods beckons back to a time long past.