Dickhead of the Year

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Dickheads of the World: Unite

So the nominations for official Dickhead of the Year are now open. You are all invited to nominate your favorite Dickhead and, if you choose, to write a brief encomium on the D-H of your choice. Brief: about 50 words should suffice.

I was going to leave this post until April the First, April Fool’ Day, aka Jour des Poissons d’avril in bilingual New Brunswick. I may reserve my own nomination for my cat, Princess Squiffy, who again vomited on my favorite chair. Luckily, I was not in it at the time.

It will be interesting to see whom you nominate and why. I have a couple of other nominations, but I’ll save them for a day or two. Perhaps the dog who urinated on my snow man and caused its base to melt, hence toppling it over. Then there’s the raccoon which ate all the birdseed in the feeder so the deer couldn’t have any. Or maybe the deer who ate all the birdseed in the feeder and didn’t leave any for the birds. Then there’s the midnight deer-dancing group who left their dance steps in the snow all over my lawn. And there’s the snowman who didn’t believe in global warming … nor spring warming … alas, he’s nowhere to be seen nowadays.

Other candidates include the pigeons who decorated the head of the famous man in the square (with guano). And the man who remembered everything, except his own name, address, and telephone number. The lady who lost her car in a snowdrift gets an honorable mention, as does the American tourist who was so addicted to the accuracy of his GPS that he drove right down the slipway into the sea at Tenby, South Wales, and still didn’t think the GPS had any problems when he did exactly the same thing down the lifeboat ramp on the Mumbles Pier (Swansea, South Wales).

A word too in retrospect for all those drivers, especially in the UK, who suffer from Real Red Road Rage, the strongest kind. And a double word (you clown!) for the driver who, while suffering from Real Red Road Rage, stopped his car, got out, and tried to start a boxing match with the then world welter-weight champion who just happened o be driving the car that gave the man the RRRR.

“It wasn’t a very long fight, Howard.”

Reyes 2019

 

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Reyes

On the night of January 5 – 6, The Three Wise Men, Los Reyes Magos in Spanish, visit all the children in the world as they travel to Bethlehem. They bear gifts to these children and January 6 is a time of visitors and gifts.

First: the visitors. Three deer walked out of the woods this morning (6 Jan 2017). They paraded in front of the garage, luckily we had the door open, and equally luckily, I was able to get these photos of them.

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This is the lead deer. At this stage, the road was empty and I hadn’t been seen.

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The camera’s click sounded the alarm. The deer froze … and so did I. We gazed at each other for several seconds. I was afraid to move.

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I took another photo. The feet picked up as the camera clicked and away the deer went.

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Baby came last, but didn’t stay long.

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Up went the tail and away baby sped. Wapiti, White-tailed deer, tail in the air.

After the visitors, came the gifts.

Below is a link to my first Poetry book of 2008: Iberian Interludes. It arrived just in time for Reyes … the little boy that still dwells within this old man’s heart is delighted with his gift: the majority of my best poems about Spain gathered together beneath two new covers. Click below and open the box!

https://www.amazon.com/Iberian-Interludes-Bulls-Blood-Bottled/dp/1539911411/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

May you all have a great visit from the Three Wise Men (los Tres Reyes Magos), and may you all have a prosperous and joyous New Year, full of excellent writing and wonderful new accomplishments.

Chairman Tigger

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Chairman Tigger and the Cult of Personality

My 110 lb dog, Tigger, decided he wished to become a cult figure. So he placed this photo of himself in a prominent position by the Nativity this year and was happy to see a gathering of puppies and other dogs coming to welcome him and admire his good looks.

I’m not yet sure if Tigger has determined to run in the 2020 elections. With 20/20 foresight, I would be able to predict the results if he did and with 20/20 hind(leg) sight, I’ll be able, in 2021, to analyse whatever has happened by that stage. Was it Caligula who turned his horse into a god to be worshiped? Tigger was reading about him the other day in Suetonius’s Twelve Caesars. He told me “Surely if a horse can be a god, albeit a Roman god, I, who am as big as a small pony, can be a member of something, an MLA, perhaps, or an MP, maybe even a Representative, or even a Senator.”

“Tigger,” I replied. “You are certainly big enough to be a Senator. If only you could skate, and shoot the puck, and find a uniform to fit, I am sure the Ottawa Senators would be proud to have you as a mascot.” “If I am to be a hockey dog, I want to be a Maple Leaf, lik eddy the Entertainer,” he growled. That should tell you something about his state of mind.

Anyway, he is determined to get out there and run, which he does most days anyway. But he doesn’t have enough money for a deposit, let alone a genuine campaign, and he wants to stand as an independent. He doesn’t want to be tied down with a party line, if you see what I mean. He wants to be off the leash, so to speak. So, I suggested Crowd Funding and he quite liked the idea of that. So, backde by plastic Lego worshipers and followers, Crowd Funded with Monopoly Money, and a determination to create a first of some kind or another, Tigger the Democratic Dog, will soon be heading for either the Senate Kennels or the Parliamentary Kennels. He just hasn’t decided which as yet. I guess with 2020 foresight, I should be able to tell.

By the way, if he actually makes it to the Doggy Dreamland of Representative Status, he’s going to sponsor a bill for a Two-Way Rainbow Bridge. Apparently, he wants to come back again. And we want him back too.

Nativity

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Nativity

We keep this beautiful, hand-carved nativity scene on the sideboard all year round. It is tiny, approximately 2″ x 2″ and came from Central Europe, possibly Hungary, where a friend was travelling in the mid-seventies. He brought it back for us as a gift and we revisit it every Christmas, moving it into a more central place of honor and beauty by the Advent calendars and the Christmas scenes.

It will soon be time to remove most of these Christmas adornments. Some will stay up longer though and this is one of the pieces that will remain in sight to delight us all year round.

 

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This is another piece that will stay with us. It shows our photo of Tigger being visited by Kiki the Cat and several little puppies. Tigger gazes at them from his Royal Portrait, making them all feel welcome and protected as he endows them with the seasonal spirits that will extend well into the New Year.

Advent Calendars

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Advent Calendars

We have multiple Advent Calendars. Some are online, others are religious, and yet others, like the one pictured above, are forest scenes with Santa, courtesy of my daughter and Playmobile. We particularly like this one. Each day, from December 1 to December 24, we get a different set of pieces to add to the background. Then, on December 25, Santa arrives ad we keep him around, usually until the New Year, sometimes until Reyes, the Spanish and Mexican Christmas, on January 6.

Every morning, Clare opens the large Playmobile Box and adds the day’s pieces to the scene. Bit by bit, the scene grows until everyone is present in the same forest glade they have inhabited for many years now. Every year, I search for new animals, and they live in the scene next door, cats and dogs and kittens and puppies, all watched over by a framed photo (2001) of my favorite dog: Tigger.

No, the spirit of Christmas doesn’t reside in a cardboard box and its plastic figurines. Rather it resides in happy memories (horas non numero nisi serenas / I count only the happy hours) and in the new memories, usually very happy, that we create each year. Clare is a sun-watcher. Each day, she calls out the minutes as the days lengthen, post-mid-winter, and the earth tilts slowly back into spring, then summer. We also watch the sun shadow creeping up the wall (pre-Christmas) and then slowly back down again, post-Christmas, into the New Year, Reyes, and my birthday.

Christmas visitors in our plastic Christmas forest scene are joined by real visitors in the world outside. Deer walk up to the bird feeders by night and squirrels (red and grey), chipmunks, and a variety of birds feed there by day. By night we also get raccoons and the occasional fox. By day, our neighbors’ thin, predatory cats tinkle their Christmas bells, and patrol the garden in search of their Christmas dinners. Every year, we watch the splendor of birds at the feeder and hope that the cats go hungry for now, to be filled later in the safety of their own feline dishes safe indoors.

Touch and Go

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Touch and Go

            Rain. Persistent rain. Cornish mizzle that chills and wets. Basque chirrimirri penetrating flesh and bone. Low clouds blanket buildings, wrap themselves round the windshield. Cling with the tenacity of Saran wrap. Visibility variable, now clear, now a muffler round the car’s headlights. Darkness gathered, still gathering. Lights moving, cars moving, the road moving, blending first with the lights then with the shadows, shape-shifting.

            Down the hill now, out of the city lights, into the countryside. The road changing, patches and potholes, lights flickering in and out, darkness and light. Small animals of light, the potholes, shimmering, bumping by. Another pothole, moving, turning from side to side, a pothole with a ringed tail and two tiny eyes. A baby pothole, misses the front wheels, not the back. One dull, dry thump.

            What were you doing there, in the middle of the road? Why alone? Why no mother, no brothers? Why so small? I didn’t mean to … I didn’t want to … Why me? Why you? Why now? If only …

            Light breaks through the darkness clouding my mind. Memories: the driver on the road to Kincardine, chasing a jackrabbit, trapped in the headlights, a Belgian Hare, dodging down the middle of the country road. Laughing, the driver, with the joy of his hunt. Then: one dry thump. The car stopped, the hare, still twitching, held by its long ears, shown as a trophy at the car window, then thrown in the trunk. Memories: two lads in a half-ton, on a back road by Grand Lake. A sunny Sunday. Spotting the ground hog at the roadside. Driving at it with the truck. Swerving to hit it. The joy and laughter in their faces, looking back. One dry thump. The ground hog, front half viable, spine fractured, back legs paralyzed, dragging itself with its forearms to the roadside, dropping into the ditch.

            Legend tells of the man who met Death in Cairo. Death looked surprised to see him. “What are you doing here?” he asked. Fear filled the man. He ran, packed his bags, left Cairo with its vision of Death. Traveled to Baghdad. Met there with Death, who welcomed him. “Why were you surprised to see me in Cairo?” the man asked. “Because we had a meeting here in Baghdad, tonight,” Death replied. “And I didn’t know if you’d show up.”

“Every morning, at day break,
oh Lord, this little prayer I make,
that thou wilt keep thy watchful eye,
on all poor creatures born to die.”

            Dylan Thomas wrote those words in his poetry play for radio, Under Milkwood. All poor creatures born to die. That’s us. That’s you and me. We don’t know how, or why, or where, or when. And it doesn’t matter. That’s the whole point: it doesn’t matter. Our death was born with us, walks with us, lives inside us, and one day will take us by the hand, each of us, we poor creatures, born to die. What matters is that we live while we can, rejoice while we can, thrive while we can, think while we can, write while we can, enjoy every moment of every day that is gifted to us …

            Enlightenment came last night, at the darkest, warmest of times. It followed me home and crept with me into my bed. I thought of all the creatures found each spring morning, their lives cut short at night along the sides of our New Brunswick roads: deer, porcupine, squirrels, groundhogs, foxes, domestic and feral cats, dogs, skunks, and yes, one, very special, baby raccoon, a tiny raccoon, so small as to be almost invisible in chirimirri, mizzle, and mist.

            His spirit came to me in the under-blanket dark, wrapped itself warm around me, and brought me comfort. “You too,” he whispered. “You too. But not just yet. My work is done. I can go now. But you still have lots of work to do. Remember: Vis brevis, ars longa,” his raccoon spirit nuzzled me and I reached out and patted him. Then both of us settled down to dream our different dreams of a life and death that is surely nothing but a dream, or a game of touch and go.

Three Deer

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We spotted them very late and by the time I had found my camera they had walked past the kitchen window and my only shot of them was through the bars of the back porch. Not a great photo, but better than nothing. We see them regularly in the winter, but usually at dawn of dusk. We have never before seen them at mid-day, not that we are looking for them ‘out of hours’ so to speak.

We speculated on why they were there, what they were looking for, but we could come up with no answers. Hungry? But this was an early snowfall and there would be plenty of food out there. Confused, perhaps, as were were, by the early snow? That is a possibility, but we’ll never know for sure. What I do know is that they haven’t been back. With the snow down they would leave tracks, but we have seen no tracks in the snow.

Maybe, without the photo, I would have forgotten about the and thought that maybe I was mistaken. But I have photographic evidence and no, it isn’t photo-shopped or forged. In spite of all my doubts and misgivings, they were there, in the early snow of Snovember. They passed through the garden last night for their first nocturnal visit. I heard a cough and a snuffle at the feeders, but didn’t get out of my warm bed to take a peek. This morning, they had snaffled all the seeds in the bird feeders and they left tracks leading up from the trees, then back into the woods again. The chickadees had a rough time of it as there was very little breakfast for them, early this morning. We have re-filled the feeders now, and life goes on.

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Here is a link to an earlier blog post that contains more pictures of deer in the yard.
Five Deer.

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