Levi, my fourteen-year-old Hooligan was recently poisoned, it seems. I have the underground wireless fence system, so he stays at home. He was jumping up and down with Lucy Saturday night, wanting to be fed. Sunday morning, he didn’t want his biscuit, which was very unusual for him. He’s always hungry. That afternoon, he was laying on his side in the driveway not responding. I ran a little water on the corner his mouth every thirty minutes. He was sitting up the next morning, and off we went to the Veterinarian’s office. In addition to the toxic liver, he had some tumors. IV’s and liver biopsies to see what was causing the damage was suggested. I asked my vet if it was going to make him better, and she said no. I told her I wasn’t going to put him through all of that. I wasn’t going to let him suffer.
He was at the shelter in Columbus Tennessee, the same one that Patches came out of. He was due to be put down the next day. Karen at NW Alabama Herding Dog Rescue, sent me his picture. I told her that I didn’t need a male dog around all my flowers. She said he was a sweet boy, and could let him be put down. A few days later, I went by her house to pick up rabbit pellets to compost. When I opened my truck door, he was in my lap licking me in the face. I knew I was licked, and he came home. When Mom saw him, I told her I was fostering him. For some reason, Mom didn’t believe me. That sweet boy never left foster care. He loved getting his picture taken. One photo of him sitting pretty in his first snow, was used a few times in an on line GRIT advertisement for the magazine.
When you lose a pet, you don't realize that their companions who are with them 24 hours daily also grieve. When I took Patches to go over the rainbow, Blackie and Levi saw me take her off. Every time I come home; they go to the back door of my truck looking for her. I was feeding Levi and Patches in the back garage, and Blackie on the driveway by the house garage. Things were more peaceful when Patches and Blackie weren't together at feeding. Levi doesn't want to eat by himself, and Blackie isn't eating all of her food. Being 14, the same age as Patches, it's a worry for me. Patches lost 4 pounds in just a few days.
When I put Casey, my rescued Aussie my last dog to sleep 16 years ago, she was the only pet, so I didn't see this. Loosing Casey was very, very hard on my Mom. Casey would go to her house while I was at work. Mom would fix her breakfast. When it was time for me to come home from work, she would come to the end of my property and be waiting on me.
Levi had been in a depression since he lost his best buddy Patches. He wasn’t active and gain weight, even though I wasn’t getting him a full ration of food. I adopted Lucy a smooth coat Border collie from the West TN Border collie rescue hoping to perk him up. She just wore him out with her energy, and he slimmed down and got back in shape. Now she is trying to rough house with Blackie, my fifteen-year-old, and the last of the Hooligans, but Blackie is not having any of that.
Farmers in the area were having a tough time getting corn planted with all the rain in the area. Those able to plant corn have lost some of it since planting due to heavy rains. What survived is up about six inches to waist high, with good stands. The weather turned from a cool spring to the hot days typical of late August. Now, corn is starting to wilt due to lack of rain and the heat. It looks like a lot more soybeans and cotton will be planted this year due to the amount of rain that hampered corn planting. Winter wheat has put up seed heads and turning golden. Canola is getting close to blooming out. Several fields are still under water from the floods in February.
A fund raiser for victims of the February flood at Nathan Estates in Muscle Shoals that was planned at the Alabama Hall of Fame for last Saturday May 11, was rescheduled for May 18. Several homes had standing water inside for over a week and a half. Some homeowners are still living upstairs, and others haven’t been able to return home yet. FEMA came through about three and half weeks after the flood, and didn’t stop to go inside the homes we visited when planning for the fund raiser. The homes look great from the outside, but inside are a mess. The homeowners were turned down for help via FEMA.
The end of April, I photographed at Recall LaGrange and the Martha Crawley events. LaGrange College and the town around it was burned by Union forces in 1863. The town never came back to life. Martha Crawley was kidnapped by the Creeks in 1812 in Tennessee and brought down the Natchez Trace to Colbert Ferry near Cherokee Alabama. The incident led to the Creek War and their loss of two thirds of their territory in the state. Local students enjoyed learning the game of stick ball.
The week before I was at Courtland Airbase for Wings Over Courtland. The airbase was a training base for pilots during WWII. Today only the airstrip and building foundations remain. A fly in by several WWII area planes and fly over town occurred. In town twelve WWII Veterans were honored along with several from more current times. While in down town Courtland Sat during the Wings Over Courtland, I was waiting for the Veterans to be loaded up on a wagon before the parade. One WWII Veterans was in a wheelchair, waiting with his attendant for his turn to be loaded, and had his shirt laying in his lap. He was very frail. He smiled at me, and I smiled back. He was clutching a uniform shirt, and said, I was one who sacrificed. I lifted up the shirt looking to see if his name was on it, and told him thank for your service sir. He just smiled. I've been looking through the 1500 pictures I took to see if I remembered to get him. I don't know how many folks have come up to me over the years telling me I got the last photo of one of their relatives.
On the way home, I swung by Wheeler Dam to check out the birds, and then to Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller for pictures. The azaleas were in full bloom. The Helen Keller Festival will be the last week in June. I was also honored to photograph Mac Davis at a fundraiser dinner for the Fame Girls Ranch. The Ranch is located in the home of Fame Recording founder Rick and Linda Hall. It was donated to the Sheriff’s Girls Ranches of Alabama. A program was announced at the dinner for providing for the girl’s college education after they leave the ranch.
Earlier, I attended the Ronnie McDowell fundraiser for the Roxy Theater in Russellville, AL. The last time I took his photo with the Franklin County Arts Council in front of the Roxy, I was almost hit by a drunk driver. Someone in the group that I was photographing saw him and started screaming. I barely got out of the way. Whenever Hall of Famer song writer Peanutt Montgomery sees me now, he says, “I thought you were a gonner.” This time, the street in front was kept closed until pictures were taken.
Lucy, my new smooth coat Border collie, and becoming a typical hooligan, eating everything in sight. I came home a few days back, and she was sitting in the driveway looking at a black cone. What has she got now I thought to myself? I got out, and a king snake was rolled up with its head down in the top of the cone. It had a few chew marks on it, and I wasn’t sure if it was going to survive. I picked it up and put it in the ditch in front of the house. When I check on it later, it was gone. After the rescue, I started mowing the grass, and went around some pots in the back yard. As I made the second round, I noticed the tail end of a king snake, just the tail end, and nothing else chopped up in the yard. Over to the side, Lucy was sick with whatever she ate.