We have a couple of new house mates. Kelly moved home and brought a little dog, Dusty to live with us. Kelly was dog sitting for coworker, but after a few months, his owner selflessly gave Dusty to Kelly and she is thrilled.
Dusty at his window.
It’s funny how a 12-year old mutt can change your home, he’scertainly made a big change here.
I grew up in a little town on Lake Superior. In Ashland, our house was on the corner of Third Street and Eleventh Avenue West. We had a big front yard, with a permanent ball diamond worn into the grass. In the winter, the snow filled the yard with a blanket of snow several feet thick. Our front yard was only 3 blocks from Lake Superior and whether they call it a blizzard, or lake effect snow, it still piles up the same way and feels just as cold.
There were four big trees on the other side of the sidewalk, making a nice bit of shade all around the yard. There was also a row of lilac bushes down the side of the yard, between our house and our neighbor’s house, Mr. Olson. There was a beautiful bridal wreath bush by the stairs that led up to the front door. It was a great yard for playing in and raking leaves and jumping in the snow. We also had a flat sidewalk perfect for those hopscotch games and jumping rope.
Every Friday our Gramma Al and Grampa Jack came over to our house from their home across the bay in Washburn. They helped with the laundry, housework, dinner and basically spoiled us all. One of the things I remember is that Gramma loved sitting in the dining room and looking out the windows.
There were two long windows in the dining room over looking the front yard. At night, you could watch the snow falling by the light of the street light on the corner. The snow was always falling in Ashland, it came like gangbusters, right after the leaves fall, the snow falls. The snow looked like diamonds in the yard with a blue white sparkling background. I loved the way it looked when it was all smooth right after a snowfall.
When Gramma Al was done doing all the housework and starting dinner, she would sit at the dining room table and look out the window. We would sit with her and she would always say that it was her favorite spot in our house. I always wondered, how could she like that spot so much? There was no TV, no soft chair to fall asleep in, but she loved it anyway and spent many afternoons and evenings sitting at the dining room table and looking out the windows.
In our house, all the living room windows are covered with shutters. Since I quit smoking, I haven’t had that window open on a regular basis. There’s really no privacy problem, but I just kept them closed anyway. It’s always very quiet out here, there are dogs so you might hear some barking, but that’s about all the noise you hear. Most cell phones don’t work out here (another reason to love it) so you might hear your neighbors phone if he/she turned up the volume on their house phone so they don’t miss any calls. Other than that, it’s a lovely quiet unincorporated town. I’m a big believer in “Silence is golden”.
But then it happened, Dusty moved into the house. Dusty settled in with our other dogs and decided to sit in our big chair just across from my chair. He got on the chair and put his paws on the arm of the chair and faced the closed shutter. I couldn’t let him sit there looking at the shutter, so I opened the shutter and Dusty settled right down. He spends hours each day looking out that window onto our front yard which is also a corner lot. He watches out the window and falls asleep. If someone walks by with their dog, he barks, but that’s only a few times each day.
And now, thanks to Dusty, he’s got me looking out at my snow covered yard. Watching the snow fall in the light of the street light in the front yard. And you know what? I like it too.
I like to sit by that window with Dusty is on my left side, Dino on the back of the chair and Sammie on the ottoman. Surrounded by 3 hairy pals, looking out at the snow covered yard. It’s just like it was when I would sit and watch the snow with Gramma Al. I guess this is just one more thing that runs in the family.
I’m glad I paid attention to Dusty and opened the shutters. I’ve learned a lot from dogs over the years and I’m glad to say I’m still learning to appreciate the little things, to look out at the beauty in your own front yard and to appreciate the nudge from a 4-legged friend. Dogs have made me a better person and have shown me there is no shame at being different, or growing old or having a physical limitation. They all deal with it much more naturally than I have ever dealt with my health problems. Instead of shutting out the world, I will welcome the days regardless of the weather or my problems. Each day is a great day, it just depends on how you look at it. And when it’s through the eyes of a little gray haired dog, it looks pretty good.
Now go and open those shutters, you might like what you see. Especially if you share it with someone you love, a dear memory of a loved one or in my case a dog or two.
Thanks for listening,