My summer garden fades. The zillions of zinnias are turning brown.
Only a few colorful blossoms remain, and I can't bring myself to pull them up until all hope of beauty disappears. The faces of the sunflowers curve downward ready to dry up and scatter its seed for next summer. My children stand under the towering sunflowers and take pretend showers. I've pulled up my yellow squash and zuchinni. I harvested the last of the sugar baby watermelons. The lavendar I started this year still smells heavenly but the blooms are gone.
My goats love this season. As I toss the dying green bean vines into the goat pen, the furry creatures wonder whether to run so they don't get hit by hurtled debris or stay put so they don't miss the next delight flying their way. They munch everthing down to the stalks of the sunflower and corn. Jango, the largest wether (castrated buck), braves the vegetable torpedoes and gets first pick of new leftovers.
My husband, Buck and I finally celebrated our 17 years of marriage at Helen and Clay's cabin while they kept the children overnight. I can't explain how luxurious and precious this time is to my whole family. My children consider the Helen's house to be Tennessee's version of Disney world; a real boy, girls, guns, trampoline, 48 acres, waterfalls, a snack jar, every video game and movie known to man make it so. Helen sees the kids only for the time it takes them to gulp down spaghetti, watermelon or cinnamon rolls. The cabin's just up their long drive, but it's far enough to be absolutely private. Buck and I make our way to Crawdaddy's in Cookeville. Can you believe there is a really tasty restaurant in reasonable driving distance to Deerlodge, TN? We stuff ourselves with wine, salad and steak. After dinner, we go to a coffee house/bookstore down the way. Of course, I beat Buck at cards. It's an anniversary tradition. He's too tired to take me on for Scrabble. I take about two hours between each turn, and tonight he's just not up for the tedious experience of waiting on me to find the perfect word. Back at the cabin, Helen ignites candles everywhere and has prepared a chocolate cake with chocolate mousse and orange marmalade between each lucious layer and frosted with more chocolate icing. Buck and I have enjoyed great food and each other's company without interruption.
Now we are home and today is Dog Day. Ripley, the great pyraneese, needs a bath, but at 140 pounds, it takes both Buck and I to brush, scrub, and clip out mats of white fur. We pull enough hair out of the brushes to start an entire new BIG dog. He smells so much better, for now. As soon, as I put him back in the field tonight, he'll find a way to roll on some nasty stinks all over himself. I needed to take Ripley to the vet, because I let his heart worm meds lapse and it takes me, the vet, and the assistant to lift and hold him on a table to have his blood taken. Since he's a rescued dog, he's very jumpy about anyone messing with him in any way other than pettin' and lovin'. Our cat, Janet, gets her shots. I also pick up flea drops for two cats, wormer for the goats, and meds for my other cat who has some bad looking teeth. The whole shabang is less than $200. Maybe you think that is a bunch of money, but it's not. God bless, Doc Butler. He charges what things cost. No more, no less. He also does not charge anyone anything who cannot pay. I've heard it estmated that this man has donated half a million dollars of service and meds to folks in this area.
I treat Doc Butler and his assistants to a tale from a previous visit to this place.
My eight year old son, Wise One, approached one of the many cats that live in this compassionate vet's office (Doc Butler never turns an animal away). The cat lounged on a waiting room chair, and Wise One obliged the animal with much love. The cat began to drool all over in ectasy, and my boy noticed the cat didn't have one tooth left in it's head. Wise One exclaims, "Mommy this cat must be rich!" Huh? I am stumped and downright puzzled, "I don't understand, son. Why would a cat with no teeth living at a vet's office be rich?" to which Wise One promptly replies, "TOOTH FAIRY MONEY!" Oh, yes. Filthy rich.
The vet and assistants look at Wise One and burst out with a good laugh.
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