Tag: travels with ace
My dog Ace is always pretty cooperative — you might even say a ham — when it comes to having his picture taken.
But last week he went so far as to provide not just the photo op, but the frame.
We were wandering around historic Reynolda Village in Winston-Salem, where he generally checks each shop’s doorstep for water bowls or treats, then peers inside to see if anything of interest — i.e., food related — is going on.
When we came to Village Smith Galleries, an art and framing shop, it was closed, but Ace hopped up on a bench at the entrance. Both sides of the front step were surrounded by lattice, allowing opportunities for him to present his good sides (and there are many) in a pre-framed manner.
In case you can’t read it, that bandana he’s wearing — he got it as a going-away gift — says “I’m smarter than your honor student.”
Sometimes I wonder how true that might be.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 3rd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, art, dog, dog photography, dogs, frame, framed, frames, framing, north carolina, ohmidog!, pets, photo, photography, photos, reynolda, reynolda village, travels with ace, village smith galleries, winston-salem
Yesterday we showed you some work from a real cartoonist.
Today, painful as it is, we’re showing you mine, retrieved from the garbage.
The year Ace and I spent on the road was about, among other things, opening up new vistas – for him and me. While he mostly dangled his head out the car window, I experimented with some new things, like dabbling in haiku, eating lobster roll, visiting a gentlemen’s club and, after a visit with an old cartoonist friend in Houston, drawing what was the second or third cartoon of my life.
I’ve long thought I would have been a great cartoonist, if only I could draw.
The only previous work I remember, and I can’t find it now, shows a team of movers packing up a home, one of whom comes down the stairs to the basement holding a very wrinkly-skinned dog by the scruff of its neck, at which point his exasperated supervisor tells him, in one of those voice bubbles, “No,! I said bring me a Sharpie.”
The cartoon above was created on the road (not while driving, but while at a rest area). Displeased with my artistic abilities, I wadded it up and threw on the floor of the back seat of my car, which served, and still does, as my trash bin. Those stains, I’ll venture, are mostly soy sauce and hamburger grease and Taco Bell beanage, left by wrappers and bags tossed in the same area.
Once the trip was over, and I gave the car a good cleaning, I came across it, unwadded it, and decided to keep it as a souvenir.
While it’s not likely to end up in The New Yorker, I may include it with the other charts, graphics and embarassing moments in the book about our travels. The book needs more dirty parts, and it’s definitely dirty, if not in its theme at least as a result of being buried under a year’s worth of fast food flotsam.
It relates to a topic I’ve talked about before — the belief (that I don’t buy, especially when it comes to dogs) that God gave man dominion over the animals, and how that’s often interpreted to mean they are here to serve us and we can do with them what we please.
Of course, “dominion” can mean a lot of things, but I like to think it means something other than shooting them, or fighting them, or eating them, or working them to death. I prefer viewing “dominion” as a responsibility to watch out over them — as I think they do us.
As for my cartoon, wherein the humor lies — if indeed some does — is in the contrast between the dominion we purportedly have and the poop bags we hold. We, millions of us, follow our dogs daily, rushing to pick up their solid waste.
Aliens observing this from afar, as I think Jerry Seinfeld once noted, would assume dogs were the masters and we were the servants.
Clearly it appears to run contrary to what God outlined for us when it comes to those creepy things creeping on earth, particularly dogs. Do we have “dominion” or are we merely “doo-minions,” scurrying to dutifully bag and dispose of the stinky feces our beloved dogs leave behind?
Whatever the case, and however large the pile, it’s a small price to pay.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 18th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, bible, cartoon, cartoonists, cartoons, dog, dogs, dominion, doo minion, drawing, feces, god, humor, pets, poop, shit, travels with ace, waste
Our book is done, so Ace and I — Lord willing and the creek don’t rise — are starting a new chapter.
For two years — yes, two — I’ve been assembling the book version of “Travels with Ace,” which documents the year my dog and I wandered the country, tracing the path John Steinbeck took with his poodle Charley and venturing down some of our own.
Unlike “Travels with Charley” (the literary classic), ”Travels with Ace” (the book in search of a publisher) is a more lighthearted account of road tripping with a dog across America. It’s more laden with dogs, dog lore and dog facts, and delves more deeply into just what it is that makes you, me and America so bonkers over dogs.
Written by a former newspaper journalist (that would be me) whose massive mystery mutt altered the course of his life, the book looks at how we and our country have changed in the 50 years since Steinbeck and Charley circumnavigated America in a camper named Rocinante.
One recurring theme — as you might expect from a newspaper guy who watched his industry shrink and crumble, and who’s approaching old manhood — is my grumbling and anxiety over technology, and where, besides unemployment, it might take us.
That theme showed up in my first book, too – about cloning dogs, a technology that, at least when it comes to pet owners, would be better off never having been invented, in my opinion.
It was, in large part, that first book that led to the second one. Seeing the lengths to which dog owners go upon losing, or learning they’re about to lose, their dog — cloning being probably the most extreme of them — I decided that the best time to celebrate one’s dog (and one’s people) is while they’re still alive.
So I showed my dog America, and came to the conclusion, among others, that while full speed ahead is sometimes fine, slowing down (which dogs can help with) and stepping backwards can be good, too.
Ace and I ended up in North Carolina — moving, backwards, into the same apartment unit my parents lived in when I was born. We stayed there until last week when — because the landlord sold it to a new owner — we were required to vacate the premises.
It was by accident, or maybe fate, that we ended up in Bethania, the oldest planned Moravian settlement in North Carolina, established in 1759.
Looking at boring apartment developments, Ace and I made a wrong turn, or two, or three, and found ourselves going down its bucolic Main Street, which is lined with historic homes. Bethania, while surrounded by Winston-Salem, is an independent jurisdiction, with a population of about 350. It feels like another world, and a very peaceful one at that.
Bethania is not to be confused – but often is — with Bethabara, which was the first Moravian settlement in North Carolina, established by 15 church members who walked here from Pennsylvania. Fleeing religious persecution, the German-speaking Protestants first came to the U.S. when it was still a group of British colonies. Once Bethabara became a thriving village, and became overcrowded with refugees, a second Moravian settlement was laid out — Bethania
After that, a third settlement was founded – Salem, which would become the congregation’s headquarters and the biggest and best known of the villages of what was called Wachovia. Today, Bethabara is an historic park, Bethania is a little town, and Old Salem is a tourist attraction, where one can learn about the old ways
The Moravians were known for doing missionary work with local Indian tribes, and avoiding, on principal, violent conflict. Their cemeteries, such as God’s Acre in Old Salem, are highly regimented affairs where the grave markers, in addition to being in neat rows and grouped according to the Moravian choir system, are all of the same size — a reminder that, as much as we might like or think we deserve a big ostentatious tombstone, we’re all equal. I like that.
Bethania seems to reflect an attention to detail as well. Church members built their houses in the middle of town, and the orchards and farms they worked were on its periphery. I’m pretty sure my house was once orchard area.
It’s quiet, and it feels like I’m out in the country, even though it’s only 7 miles from downtown.
I knew I made the right decision on our new location when, at the town’s visitor center, I inquired whether it would be okay to take my dog, on a leash, down the hiking trails behind it.
“You don’t need a leash,” came the reply.
Almost every home in Bethania has a front porch with two rocking chairs — and, while I’m pretty sure it’s not required by local ordinance, I plan to follow suit
My little white house with a green tin roof has a fireplace in the living room, a grapevine in the backyard, room to plant lots of vegetables and a shed in which I plan to tinker with things. I’m not sure what things, but I definitely want to tinker.
I have a neighbor to one side, an empty lot on the other, and judging from the vines in the trees, I think I’ll have some kudzu to look at, which some of you might remember I have a thing for.
In addition to the visitor center, and the trails, there’s a public golf course, Long Creek Club, just down the road (owned by my landlord); and the old mill in the center of town has been refurbished and sports several shops, studios, and the Muddy Creek Café, a dog friendly spot with live music on weekends.
I’m just a newcomer, but I suspect the biggest social hub is the Moravian Church, just a few hundred yards from my home. (In a bit of a coincidence, it’s interim minister once graced the pages of ohmidog!)
I am not now a Moravian and have never been one, but I do have a family connection. She was considered my great aunt, though she wasn’t a blood relative.
Kathleen Hall was born to another family, but grew up as a sister to my grandmother. We called her “Tan,” believed to be derived from a mispronunciation of “aunt.”
Every Easter, my mother instructs me to put a flower on Tan’s grave at God’s Acre in Old Salem — preferably purple, Tan’s favorite color. I did that on Easter, and noticed, as in previous years, another flower, a white lily, was already there. Who leaves it every year is a mystery to us.
There’s also a memory of her in my living room — her stitchwork covers a footstool my mother passed along to me years ago.
Given that connection, and the fact that the Moravian church is just a few hundred yards away from my new home, I may check it out — at least once I get my boxes unpacked and my Internet set up.
They do have that here — even though several internet/cable companies told me my address in Bethania doesn’t exist.
One who uses Bethania as their mailing address can’t get mail delivered. I could use Winston-Salem or Pfafftown as my mailing address, but I’ve opted to go with Bethania and avoid getting a mailbox. Instead, I’ll walk three houses down to the little post office when I want my mail, which, given it’s mostly bills, I usually don’t.
Other than that, Bethania isn’t one of those places stuck in the past, just a place that honors it. It’s not like an Amish community. I’m pretty sure people aren’t churning butter and blacksmithing. But there does seem to be a respect for times gone by, and the older I get, the more frustrated I get with my computer, and apps, and talking to robots on the phone, the more important that has become to me.
Despite my growing techno-anxiety, I will admit — after moving 20 or so boxes of books — that the Kindle might not be an entirely bad idea.
After the Saturday move, I woke up pretty sore on Easter Sunday.
I’d fully intended to take Ace to the Moravian sunrise service here in Bethania.
But the sound of rain on my new tin roof lulled me back to sleep.
Once I did wake up, Ace and I had Easter lunch with my mother, then dropped by God’s Acre in Old Salem to pay respects to Tan and drop off a purple hyacinth. Then we headed back home.
So that’s the tale of our new place, and a long way of saying our new address is:
PO Box 169
Bethania, NC, 27010
Posted by jwoestendiek April 5th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, bethabara, bethania, church, dog inc., dogs, hiking, history, home, house, john steinbeck, mill, moravians, move, moving, muddy creek cafe, north carolina, ohmidog!, old salem, pets, religion, salem, settlement, simpler, technology, trails, travels with ace, travels with charley, walking, way of life, winston-salem
That advice may not be applicable to every situation, but it’s what Ace and I did over the weekend when we departed from what turned out to be the final stop on our year-long trip around the country — the apartment of my birth.
In September of 2010, 50 years to the day after John Steinbeck and his poodle started the journey that would become “Travels with Charley,” Ace and I left the author’s former driveway in Sag Harbor to duplicate, more or less, his route.
We circled the country, stopping at places of dog significance, Steinbeck significance, or no significance at all, traveling more than 20,000 miles before we returned to Baltimore.
There, having moved out of our home before the trip, we squatted and mooched off friends for a little while, and then rode a little more.
We backtracked to North Carolina, where, planning to linger a few months, we lived in the basement of a mansion in Winston-Salem. After little more than a month, Ace developed back issues and, on our vet’s advice, we started seeking a place to stay that didn’t have stairs.
I was on an outing with my mother when I asked her to show me my birthplace — the tiny apartment she, my father, and sister shared in what’s known as College Village.
Just about the time I was wrapping that up — except for the pesky getting-it-published part — the landlord who owned my unit told me he was selling it, and that I was required to leave my birthplace.
It was a little sad — in part because of the sentimental value of the place; in part because of leaving the friends, dog and human (and one cat) we’d made; in part because it would mean lifting numerous heavy objects.
With little spring in our steps, Ace and I went looking at apartment complexes, only to be turned off by their cookie-cutter sameness, and their silly pet rules — from arbitrary weight limits and breed restrictions to ridiculously high, non-refundable pet fees.
Even when they had swimming pools, we couldn’t manage to get very excited about any of them.
It had a green tin roof, a working fireplace, a shed out back and a front porch that seemed to be crying out for two rocking chairs.
It’s outside of town, but also inside of town, which we’ll explain tomorrow. In any event, we moved in over the weekend.
Friends in College Village held a goodbye party before we left — not a surprise party, but pretty surprising. That four women in their 20s would hold a get-together for a man all-too-rapidly approaching 60 says a lot about them, and possibly even more, I think, about that man’s dog.
Ace got a giant bone, an azalea bush that, once planted, he will be allowed to pee on, and a bandana that says “I’m smarter than your honor student.” Everyone at the party agreed that, in addition to being funny, it is probably also true.
Even before I started packing, Ace realized something was up and got stressed. Ace loves to hit the road, but he also loves having a familiar routine. He became extra needy, extra clingy and followed me around the house, except when I was making too much noise. Then he’d seek refuge in the bed, or ask to go outside.
There, he seemed even more eager to see the friends he was always excited to see, run to and lean on.
Perhaps, too, he was sensing the nostalgia swelling up in me. Even though I’d only lived in the apartment for my first year of life, and had no clear memories of it, it was where I was conceived, where my parents lived when I was born and the subject of much of my mother’s reminiscing.
The only thing that came close to seeming familiar to me was the door ringer — a hand cranked brass bell that, whenever it rang, gave Ace a thrill (because it meant company) and me a vague sense of déjà vu. Either I remembered it from infancy or it reminded me of a school bell.
When I left, I asked the new owner if I could take it, and he said okay, so I unscrewed it from the door and threw it in a box.
In a way, we’re not closing any doors, just opening — and perhaps modifying – some new ones.
I’d like to install the old bell on my new front door. It would be a way of bringing some of the sentimental value of the old place into the new one. It would make my mother’s eyes light up when she saw it.
And every time it rang, it would startle Ace, make him bark once, and lead him to stand at the door, tail wagging in anticipation over who — old friend or new one — might be on the other side.
(Tomorrow: The new place, disclosing our undisclosed location)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 4th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, blog, book, college village, dogs, door, door bell, friends, john steinbeck, moving, north carolina, ohmidog!, packing, pets, ringer, stress, travel, travels with ace, travels with charley, website, winston-salem
You’ll have to wait until next week for the details, but ohmidog! is moving, and since we’re not sure how much time we’ll have to post stories in the days ahead, we bring you this three-day musical interlude.
Dog songs, of course — the first by a singer-songwriter once named Cat. (“I Love My Dog” was the first song Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, released.)
We’ll be back with fresh dog news next week, good Lord and internet connections permitting, once we’re semi-resettled..
Readers of ohmidog! and its sister website, Travels with Ace, may remember that our year-long trip, following the route John Steinbeck took with his poodle Charley, came to an end when I moved into my birthplace — a little apartment in Winston-Salem, N.C. that just happened to be for rent when Ace and I felt the need to, at least temporarily, settle down.
Having all but finished up the book version of Travels with Ace, and learning that our landlord has sold our unit, we debated hitting the road again and also started looking for a possible new place in the area to call home.
Trying to locate a particular one of those, we got lost. As was the case on our trip, all the best things seem to be found when you’re lost. We ended up in a different town, very nearby, where we stumbled upon a little non-historic house for rent, across the street from an historic one.
We’ll tell you about it next week. For now, we’ll just give you a clue as to our new hometown: It was established in 1759, has a population of about 350, and was the first planned Moravian settlement in North Carolina.
The first correct guesser — whose guess comes in the form of a comment — wins a copy of my first book, Dog, Inc.
Everyone else has to help me move.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 27th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, cat stevens, dog inc., dog songs, dogs, i love my dog, move, moving, music, ohmidog!, pets, song, travels with ace
I can’t begin to tell you how much I miss my dog.
As mentioned yesterday, I’m in Arizona, and have been for a week, joining my brother and sister to help get my father settled in a place where he can get the care he needs.
Even though among loved ones, I’m pining for my significant other. Circumstances required Ace — a seasoned traveler — stay home for this trip, and this eight-day separation is the second longest in our seven years together.
It’s an empty feeling, not having him there when I wake up, or when I call his name (which I’ve only done about twice).
Fortunately for me, I have Roscoe, a yellow lab, to help fill the void. Meanwhile Roscoe’s owner, James has Ace.
Here’s how all this came to be — how we ended up in the company of each others dogs.
James, my brother’s partner, lived in Arizona but recently started working in Winston-Salem, N.C., where I currently reside. My brother, and their dog Roscoe, a yellow lab, haven’t made the move yet and are still in the Phoenix area.
Last week, when my presence in Arizona was required, James agreed to care for Ace while I was away. I, planning on staying with my brother, agreed to lavish Roscoe with attention, and — against James’s advice — give him at least one walk.
James ended up with the more labor intensive duty, between the feedings and the walks Ace demands. I don’t have to feed Roscoe (my brother does that), and one walk convinced me, and my shoulder, that Roscoe was more of an in-the-house, backyard kind of dog.
For Roscoe, it was just a matter of supplying treats and snuggling, and it was only a few days before it hit me that I had it backwards — James and I are not taking care of each other’s dogs, each other’s dogs are taking care of us.
James, who has been missing his dog something fierce since moving to North Carolina, seems to be enjoying Ace’s company. He posted the photo of him above on Facebook the other day, along with the words: “Thanks to Ace to keep me warm at night. I am dog-sitting Ace and he is such a wonderful boy!”
As Ace attends to James needs, Roscoe attends to mine.
The first few nights, he joined me on my floor mat, dividing his time between sleeping with me and my brother.
But when I got hit by a three-day bug, Roscoe turned it up a notch. He stayed by my side all night. He followed me to the bathroom — a frequent destination for a while there — waiting patiently outside the door for me to exit. He was at my side whenever I got up, generally carrying either his bone or a pillow in his mouth, tail wagging away.
He’s a totally different dog than Ace — a little more goofy, a little less needy, but equipped, it seems, with all the same sensors of human need.
Unlike Ace, who doesn’t like to get nudged in his sleep, Roscoe tolerates anything. A few times I woke up with both my legs atop him. He woke me up a few times sniffing my face, and a few more times by biting his toenails. Roscoe probably spends a couple of hours a day grooming his claws, and it can be a noisy affair.
But it was a small price to pay for all the attention he bestowed on me.
I was reminded, while scratching Roscoe’s big floppy ears, of the old Stephen Stills song, which had nothing to do with dogs at all: And if you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with.
The lyrics always struck me as a tad slutty, but then that was probably just my dirty-minded interpetration. Maybe I never really understood it.
Dogs, on the other hand, totally get it.
(Photos: Ace photo by James Wong; Roscoe photo by John Woestendiek)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 29th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, arizona, away, dogs, home, lab, labrador retriever, pets, roscoe, senses, separation, travels with ace, trip, void, yellow lab
Ace and the cat next door have become steadfast friends, hanging out together most days in the backyard. But their relationship has clearly evolved, as I guess most do.
Ace still seems thrilled every time he sees Tom. They still play chase. They still engage in their form of wrestling — Ace poking Tom with his nose, Tom swatting Ace in the head with his paws.
But Ace no longer is totally obsessed with the cat, no longer smothering him with attention, no longer constantly in Tom’s face. Ace used to follow Tom wherever he went. But as Tom has become less elusive, Ace has become less fascinated. As the months have gone by, it’s Tom who’s now more likely to follow Ace, and instigate the play. Tom still seems to send a message that says “chase me,” but Ace doesn’t always play along, sometimes preferring to just watch, or scratch himself, or look for something he might deem edible.
On Sunday Ace was minding own business in the shared yard behind my apartment, chewing on a bully stick. Thomas slowly approached and circled him, nuzzled him a few times and swung his tail into his face.
Ace looked up, but kept chewing. Seeming to sense Ace’s disinterest, Tom went his own way, disappearing for a time.
Ace, focused on his treat, seemed to forget about him — until, 10 minutes later, he spotted him in the distance, under my parked car. Read more »
Posted by jwoestendiek November 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, behavior, cat, cats, cats and dogs, college village, dogs, friends, north carolina, out of reach, pets, relationships, stale, taken for granted, thomas, tom, travels with ace, winston-salem
Only once has Ace plunged into the surf with reckless abandon.
That was his first time. At a beach in Delaware, upon his first sighting of the Atlantic, he bolted out into the water, only to get hit face first with a giant wave that flipped him over. Ever since then, he has exercised caution, and only with encouragement from multiple people has it been possible to beckon him out any deeper than his knees.
Yesterday, though, as we continue to drag out our departure from Figure 8 Island in North Carolina, he ended up playing in the surf – and without seeming preoccupied about how big and scary the next wave might be. That was thanks to two dogs, a blue tennis ball and a girl named Georgia.
We’d stopped at the Winston house — the same family that provided a personalized watering station for Ace, complete with signage, over the weekend — to visit again with Mac, a golden retriever, and Jet, a black Lab.
Ace had seemed only mildly interested in the dogs on our earlier visit, partly because he was worn out, partly because that’s the way he is. While he immediately warms up to people, it takes him a while with dogs. (I’m the opposite). He’s nice enough upon meeting another dog, but it usually takes him 15 minutes or so of sniffing and acting aloof and reserved — especially with other big dogs — before he’ll even consider playing.
But getting together with Mac and Jet, and realizing there was no shade he could lay low in, he participated in some canine frolicking, all instigated by 8-year-old Georgia.
She’s a take charge sort, but not in a bossy way.
Georgia told me she plans to become an animal doctor. (That was her term, and a much more manageable one than “veterinarian.”) And she did seem to have a way with dogs — not just her own, Jet, but her aunt’s dog, Mac, and even Ace.
On the beach, she seemed a master choreographer, leading them in their antics, and she offered to throw the tennis ball I’d brought along, assuming Jet and Mac would chase it even though Ace wasn’t likely to.
At one point, I stood in the ocean with my camera and asked her to throw the ball over my head, so I could take pictures of Jet and Mac charging through the waves to get it. Surprisingly, a couple of times, Ace showed up in the frame, apparently not wanting to be left out of the fun.
Later, with the help of some peanut butter crackers, Georgia demonstrated Jet’s obedience skills, and soon had Mac and Ace under her spell as well.
One gets the sense, even at 8, and even if her plans to become an animal doctor change, Georgia is going to accomplish what she sets out to in life. When she heard I was writing a book, she asked to be in it. When told the book was based on my travels with Ace a year ago, she said she’d settle for being on ohmidog!
Told that would require permission from her parents, she left, returning a few minutes later with a note from her mother.
“I hereby allow ohmidog! to place any and all photos of my sweet Georgia “Peach” Winston,” it said. “Jet Winston, too!”
When I jokingly asked her if she wrote the note herself, Georgia said no, adding that she hasn’t mastered cursive yet.
I assured her that would be easy. It’s just like printing, only with waves.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animal doctors, animals, ball, beach, dogs, figure 8, figure 8 island, georgia, jet, mac, obedience, ocean, pets, photography, playing, surf, swimming, training, travels with ace, veterinarians, water, waves, winston
How nice is this?
Ace and I were taking the mile-long walk down to the end of Figure 8 Island and back on Sunday when we stopped to meet some other dogs — a golden retriever named Mac and a black Lab named Jet.
Their owners were on the beach, and though strangers — to me, at least – they offered Ace, who was looking a little bedraggled by then, some water. He graciously accepted and drank their entire supply.
After some chatting, Ace, I and friends moved on, walking to the inlet and turning around for the hike back. By then — it being especially hot, and our morning walk having started around noon — Ace was really dragging. In addition to being nearly as out of shape as his master, he had been taking in a little salt water each time he gingerly waded into the ocean.
We were passing by Mac and Jet’s house again when — though the people and dogs had all gone inside – we came across the note above, written in the sand, with an arrow that pointed to a full bowl of fresh water.
Ace made a beeline for it, lapped some up, then laid down, resting his chin on the edge and drinking almost the whole bowl before lazily getting up and lumbering a few hundred more yards.
All along the way, in addition to sniffing in the smells, he was keeping an eye open for shade. Anytime he saw a group under an umbrella, he felt the need to visit, and not being on a leash (shame on me) he did.
We hadn’t gotten far from the Ace watering station when another woman beckoned, and we, eyeing the shade of her umbrella, veered in her direction. She went to a cooler and pulled out a bottled water, pouring it into her cupped hand for Ace. He polished off the whole thing.
Issuing thanks again (though no one was offering me water, I might point out), we trudged homeward — by now having fallen far behind our friends, due to our slower pace and Ace’s philosophy when it comes to humans: There are no strangers — only friends he hasn’t yet met (who might also have good stuff like water and treats and shade).
Shade can be hard to find at the beach.
Kindness, though, is usually only as far as the next beach chair.
(Photos by Amelia Bellows)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, beach, dog, dogs, drinking, figure 8 island, friends, heat, hot, jet, kindness, mac, north carolina, pets, reunion, salt water, shade, strangers, travels with ace, vacation, water
If there’s anything Ace and I enjoy more than sitting on the beach, it would be sitting on the beach and eating a sandwich.
But don’t go jumping to any conclusions.
The beach is where we have been since Friday — and where we still are, a good day after we were supposed to leave.
Extracting ourselves from the beach is always hard. It’s as difficult as trying to get the sand out of your swimsuit. No matter how much you rinse, a little always lingers, then falls out once you get home and unpack, as if to to remind you of your good times, and that you need to vacuum.
This, as best as I can recall, is our fourth visit to the reunion of University of North Carolina college buddies that my friends in Wilmington host at their beach house every year. Most of us were members of the class of ’75. We reminisce, update each other on what’s been going on in our lives, eat heartily, drink some, sing, dance, act silly and play in the ocean.
I have to to say most of them seem to be holding up quite well — even though we’re all nearing 60.
At 60, or even 59, which I will turn next month, it’s more important than ever — and a far bigger battle — to stay in shape.
Between watching the Olympics and sitting on the shore, I’m seeing — not ogling, mind you, just seeing — a lot of young, tanned and toned bodies, all of which serve to reinforce that point. Exercise is vital and should be part of your daily regimen. I may try it some day.
We’ve had a few walks on the beach, and I did engage in one strenuous ping pong match, beating my opponent handily, but the beach to me has always been about relaxing, and I am very good at that.
The other night, we broke out the guitars and played some songs. As our host thumbed through the pages of a songbook, naming songs, she came upon “When I’m 64,” by the Beatles.
“Wow,” she commented. “We’re almost there.”
We skipped singing that one.
I remember how old 64 sounded when that song came out — truly ancient. One that age is bound to be decrepit. But I have a feeling, when it comes to this particular group, they’ll cruise right through that year, and still be reflecting the kid that, thankfully, seems to remain inside each of them (some more than others).
My plan is to come every year, and — if they still need me, if they’ll still feed me –especially that year.
Perhaps by then I’ll be in shape.
(Disclaimer: That is not my sandwich in the photo above. That’s not my body, either. But that is my dog.)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, aging, animals, beach, bodies, dogs, fit, friends, health, north carolina, olympics, pets, reunion, sandwich, toned, travels with ace, university of north carolina, when i'm 64, wilmington