About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fun Monday - Red Faced

(Tacky post alert! The Georgia Girls at In Good Company continue hosting duties for March. Their assignment for the 14th is for us to share a most embarrassing moment. Since they're new to the Fun Monday meme, our hosts also give us the go ahead to re-use any posts that fits the current subjects. So this is a re-posted tale about raising Zack the Crazy Border Collie and the many times he was responsible for turning me red faced in our neighborhood. This first image hinted at the source of my embarrassment and makes the tacky post alert necessary, but it was just too good to not use.)

I was not smart enough to raise a border collie. However, when I saw Zack in this litter of six week old puppies rolling around in a dairy barn I bought him from the farmer for $6.00 and brought him home to the no dogs allowed duplex where I was living at the time. We got evicted. I bought us this little house on Valley View Dr. and immediately became obsessed with growing things--grass, trees, roses, shrubs, flowers, vegetables, fruits and berries. I knew nothing about landscaping--hence the white pine planted too close to the driveway--but I read books, watched TV how-tos, and wheedled my backdoor neighbor,who ran an agricultural supply store, into many Saturdays of lawn renovations and digging holes to plant trees and shrubs. I suspect that the rocks for this wall came from the yard because we encountered boulders and rocks every place we dug.


I also raised Zack the crazy border collie here and tried to keep him contained within the backyard fence. Look closely at the fence near Zack's tail. You can barely see the short grey post which held an electric goosey wire--the only way to keep him from climbing over the fence and running away. Zack learned to avoid the wire after a couple of jolts. I, on the other hand, was slower to learn and regularly shocked myself when mowing the lawn. . .

Zack was a wild, careening gorgeous bundle of pent up border collie from his puppy days. In order to visit in our home, guests had to submit to either getting feet and ankles spritzed with Bitter Apple spray or cover themselves with a quilt when sitting down. Zack loved to attack any exposed Achilles tendon with his sharp little puppy teeth. Another game he enjoyed was snatching the newspaper, magazine or book out of your hand and flying through the house hoping you'd give chase. Even better when the chase continued out the back door. That was most of the time because having a working screen door cramped Zack's style. He ripped out the screens so he could just jump through the hole and be out in the far corners of the yard with his prize with me hard on his heels. On a good day, he managed to steal from the laundry basket and parade around the back yard with my "delicates" flying from his mouth like a white truce flag. I tried to avoid putting on a show for the neighbors by underwear recovery from a border collie so the Jockey for Her replacement budget was pretty steep at that time. . .

Now this was my first house so I wanted to be out in the yard working every minute, even before getting dressed for work. At night I'd pile sweatpants and gardening shoes on the floor by my bed and then roll out each morning as soon as it was light enough to see to work in the yard. I'd pull on my pile of clothes, make a cup of coffee and rush outside for an hour of digging and weeding before I had to get cleaned up for work. This getting dressed was done in the dark.

On one side of the driveway I planted a bed of peonies that I'd inherited from my Aunt Draxie's garden. She had grown these flowers in her garden for over 40 years, since she was a bride. I was very proud of how well the bed had done in my own yard and enjoyed kneeling on the rock wall to tend them and cut a vase full to take to my office--one of the most pleasant early morning gardening chores.

Now the neighbor just across the street liked to take his early morning coffee on his front porch and watch all the activity in my yard. He was not a gardener and, I suspect, thought I was nuts for working so hard in my little suburban eden. One particular morning I was upended in the peony bed and couldn't help noticing that he seemed to very amused about something. When it was time to quit gardening, I climbed off the wall and called out some pleasantry to Howard. He burst out laughing and said, "You may want to check your pants when you get inside." I didn't think any more about it because he was always teasing me about what low fashion standards I set for the neighborhood.

I get inside and peel off my gardening clothes only to discover that the entire butt of my sweatpants had been chewed out. Apparently a certain border collie had hopped off the bed in the night and helpfully ventilated my britches for me! Howard got plenty of mileage out of getting an early morning moonin' from his neighbor. Zack, I'm sure, enjoyed the joke just as much as Howard.

In closing, my thoughts on the whole embarrassment issue is if there's a good story in it and nothing was lost except a little dignity then it's a small price to pay for some great memories of living with the world's craziest border collie.

9 comments:

Pamela said...

you didn't feel the air conditioning? ha ha ha.

We had a puppy that seemed bent on chewing crotches out of everyone's underwear.

ari_1965 said...

They say it's good to start out the day with a deep laugh. So you can think of yourself as helping your neighbor's physical well-being.

Jan n Jer said...

LOL, I remember this story Faye...Zach was a very active little pup alright!!! He sounds alot like my youngest daughters Austrian shepard Niati, this dog is very high energy and tears the screen off the door on a daily basis.

Swampwitch said...

At least you provided some entertainment for your neighbor. And who knew your Border Collie was also a coutre designer of sweat pants.
Swampy.
http://anecdotes.typepad.com

Jill said...

It begs the question, were you wearing underwear?

Sayre said...

A somewhat similar story on my blog - but mine was an international incident! I guess I'm lucky - my dogs never ate clothes, just the deck.

Georgia Girls said...

Okay, I'm actually laughing so hard, I'm crying :) You weren't going commando, were you?

Faye said...

Jill and GA Girls - yes, I was dressed in layers that morning so the white "moon" contrasted quite nicely with navy sweats. And good for me. If I hadn't worn underwear, this incident would have gone from laughable embarrassing to mortifying!

Susie Vereker said...

That's so funny. I empathise strongly. Otto loves to chew. Not yet eaten my clothes, just shoes so far.