". . .'Ain't but three things in this world that's worth a solitary dime. But old dogs and children and watermelon wine.' He said, 'Women think about themselves, when men-folk ain't around. And friends are hard to find when they discover that you're down.' He said, 'I tried it all when I was young and in my natural prime. Now it's old dogs and children and watermelon wine.'
'Old dogs care about you even when you make mistakes. God bless little children while they're still too young to hate.' . . . "
Sunday, April 10, 2011
"Old Dogs Children and Watermelon Wine"
This morning I'm thinking about some poignant lyrics written by Tom T. Hall, Kentucky's singing storyteller. In "Old Dogs and Children and Watermelon Wine" Tom T, who wasn't known for turning down good whiskey, writes about meeting an "old gray, black gentleman" cleaning up a Miami bar while he was "pouring blended whiskey down." The bar was empty, so the old gentlemen sat down and shared his thoughts on what's worthwhile in life:
Right now I'm worried about my Old Dog. By rough calculation, since Willie was a rescued puppy, I think my old boy will be 15 years old in September. He's been extremely healthy and steady all these years, needing to visit the vet only for yearly checkups. Every day he's eager for a walk whether a short one to the newspaper box at the end of our driveway or a longer stroll through the parks. Every morning he dines on his ration of two beggin' strips and a milkbone. If he's not particularly hungry, he buries his milkbone under the sofa cushions for later. Every evening he cleans up his bowl of dry kibble. And he still has room for the odd bite of egg yolk (which I can't stand), toast spread with nutella, or a bit of cheese and apple.
That's all changed in the last couple of weeks. He's not eating his food or drinking much water. He breathes heavily on walks and, in general, just seems unsteady on his old props. Before, if he wanted to lie beside me on the sofa he just hopped up there. Now he has to take several run 'n gos and sometimes just decides that it's not worth the effort. This morning I noticed that his collar slides easily over his ears. And he's lumpy as a bad mattress--some of the tumors are large and growing fast. And he's distant, going off by himself and getting confused.
I am scared. I know what it means when dogs get bony heads and too many lumps to count. Cancer. So, this week I'll take my Old Dog in to the vet for his annual checkup. But I'm not expecting great news. Regardless of the vet's verdict, we'll just concentrate on enjoying the time we have left because like Tom T says, this Old Dog has been worth every solitary dime--and more.