Monday, May 30, 2011

It's a dog's life.....(I think)

Dog Day Afternoon
alisa dollar
Please, listen to me. Let me out, now! Please? Pretty please?” I whimper in a semi-begging, semi-demanding plea. Mr. Master continues to watch the latest reality show on television. Reality for me is dancing frantically, manipulating fast paced staccato steps in an attempt to not urinate all over newly vacuumed, off white carpet complete with a bouquet fragrance. I always get in trouble when I do a no-no.  Thank goodness all I have to do is pee.
It’s one thing to do it when everyone is gone, but quite another when Survivor 100 is on. God forbid I should reek, wait make that wreak havoc behind the controller of the ever handy remote. Hey you! Is there a button on there for pet needs to go out for a few seconds? I didn’t think so.
I begin to run back and forth from master to door, master to door, wagging my bottom, anxiously relating through energetic body language this is damned important.  Hellooooooooooo!  What?  Am I invisible?
Aw, geez. I don’t want a pat on the head, dammit, get up and let me out! I can’t be held responsible for any accident caused by lack of enthusiasm on your part to open that damn door, capiche?  What the hell. I’m not even Italian. That’s what happens when frenzy sets in.
And how many times have I heard how smart I am? Yeah right. If I’m so smart why haven’t I figured this routine better, eh?  YES!  Finally. Open the door, open the door, open the door. Oh man, you don’t need a beer now, do ya? Open the door, open the door. VOILA! My prayers are answered! Wow. That was a close call.

I stretch in luxurious pose on a cool ceramic entrance to guard my palatial turf - behind a glass door of course. No need to sweat the small stuff. I savor my chewy while my plush tummy relishes its secure foundation. In the background, my ears perk every time Mr. Master burps and belches between cheers mixed with curses at the screen in front of him. So much for survivor. It’s tough being a dog.
As the day progresses it becomes very clear I am being snubbed.  Mr. Master side-steps every frisky attempt to block his path. Walk? Wanna walk?  I could dump. I haven’t dumped yet–walk? What? Big Brother comes on now? Oh brother. What next? Do they have one for dogs?  Prolly hair of the dog with my luck.  Okay okay, I get the message.
Head down, I slip away unnoticed to my favorite escape to sulk and lick my wounded soul. Convinced that life as I knew it changed with the invasion of stark reality. Not the usual bumps and grinds of supposed “real life” portrayed on television, but the sure and undeniable certainty Mr. Master was never going to learn the tricks I’ve demonstrated since puppyhood. Easing my still agile body underneath a bed, I cradle my head on paws and fall into a pouting, fitful doze.
“Buddy?  Where are you, bud?”
 Damn that tail. I try my best to keep my carcass still.  I have yet to pardon Mr. Master. He must beg. He must roll over. He must fetch until I sanction forgiveness.
“Buddy, guess who’s here?”
Oh no.
“Buddy? Come out, Lily Girl is here.”
Drat. That witless cat. My nemesis. I inch further under the bed.
“There you are, Buddy. Come out.” Mr. Master issued a no nonsense command.  “Buddy.  Here. Now.”
Uh oh. He means business. I creep backwards, slow as thick molasses. Maybe Lily Girl will go climb a tree or....

Buddy!” Loud and clear, followed by an apologetic, “I don’t know what’s wrong with him, he’s been behaving weird all day.”
What? Mr. Master doesn’t know what’s wrong with me? I’ve been behaving weird? Yeah right.  Was it me playing Russian roulette with the remote? Was it me who refused a walk in the glorious sunshine? Was it me who....
“There you are, ol’ boy. Come say hi to Debbie and Lily Girl. Don’t give me that sad oh-poor-me look, Buddy.  Get over here.  Now.”
There he goes again. The voice beyond reason. The voice of controlled authority.
I drag myself off my less than cheerful haunch and poke nose to nose with Lily Girl with a snorting hey, girl.
Why am I not surprised she responds with a swipe of a sharp clawed paw? 
Geez, Lily. It’s not like I’m happy to see you are anything. Keep your animosity to yourself. I have to. Get with the program. Our people are watching.
“Aren’t they cute together?” Ms. Mistress sighs. “I just knew they’d be friends.”
“They didn’t really have a choice, now did they?” Mr. Master chimes in. “I’ll have to admit though, I’m amazed Buddy let’s Lily Girl get at him that way.”
Amazed?  AMAZED? What - you drug me over, demanded I be civil no matter what. The damn little monster comes at me and I have no choice but to sit here because I have been taught manners? Because my master makes me mind and hers lets her be  Puh-leeze. Amazed, my ass.
“It’s good though, right? Since we will all be together soon?”  A sultry whisper followed by a resounding smooch on Mr. Master’s eager lips.
Wait! Don’t I have a say? Does Ms. Mistress know you watch reality television? Does she know you belch and burp beer 24/7? Does she know you are a slob and only clean when she and IT are coming over? Does she.....

“Yeah, it won’t be long. Wanna put ‘em in the garage while we go get a little lovin’? Mr. Master suggests through a drooling murmur.
“Buddy, Lilly Girl–to the garage.” Voices integrate in harmony.
Lily Girl looks around with adventurous eyes. I gauge her reaction.  Damn. Forlorn. I stretch flat to the cool cement.  Lily Girl snuggles by my side to seek comfort and protection.
Hmmmm. Maybe this will work after all.                                                             

The End

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Window Faces Whatever Way it Faces......

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

My Window Faces South is one of husband’s favorite songs. He says he doesn’t listen to lyrics and I’m a lyric person. I decided to find the words.

They made no sense! I told him that on the way to visit a friend in the hospital. He said why? I proceeded to tell him why would you be halfway to heaven if your window faces south; wouldn’t heaven be north? And if it’s snowing would there even be cotton fields? And what on earth did the Suwannee have to do with the window?

Husband gracefully and humbly (how it pains me to write that) said he didn’t know the lyrics, he loved the music but from the convoluted explanation I gave, he said he could quickly give a succinct and correct connotation in one word.

I smartly said, “Yeah? What?”


“That is ridiculous and you know it, you just don’t listen to lyrics so now you are making up meanings!” I accused.

“Think about it….and remember the era it was written.” He starts off like I’m some kid. “He is away from home, probably up north since it is snowing. His window faces south, which would be where he is from.”

“Get outta here!” I interject not so quietly.

He ignores me, which is normal since he has selective hearing, and continues, “He’s halfway to heaven because he faces what he left behind and loves….the south, cotton fields and so on.”

I got really quiet for two reasons. One it sounded reasonable and two it made me mad that he didn’t even KNOW the words till I told him and he got that!

I conceded he might be right.

The next day after church, Bree, Speedy and husband and I were at lunch. Yes the preacher has to put up with the four of us.

I was telling the story exactly as above. Bree looked at husband and says, “She doesn’t know her directions, and has decided that north is heaven?”

Husband shrugs a “well consider the source” shrug and she has the nerve to laugh.

Speedy didn’t say a word and I have to say admit I was on the verge of thanking him for not making fun of me.

I should’ve known better.

 “I guess I won’t go to heaven then.”


“If I have to go through Amarillo, I’m not going!”

They all laughed.

I did too. What else could I do?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Memorial Day is close....a time to remember our fallen men and women....

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

Traditionally Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30th each year. The National Holiday Act of 1971 changed the remembrance to the third Monday of May. This allows for a three day weekend across the country.

Many veterans feel the significance of this holiday which began in mid-1860 is lost and we celebrate having a long weekend rather than “why” we have the extra day. Many want Memorial Day to return to May 30th so the day will stand out by falling on different days within the week.

I’ve visited the national cemetery in Washington, D.C. and the Viet Nam Memorial. There are many more areas in which our countries fallen are recognized.

I didn’t understand until seeing the stark, clean and neat rows in the cemetery. It was then the realization hit me – these men and women, unknown to me, for many years before my birth through to the present, gave their life. 

How often do we truly think to thank them? How often do we stop and wonder who and how many these soldiers left behind? How do we honor the service that ended in the stark, clean and neat rows?

What do we say to those who search fervently for a name on the Viet Nam Memorial? When found, a flower, a flag, a note is left in reverence to a memory long past.

Memorial Day is just one day. One day we must take the time to remember we are free and that freedom is not without cost.

Memorial Day is America’s way of observing as a nation, our fallen.

Memorial Day has been swept aside in most places. However, there are still barbeques, celebrations and parades; speeches given; and poppies pinned to lapels.

We are reminded daily to thank our soldiers. Memorial Day is a reminder to be thankful for our fallen soldiers from the inception to present.

Were it not for the people who’ve willingly given of their time, separated from loved ones, where would we, as American’s, be?

The thing is we should celebrate Memorial Day every day. A life for my life is more important than having an extra day off from work.

A soldier doesn’t have that privilege if on the battleground.

Let us remember to take the time each day and give thanks to those serving our country in the past and the present.

We are truly blessed.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

For my mother, whom I never really appreciated until it was too late.....

I Love You
by alisa dollar

            Blue eyes that in times past had brightly snapped, searched dully into my own like-blue eyes. I was in turn saddened and distressed at this woman’s lack of knowledge, lack of desire, lack of recognition.
            My mother.
            New surroundings were discomfiting to us both. My mother, trapped in the debilitating clutches of Alzheimer’s, viewed her space in an agitated and fretful manner. As for me-this simply was not home.
            Home. One never truly puts a finger on what constitutes a “home.”  Home is where the heart is. Home is a place to hang your hat.  Home is full of laughter and memories, both bad and good. Home is the nucleus from which we are spawned.  Home is a mother’s sacrifice-and unconditional love. A nursing home it’s not.
            As I watched my mother look about, her hands fidgeting in anguish, I felt the need to be beside her, letting her know she wasn’t alone. All to no avail.  Her lackluster eyes looked beyond me as if I were part of the fixtures in this room she did not know or understand.  Eyes roamed, but did not see. Hands reached, but did not touch. Mouth opened, but no sound escaped.
            I stood before her with tears running down my cheeks, grasping at something, anything to say, to make her somehow understand she was safe and not alone. This woman had done the same for me more times than I could count. I knew there surely had to be a way to reach the inner soul of this mind, that for unknown reasons was now distorted. This now helpless woman had conquered her past, becoming all she’d ever dreamed, plus some. She’d helped her husband in a business while raising four children.  A sports woman, she’d bowled, hunted, golfed and, in her day, played basketball.  Well-known civically, she had done many things in social organizations helping to better our small town.  And First Baptist Church surely would have cratered had she not been the treasurer. 
            Suddenly, a thought sprang to my mind as I bent down to Mother’s level, putting my hands on either side of her chair.  Eye level once again, blue to blue, I touched her cheek softly and said, “Jesus loves you, Mother,” just as she’d done to me when I was a child and hurting.
            The worrisome flutter of her hands stopped. Blue eyes peacefully examined blue and a calmness settled within their depths. I knew she understood. How marvelous that a simple sentence taught to most, generation after generation, truly had the effect of quieting the mysterious puzzle of my mother’s lost spirit. Memory being a strange entity in normal circumstances was extraordinary to watch within the bounds of abnormal. 
            For the last time, I saw her smile and I knew she was smiling at me. As I said goodbye to my mother of the past, and greeted the present, knowing each meeting from hence would be yet another person to call “Mother,” I thanked that very Jesus for the precious lesson she’d taught me, and I, in turn, had taught my children. Jesus loves you. That simple sentence I had said by rote all my life had suddenly become a startling reality-comforting, yet squeezed tightly by stark reality. Before the monotony of dreariness crept back into her eyes, I urgently leaned into her face to quickly whisper,  I love you, too, Mother.”        
            I experienced a true comprehension of inner peace and understanding of the faith taught to me since birth. While I could not fathom her illness, she no longer could practice her teachings.  I knew the tables had turned. I had to trust what I could not see and turn over what I could not understand. My mother had always believed in God and His goodness.  In this goodness, I had been allowed to tell my mother the one thing I should have said many times in her years of understanding and had only just said in a time she could barely comprehend.  Thus the journey into Mother’s greater darkness had begun. 
            I closed the door to Mother’s new home knowing I had expressed to her my love. And I know she saw and heard through the memory of her soul.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

On Being a Mother......

(This is my last year's Mother's Day article)

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

Mother’s Day becomes more special each year because my kids are grown, married, with families.

My mother has long been gone and I can’t call. However, as I get older (and older and older) I remember the good things about Mother rather than the things that absolutely irritated me beyond imagination.

Actually, I’d gotten over most of that by the time I had both my children. It was about then I decided she wasn’t just “out to get me” or “make only MY life miserable”—she was simply being a mother.

If she’d told me how hard a job that was going to be, I’d laughed in her face. Wait, behind her back because she’d smacked my backside if I’d laughed in her face.

Being a mother is amazing. It’s scary. It’s rewarding. It’s a life of worrying. It’s not knowing how good a job you’ve done. It’s hurting when your children hurt and rejoicing when they’re happy. It’s tiring. It’s learning new things about your own mother. It’s being room mother forever because you’re the only one who can’t stand them not having a fun parties for given occasions. It’s being a Girl Scout and Boy Scout leader. It’s being a Sunday school teacher and youth leader. It’s being the house everyone piles into. It’s having a sense of humor above and beyond a normal person.

It’s never ending.

In other words, it’s a blessed honor.

I talked to son and daughter-in-law for a long while and being a mother is hearing peace, joy, and contentment in son’s voice and happy laughter between him and his wife. It’s knowing son found his soul mate and together they are embracing their future.

Daughter called amidst her own crisis (her hubby was in the hospital) to wish me a happy Mother’s Day. As I wished her the same, I realized what a strong woman daughter had become as a wife and mother. She too embraces life and her future.

They left me with “I love you” and hung up to continue the roles in their given lives.

They can never know or understand the effect those three little words have. Not that they don’t, haven’t and will say them again.

On Mother’s Day there is an unspoken thank you.

A gift no money could buy.

Happy Mother’s Day!