Rick Shory

Offering a little something you might not otherwise have

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Dog tricks

My niece, Rebecca, had been training her dog, Cooder. “But he’s so slow!” she ranted. “He’s getting it, but he’s so slow!”

Dan, another guy at animal rescue, chimed in. “My dog’s smart. He can sit, stay, roll over, speak, and even shake – with either paw you ask for.” Then Dan sauntered off.

“What did you think of that?” we asked Bek.

“Well,” she said, “I didn’t tell him Cooder was working on colors and numbers.”

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The Royal “Y’all”

There was no denying Mama had gone downhill. Here in the rehab center, this was the first I’d seen her in six months. But she roused from her nap and gave us a little smile.

“Do you know who this is?” my brother Allen introduced me cheerily. She mouthed a pleasant assent, but I’m not sure she really knew.

After awhile we got her up in the wheelchair. It was a nice day out, sunny and 60 degrees. Allen decided we were going to take Mama outside for a bit.

We tucked her up with a blanket all around. Soon were on the veranda. “She gets cold,” he’d explained, “She won’t want to stay out long.”

We visited, and Allen pointed to the little birds flying. I’m not sure how much Mama tracked. Allen had explained to me that she wasn’t eating well at meals. He had me offer her a candy bar.

“No,” she softly turned it down at first.

“Oh she’ll want it,” said Allen, “It’s just that Christian martyr thing of self-denial. Can’t ever accept anything for herself.”

Sure enough, when I put it to her lips, she slowly bit it off. She chewed appreciatively and swallowed.

You’d think, with so little time left, life would settle down to the basics. But no. Still these convolutions.

After awhile, Mama roused herself to remark, “Y’all must be cold.”

“That means she’s cold,” Allen said.

It was turnabout on that grade-school joke, “A sweater is something you put on when your mother gets cold.”

I’m glad Allen was there, and knew the code. Myself, I would have blithely breezed, oh, no, I’m fine. I would have left my poor little Mama out to freeze!