This is a brief tale of tail, concerning two things that really happened to me recently.
Event #1 was on Thursday when I was at my mom’s giving her lunch and dinner, as I will do a few times per week.
Washing dishes I was a bit overzealous with one of my mom’s knives. I don’t know her dishes as well as my own, so I think I mistook this knife for something duller and safer. As I was washing, the knife blade made an incision into the joint of my index finger on my right hand. Being left-handed it’s not as bad as it might be.
Yet there I am, now hesitant about washing dishes, with the third in a series of bandages covering the cut. It’s gradually healing, as cuts will do, even if immersion in dishwater has a way of undoing that repair function.
I’ve been washing my hands with the index finger pointing skywards, while I rub palms and nine fingers together. I never washed my hands so often or so diligently as in the past two years, when hygiene became central to our lives.
Event #2 was just before sunset today, the trip outside with Sam the dog.
Sam did her business, which by the way was also a number 2 if you take my meaning.
I watched the sun vanishing behind the Seminary building, a bit later each day, as the days get longer oh so gradually.
Sam came and sat beside me, more or less staring in the same westward direction.
As she came to sit I thought I caught sight of something a bit troubling. Oh no, it wasn’t anything really bad or really dangerous. She’s 15, she has a huge cancerous growth on her side. We’re thinking in terms of palliative care, minimizing her pain and maximizing quality of life.
So this wasn’t anything threatening.
But I thought I glimpsed a brown lump hanging by a thread from her behind.
“Glimpsed” because it was seen only for a moment before Sam sat right on it. Oh boy.
Sigh, oh well. I walked in front of her, inviting her to walk a bit further and she stood up and did so. As she stood, I saw the meat-ball sized turd, still attached by its peculiar umbilical chord. Nothing had smeared on her leg, perhaps as byproduct of the extreme cold.
Insert momentary hesitation before I did what I had to do. I was wearing nice new gloves, so I took them off even though the wind-chill was -20 or so.
I grabbed the connector, which was some sort of hair going into her poop-chute. I managed to sever the connection, using a twig to golf the ball into the underbrush.
Sam went on her merry way further along the path, likely oblivious. Did she feel what I had pulled out of her? I wonder.
But she didn’t say thank you, not just because she was looking elsewhere. Sam doesn’t talk to me very often, except when barking at mailmen or ruff-ruffing her requests for a doggie cookie.
But there I was, the hand that had the bandage on it, now having come rather close to the brown stuff. I looked at it, and saw nothing thank goodness.
I kept the glove off, and asap brought Sam inside.
Did she read my mind when I said “go home”, and she complied so readily? Sometimes she listens, sometimes she doesn’t. Perhaps she didn’t really like the chill air either (although she usually revels in the cold).
We were inside before my hands were totally frozen.
But I couldn’t omit hand-washing, not when it’s now de rigeur for any chance encounter with germs, let alone a ball of doggy poop. Sometimes the cold is a blessing, as for example when it prevents one from smelling the poop, when it freezes both #1 & #2, at least for awhile.
Spring will be here eventually, with the onslaught of odors hitting my nose and Sam’s (although she seems to savor what we abhor). Sam seems perplexed at times by the purity of the cold. For now the cold is like a silencer.
It was a pleasure to wash my hands, bandage or no bandage.