Rest In Peace
This Week’s Issue: Sometimes, strange things happen that defy explanation. In Homer’s short life span, he has witnessed more of life’s oddities than most living people. Homer rarely gets “spooked,” but on this occasion he is in for some surprises.
I am just a dog. I am not superstitious because dogs, by nature, are just not superstitious. What we have come to fear is the repetition of any event that has frightened us in the first place. Ivan Pavlov certainly had the right idea; we dogs actually do learn by experience. This means that everything that we love and fear comes from the accumulation of a series of “teaching moments.”
There was no “teaching moment” that could prepare me for what happened last Monday morning. We are at the beginning of our spring season here in the mountains, and the sun came up bright, the trees are greening up, and the temperature was already in the low sixties when I scrambled down the porch steps of the Inn to enjoy my “morning constitutional.” It was a great day to be a dog!
As I approached the shed where Isabel has been parking her new Rolls Silver Spur, I noticed that the shed door was standing slightly ajar. Since the shed was rebuilt last fall, a new latching mechanism was installed on the huge door to keep it from blowing open on windy, rainy days. and Isabel is usually very diligent about closing it. But, today the door was moving slowly back and forth in the light westerly breeze coming from the mountains.
As I finished my ‘business’ on the lawn, I began a slow circle of the side yard and was just about to turn back towards the Inn, all of a sudden, I was surprised to see a large black cat exiting from the doorway of the shed! Unusual? Yes, we dont have any cats around here! Just like any red-blooded American dog, I leapt to the pursuit with all of the energy available to a dog in the early part of his day.
Believe me, I am usually not the teller of tall tales, I don’t believe in ghosts, and I have never hallucinated since I got into Daniel Cass’ magic brownies, but when I got to within 15 feet of this black cat, he flat disappeared! One second he was directly in front of me, and the next second he was gone! There was no tree to climb or any place to hide; but, poof, he was gone! I stood there panting hard, checking the lawn surrounding me, and I seriously began doubting my sanity.
Being a dog with the usual doggy motivations, I didn’t actually waste much time trying to analyze what had just happened. Frankly, I was very hungry, our guests were already up and around, and the sweet smell of Isabel’s steaming Belgian waffles hung heavy in the air around the Inn. I just tried to look nonchalant and unflustered as I returned to the porch and waited to be let in at the front door. I’m just a dog — what do I know?
Breakfast was wonderfu,l as usual, and after I finished my Dog Chow, there were ample floor droppings — courtesy of three clumsy, mindless guest children; actually, it looked as though they had engaged in a “food fight” with me, of course, the winner.
But, In just a few short minutes, what started out as a happy day, deteriorated to angst for Isabel when she decided to drive up to Nelson’s in Blairsville to buy some fertilizer for her azaleas. “Micah, I have four flat tires!” Isabel exclaimed as she threw her keys down on the kitchen counter. Luckily, the Rev. Calvin Payne wasn’t present to hear her next choice words, and Micah Davenport, who was finishing up a cup of coffee, stared at Isabel in disbelief as he scooped up her keys and headed for the shed.
A cursory examination made it clear that there was no evidence of vandalism or any other damage, but Isabel’s Rolls Royce Silver Spur was now definitely resting on all four of its rims. Micah noticed that the dust on it’s valve caps was undisturbed, and there was no evidence of punctures on the tires themselves. A spade that was now standing up against the inside wall of the shed had been removed from its spot where it hangs all year long. It looked scratched and dented like it had been used to chip away unsuccessfully at the concrete floor in front of Isabel’s car.
Micah was still shaking his head when he returned to the Inn. To make the situation even more eerie, Isabel was waiting with another tale to tell. Earlier the night before, Isabel remembered that she had been awakened by Cinders growling near the foot of her bed. Cinders rarely growls unless he is mock-fighting with me. In fact, Cinders made such a ruckus that Isabel turned on her bedside light and searched for a slipper to throw at the little rascal. When she did turn on the light, Cinders was standing, staring at her locked bedroom door with his little fangs exposed mid-growl. Just to be sure, Isabel got up to check the door and found it still locked. Good deeds seldom go unpunished, and once duly chastised, Cinders laid down and apparently slept peacefully until morning. Isabel wrote the episode off to the negative benefits of raising a puppy — until she happened by her small desk in the front foyer . . .
Isabel is methodical and organized in all things. But, this morning, her file folder for the Citizens’ Bank of Towns County was laying wide open on top of her desk for all to see, and it was turned to expose her copy of The Citizens Bank ‘Annual Safety Deposit Box Agreement.’ Some strange things were happening here at the Inn.