Thursday, April 29, 2010


If you're not familiar with one of my very favorite blogs, the extremely cool "The Unbearable Banishment," I must now ask you, no implore you, to visit his most recent post:

If you love books, if you understand just how they can change your life, this post will move you as it moved me, and maybe just maybe you'll be a little choked up when you finish reading it...I know I was...

Friday, April 23, 2010


This is Andrew. The husband of my mother-in-law's cousin, he is no real relation to me, except in spirit.

There is no way to adequately convey the loveliness of old Andrew, except to repeat what Sarge has often said: that Andrew may very well be a tsaddik, one of the true righteous, living secretly among us, "for whose sake alone the world is not destroyed."

A good, righteous man. Funny, kind, quiet. Once a long time ago, he was an Army Air Corps boy, then a young man who worked hard for his family and played minor league baseball in his spare time ("I loved the way he smelled when he came from a game," his 87-year-old wife confided in me recently. "All sweat and sunshine--he was so sexy, I would lean in and sniff him...")

Devoutly Catholic, now eighty-nine, Andrew is one of the more open-minded and curious people I've met, with great tolerance for differences. He attended a Passover Seder I hosted and followed along in the Haggadah with great interest, asking questions and joining in the Hebrew and Aramaic songs. When it was over, he took my hands and thanked me for the service and the matzoh ball soup.

He is the only real grandfather Hedgehog has ever known. When we visit Texas, Andrew goes out early, trundling patiently along to help my daughter fill the birdfeeders and spread corn for the deer who come to graze on my mother-in-law's land. I love to watch them every morning from the picture window, industrious in their task, often returning to the house hand in hand.

Yes. Tsaddik.

Notes on the photo: Andrew, a Technical Sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Corps (later became the Air Force), circa 1944. Ratlesden RAF Base, England. The plane with the wonderful nose art, a B-17 G, was later shot down over Belgium, although the pilot survived.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Leah and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

It really was an awful day.

You know the deep crunch when your car makes that impact?

That's what I heard two hours ago. When the puppy threw up all over the seat on the way back from the vet's and I turned my head for a second and plowed into two parked cars.

Yes, that sound. Time slows and then speeds up and you're just sitting there, your car is wrecked, and you're hyperventilating along to the pounding of your heart.

In NYC, the least little bit of bad news draws an enormous crowd. It doesn't matter if it's a shooting victim lying on the ground in his slowly pooling blood, or a woman sitting shocked and weeping in a wrecked car full of puppy barf. I will estimate conservatively that my malfeasance drew a crowd of fifty or so onlookers.

I will tell you that a lone good samaritan helped me crawl out of the car and patted my back as we waited for the police, for whom it must be said my devastation was a tiny mishap in the scheme of their long tour of duty; this being NYC after all.

And oh, did I mention that my puppy is revoltingly ill?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Settling In

I promise this is the last puppy post. But I miss my blog, and all I've got on the mind is Puppy, because he won't have it any other way. I think I'd forgotten, after sixteen years, the work entailed. Our terrified, shivering, silent rescue dog, the one who crept toward us on his belly rather than walk upright, is now in the full flower of his rambunctious puppyhood.

As I sit here, trying to have a coffee and write a little post, he's zooming and pouncing, chewing and grabbing. He seems to like, particularly, my special expensive yarn and the hundreds of books that are on doggy level. Mind you, he does have some very nice strong rubber and rope chewy toys. But those hold appeal only for a few minutes at a time, even when I dip his bone in gefillte fish aspic.

I've gotten more exercise in the past few days than in the past year altogether--and am thinking of cancelling my gym membership (seriously, no lie! why bother paying when I've got a very persistent four-legged personal trainer?). This is no sedentary hound.

Now pardon me while I wrestle my precious copy of "Wisconsin Death Trip" from his baby teeth and take him for a run or twenty around the block...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Another Naming Story Unfolds...

Within an hour, I went from being totally unencumbered to completely encumbered. Turns out I've been very busy this holiday filling the sad little hole left in my life when Pippin died last year.

I've been waiting and waiting for the right dog to come along, and yesterday, as I made my way upstate, he just sort of appeared. A 4-month-old redbone coonhound mix (I can't figure out with what--lab? beagle? who knows what moment of love produced him): beautiful, rangy, ginger. A rescued pup from Tennessee (will he be a Tennessee wildcat like Mr. Edwards? Some of you know the reference).

I suspect he'll be a handful for awhile, but I've done the puppy thing and I know the drill. But he's got the silkiest ears, a soft droopy muzzle, and a good handful of dewlap, just like I like. Plus the enormous ill-fitting puppy paws.

The only problem is he hasn't got a name--he came with "Roger," but since he only had the moniker for a day, well, it's on us now. Any suggestions for a wildcat red coonhound Tennessee rescue with oversized paws and a penchant for chewing pinecones?