Her Name Was Lassie Too

By Chele

My name is Taffy and I’m a Cocker Spaniel. My birth name was Cleopatra, but the folks I was given to didn’t like that name for me. So, after some family deliberations, they renamed me Taffy. Sadly, however, the mom had bad allergies and my fur added to her woes. Lucky for me, they had folks who lived in the next township and who were able to take me in. I lived with them for the rest of my life.

But on with my story. This household consisted of two sisters and their elderly mother. One sister was widowed and had a grown son who no longer lived with them. The other sister never married. And the elderly mom had not remarried after their father died many years before. Consequently, this household had no children for me to play with until my former family visited. That home had two children – a girl and a boy.

Nonetheless, I was not without a child companion. Friends lived up on the hill not far from my house. They had a little girl of ten.

The two sisters worked and so were gone for most of the day. The elderly mom was okay by herself during that time, but she couldn’t walk me or chase after me on days when I escaped the yard. So, this is where that little girl of ten came into my life.

After school, she’d stop by my house on her way home and take me for walks. She didn’t have a pet of her own that she could play with, so she sort of adopted me. She took me around our neighborhood and up around the hill where she lived. For whatever reasons of her own, she loved to walk me; something about a little dog on a leash that she held warmed her heart. She loved animals and animals loved her. And I was no exception. With that, I now had a second home too, not just one.

I don’t know how many times she walked me to her house during our outings. It got so that I knew the way to her house even without a leash. Maybe by then I was walking her – who knows? Anyway, I got away from the old lady one day when she opened the door to bring in the mail. I knew she couldn’t run after me, so I was free to visit my second home. I went straight to that house.

When I arrived, I scratched on the screen door to let them know I was here. The lady of the house answered my scratching and was quite surprised to see me. She looked around and wondered out loud who had brought me, since no one else was there. I guess she surmised that I’d run off, for she let me in and then called the old lady to say I was there.

“Oh, that’s where she went,” I heard the old lady’s voice coming from the phone.

They talked a bit, then the lady of the house said that the little girl would take me home after school. And so it happened. The little girl played with me for a bit after school and then walked me home, using a piece of her mother’s clothesline as a leash.

There were several times afterward that I escaped from the old lady and went straight to my second home. The old lady would call and say that I was probably on the way up and to please watch for me. Well, on one such day, I didn’t go to my second home. See, I had met this guy.

He lived somewhere on one of the neighboring streets. Oh, he was a handsome hunk of dog! A mixed Terrier of sorts, a bit taller and longer than me, with jet black, short, straight fur, marked with a large white spot on his chest. He had those big brown eyes that shone like two liquid pools in the bright sun, and a long straight, perfectly shaped muzzle. His floppy ears draped evenly on either side of his head. This dude was gorgeous!

He’d tried to visit me often, but someone in the household always ran him off. I had strict humans in both my homes. We were sort of like Romeo and Juliet, I once heard the lady of the house say. Well, despite their best efforts, I came to have two adorable puppies – one a shiny black with a white mark on her chest, just like her daddy, and the other a black and white spotted gal that looked more like a Water Spaniel than a Cocker.

In due time, my shiny black puppy went to live at my second home. The little girl who walked me got the OK from her dad to adopt my puppy on the condition that she named her Lassie, after the famous Collie. Maybe he was joking, but the little girl took him seriously and so agreed.

Well, you can surmise that my little black puppy was the farthest cry from looking like the famous Collie. Nonetheless, her name was Lassie, too.

August 2022


A Tale of One Lend A Hand Lunch – August 16, 2022

It took twenty volunteers to make the August lunch a success. Those volunteers planned, prepared and delivered the lunches to 68 seniors.

The lunch, originally planned by our “Volunteer Chef,” was a taco bowl with beans, ground turkey (or avocado for vegetarians), lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, green onions, black olives, sour cream and salsa, and the dessert was going to be churros. She was going to make the flour tortilla bowls herself and do the shopping, and most importantly buy the churros at a restaurant supple store where she is a member. The week before the lunch, she broke her kneecap and was out of commission. What were we going to do??

Two of us split up the shopping. We found every pre-made flour tortilla bowl in Tucson – we needed 65 of them. We bought frozen turkey, beans and all the other ingredients for the taco bowls at various stores. But we couldn’t find churros anywhere and we couldn’t get into the restaurant supply store. We ended up buying apple fritters and donuts for the dessert.

Seven volunteers came to help put the meal together in the church kitchen. What had sounded like an easy meal when we had discussed it the month before, was now not so easy. We had to cook 17 pounds of ground turkey, warm up the beans, and chop the tomatoes, onions, and avocados. Additionally, we had to put the salsa in little cups and wrap the individual desserts in foil. As we were getting it all organized, it was discovered that the clamshell containers we had purchased were not tall enough for the tortilla bowls. So, we had to go into problem solving mode. First, we cut the tops off of the clamshells. We tried wrapping the lunches in foil and in plastic wrap. The plastic wrap worked much better, which was fortunate because the church kitchen had a good supple of it. Different wrapping techniques were tried until the best one was found. It seemed like a daunting task to wrap so many lunches, but once the wrapping crew got the hang of it, it went pretty quickly. They became pros at handling that plastic wrap.

So an assembly line was set up and the taco bowls were constructed, wrapped in plastic, matched with a cup of salsa and then bagged with a dessert. Before we did the majority of the lunches, we worked on the “special” lunches – 4 gluten-free lunches with corn tortillas, 5 vegetarian, two with no tomatoes, two with no onions, and one with no beans. Once we got those out of the way, the rest of the 54 lunches were created.

Sounds of laughter, chatter and camaraderie filled the kitchen. The group worked so well together – rising to every challenge and getting the job done. By the time the 13 volunteer drivers arrived, the lunches were ready for pick up.

I had a good time; I hope that all the others did too.

Thanks to Janet, Christie, Mary Lou, Janice, Sandy and Chele. And good wishes to Donna for a quick recovery – we need you in the kitchen.

Written with relief by Vicki

On Second Chances

By Leslie

Many years ago, when I was Program Director of the Pediatric Residency at the University of Arizona, I had a chance to give someone a second change – and have never regretted it.

During intern selection night, one applicant with an excellent academic record was discussed and debated. Tom had one major problem – in his youth he had been in prison for armed robbery (or accomplice at same). Nevertheless, he really seemed like a wonderful human being, and candidate for our pediatric residency. And, after much debate, we ranked him so highly that he subsequently joined our program.

After completion of his training, he went to work as a much-loved pediatrician on the Navajo reservation.

One day, while back visiting friends in Tucson, he called from a shopping mall to say he’ like to drop by. I was delighted, but admonished him to buy naught for me at the mall.

Nevertheless, he arrived with two shopping bags – one with a Kachina doll, and one with a small Navajo rug – thanks from him and his patients who created these gifts, for the second chance we had given him.

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us . . .”

June 2022

The Incomparable JERRY – His Own Story

by Chele

FORWARD – To Bill with Love

This writing is a true story. I had such a pet rooster when I was a child. My daily life with Jerry is memorable, as he was what I called my first “real pet.” My late husband, Bill Logan, had encouraged me to write about it as a children’s tale. Accordingly, I dedicate this story to Bill, who supported me and encouraged me in many ways.

I hope that children will enjoy sharing Jerry’s adventures as a suburban household pet with me. I also hope that the messages included throughout the story will inspire them to feel good about themselves and encourage them to be kind to animals and love their pets.

My best to you from me and Jerry.

Chele Logan


Hello Children,

My name is Jerry and I’m a rooster. I wasn’t born on a farm like most of my species. Truth is, I don’t really know where I was born. In fact, I think I was one of many flock mates brought into this world for fun and profit. You see, there are people in this world who care more about goods and money than about living beings.

Me? I was lucky. So many other animals are not. That’s why I decided to tell my story. My hope is that if you ever decide that you want a pet (and please make it a domestic one) that you will keep your promise and take good care of it. Be kind to the animal and treat it gently as it deserves to be.

All my best to you and your pet,

Part 1: The homecoming.

HAPPY EASTER!, read the sign in the Five and Dime store window. There I was. Snuggled in with my chirping flock mates, each one of us wearing a bright spring color. Our baby-chick fuzz sported the striking royal tones of blue, purple, pink, green, or orange. Mine was shocking pink.

The Girl peered smilingly at us from outside the store window. We were displayed in a large pale-yellow squared wicker basket with no handle, similar in color to the smaller Easter baskets filled with the season’s treats being sold at the store. I came to learn that the Girl now intended to buy one of us after school. She even had a name picked out: Jerry.

Sure enough, after school the Girl barreled into the store, all excited about buying a colored Easter chick. Her little hand reached into our display basket and was coming my way. She plucked me from the group. Now I found myself housed in a brown paper bag punctured with holes so that I could breathe as she hurriedly ran home.

It was a bumpy trip for me, shifting around in that sack as she trundled her way home, but I made it. Finally her little hand freed me from the sack and set me down on a tiled floor.

I stood there, confused, looking this way and that. Where were my flock mates? I felt out of place in this strange surrounding. The Girl, and now Mom and Dad too, stood looking down at me. Mom must have found me a comical sight with my bright pink fuzz and yellow feet and eyes. She was chuckling. I was looking around for somewhere to hide.

Now the Girl was crying. Mom and Dad were telling her to take me back. Right now. They explained that I was a barnyard animal, not a household pet. Chickens belonged on a farm, not the suburbs. Also, right now I was a baby chick. Kind of an ugly-cute little creature of sorts. But what about when I grew up? What would become of me then? Did the Girl ever think of that?

But the Girl didn’t understand. Now I was cuddled safely in the Girl’s hands, lovingly being cradled like the baby that I was. Why, she was blubbering, couldn’t she have a “real pet like the other kids?” She sobbed out something about being the only kid in the whole school who didn’t have a real pet. Dad didn’t allow dogs or cats. The household had two canaries, but the Girl couldn’t play with them like with a dog or cat. And after all, I was a bird too, just like the canaries, the Girl had reasoned, so why couldn’t I stay?

Finally, Dad relented. The Girl could keep me on the condition that I was totally her responsibility. She had to feed me, clean up after me, keep me out of trouble, and do everything else for me that I needed. Dad didn’t want to see Mom doing anything regarding my care. The Girl agreed. And so with that I became a part of a suburban household.

Did the Girl keep her promise? She sure did! I was in for a most unusual summer adventure.

Part 2: Gotta love life.

I must say that over the next several weeks, I’ve transformed into quite a handsome little banty. I lost my baby fuzz to some strikingly white feathers and developed a deep crimson-red wattle and comb. If I lived on a farm, I think the pretty chicks would have liked me. But for now my destiny held that I be a suburban rooster. Not a bad deal, since I was loved and well cared for by the endearing little Girl. Oh, how she pampered me!

Despite my gender, I wore jewelry, doll dresses, and makeup. I was a pretty boy all right. Courtesy of the Girl. She loved to dress me up. Her dolls lay around in their undies while I strutted about in their frilly little dresses. And I gotta admit, I loved the attention. I never balked or pecked her. Why would I? I had a good thing going and I wasn’t going to spoil it. Not many roosters can say that.

“What are you doing?!” Big Sister once chided the Girl. “That’s a rooster, not a hen. He’s a boy.”

“I don’t care!” reiterated the Girl. “I’m dressing him up.”

I went for rides up and down the street in the Girl’s doll carriage. Neighbors chuckled when they saw us. The Girl was so proud of me, looking so fine in my fineries. Pastel pop beads around my neck and bright red nail polish on my claws.

She once made me a little triangular head scarf out of some leftover silk material from Mom’s sewing kit. The Girl knotted it loosely under my wattle. Gotta admit I didn’t care for that particular look. I looked like a grumpy old lady. Fortunately, the Girl didn’t like it much either, so I only wore it if she took me outside on a breezy day. She didn’t want me to catch a cold.

One day, as the Girl was painting my claws, Big Sister laughingly said to me, “She’ll be putting lipstick on you next, Jerry.”

Well, guess what? The next time anyone saw me, my beak matched my claw nails.

The Girl wanted to take me with the family to see the fireworks on the fourth of July. There I was, all cleaned up and wearing a freshly washed mint-green dress. Matching pop beads around my neck. My claws and beak colored pink. But Dad said no. So, sadly, the Girl removed my beads and dress and relegated me to my sleeping quarters in the basement. Pity. I would have loved to go. Sigh! No doubt I would have been an entertaining sight for those around us.

I think that if I’d been born human I would have been a good entertainer. But that was not meant to be. And so, as suburban life for me continued, I came to learn that it is not good to compare yourself to others. Just be you.

Part 3. Bubbles anyone?

I hated Saturdays. The Girl always gave me a bubble bath on that day in the back yard. Mom’s ceramic laundry tub was my bathtub. Warm water scented with white lilac soapy powder. Tub atop a cement slab that covered an old defunct water well no longer in use.

For starters, I didn’t like being wet. I’m sure the Girl meant well, but oh my. This wasn’t rooster-like at all! Then when I finally was lifted out of the water and put on the soft green lawn, my feathers clung to their stems so that you could see all of my pink skin beneath them. There I was, scampering about the yard in nearly my birthday suit, trying to dry off. I must have looked like an ugly sight, so fully exposed. Imagine that, a grown rooster! I was embarrassed.

Very soon though I began to dry out and my white feathers fluffed out magnificently in the bright noonday sun. I gleamed a blinding white, further illuminating my crimson comb and wattle. And scented with my essence of white lilac – well – what chicken could resist me!

So you see, there’s always a silver lining. Sometimes you just have to take the bad with the good. That’s life. A negative usually has a positive flip side though, depending on how you choose to see it. If somebody thinks you’re stubborn, for instance, maybe you’re determined instead. Look at me after my bath, for example. I went from feeling unattractive to looking like the Prince Charming of the poultry world. But remember – it’s all in the balance. Never put yourself down, but don’t elevate yourself unrealistically either. Just be who you are.

Part 4: Summer Fun

Ah, what a marvelous summer. The Girl took me practically everywhere, all dressed up, and feeling fine. If the Family visited friends I came too, even if she and I had to stay outside. We didn’t mind. The Girl always had newspapers in the car just in case. (You know what I mean.) She saw to it that I always had everything I needed for whatever venture awaited me.

I liked the car ride. The Girl put me on the space between the back seat and the rear window, over the newspapers of course. She liked seeing the looks and smiles on people’s faces in the cars behind and around us. She was so proud of me. All decked out in frills and jewelries. When I wasn’t on that car space, I sat cradled on her lap. She gently stroked my back. It felt so good. I’d nearly fall asleep when she did that. And then, when I would come to wakefulness, I’d stretch my wings and legs and crow. It messed up the contours of my dress but the Girl didn’t mind. She just readjusted it.

Yet instinctively I remained very much a rooster. I scratched at the ground. Found my own roosting place where I slept at night. It was atop a steel beam that ran across the ceiling in the basement. The Girl didn’t train me to go up there. Being a rooster, I found my own place to roost. And that beam was it. The Girl made sure there were plenty of newspapers spread on the basement floor underneath my roost.

And oh boy, did I love peas and noodles! The Girl delighted in rolling a cooked pea across the kitchen floor and watching me chase after it and gobble it down. The noodles came from the canned soup. The Girl would hold it in front of my face and move it around while I chased after it, my eyes constantly focused on that prized noodle. It was kind of like a worm. She had me dancing around in my dazzling outfit, turning circles, making figure 8’s, and navigating curves around some tinker toy; all the while with my eyes fixed steadily on that noodle.

Finally she stopped moving it. I grabbed that noodle and swallowed it whole. Then she’d raise my chest feathers a little so that she could see the peas and noodles, still intact, that jutted out through my paper-thin skin like little green bubbles and cream-colored strands. The Girl thought it was awesome and giggled at the sight. Mom stood by smiling, shaking her head. It grossed Big Sister out. Cool.

Part 5: Trouble in Paradise.

Being a pet rooster wasn’t all fun and games, though. And I don’t just mean my Saturday afternoon bubble baths. I had days that … well … you can guess. Like that washday when I shredded Dad’s blue Sunday shirt that was hanging on the outside line to dry.

A gentle summer breeze stirred up and billowed the shirt, moving it about in easy wavy motions. Being a rooster, though, I saw it to be a large, threatening predator. So I mustered up all my strength by flexing my chest, stretching my neck full length, and then with a flap of my wings I attacked. My shiny red claws shredded the shirt to rips and tears. Then, as the breeze subsided, the billowing shirt relaxed. Now it just hung there, looking sorrowful and defeated.

When Mom came out to take down the wash – uh-oh! Good thing the Girl had me out for a carriage ride!

Mom – God bless her – bailed me out by quickly going to the local department store in our town and bought Dad another shirt just like it. She washed it right away when she got home so that it wouldn’t look new. And Dad never came to hear about it. Whew!

Dad didn’t hear about the apple pie, either. Mom had baked it for dessert one evening and set it on the back porch to cool, as she customarily did when she baked a pie. She didn’t know that I happened to be in the area and … yep … I came across it sitting there on the porch table and – well – I did my rooster thing and explored it. It was still hot and the darn thing burned my feet. I immediately punished it the only way I knew how. I think you know what I mean. Bottom line – no dessert that night.

And then the Girl was up a creek with Big Sister because the Girl had been snagging Big Sister’s lipstick to adorn my beak. Oh, what a beautiful boy I was!

By now though, despite my lovely presence and wardrobe, I was well versed in my innate nature to sound out my early morning call. Poor Dad. Mom too. Night after muggy night following those sweltering summer days, they slept with the windows closed so that the neighbors wouldn’t complain about my five o’clock vocals. That’s right, every day at 5 a.m., when some cool relief finally set in . . .


I certainly meant no disrespect. I’m really not a bad guy. But I am a rooster, and that’s what we do. It’s our job. What was it that Dad said when he quoted the preacher that one Sunday? “Learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness” or something like that. Mom and Dad must truly be forgiving people to put up with me day after day for their love of the Girl. And the Girl continues to take good care of me and play with me in spite of myself, and Mom and Dad continue to let me stay.

Part 6: Back to my Roots.

Well, summer was nearly over. Late August had arrived and soon the Girl would go back to school. My time in suburbia was almost at an end as well. The chilly Autumn followed by cold Winter meant that I probably won’t do well in a suburban household. The Girl felt sad, but she understood. Mom and Dad had prepared her from early on that the day would come when I’d have to leave.

Dad’s Cousin lived in a neighboring state. Cousin owned a small farm, but he didn’t have a rooster anymore. Lucky for me, Cousin agreed to take me.

My life will certainly be changed from being a pampered household pet to a lifestyle more rooster-like. But I’ll always know that I was deeply loved and well cared for. I had food, shelter, companionship, and most importantly love. What more could I need?

Life brings change, and so we adapt. Will I miss my suburban lifestyle? And the Girl? Yes. But I will adjust as we all must do when life brings change. Through it all I will still be myself and be glad to be me. I’ll still scratch the ground, roost at night, and crow in the early morning because I am a rooster. It’s who I am. And for me, that’s great.


Dear Children,

I hope you enjoyed my biography. I wanted to tell my story in the hopes that if you want a pet, you would love it and treat it kindly. Also, that you would be kind-hearted in selecting a domestic pet that is meant to belong in a household environment.

As a farm animal, I was most fortunate to have been selected to live in a loving and caring home. Maybe it’s because I was meant to share my story, in part because so many animals, such as wildlife for example, are removed from their natural territories and forced to live in sad conditions.

Sadly, too many domestic animals like dogs and cats also suffer cruel lives. So if you decide you want a pet, please be kind to the animal and take good care of it. Remember that it too is a living creature and suffers hurt and pain just like people do. In return, your pet will always love you unconditionally and will forever be a faithful companion.

Your friend,


Jerry was probably hatched in an incubator after his egg was injected with coloring. Intended to be for profit, his life likely could have amounted to just being a novelty for Easter. Luckily, Jerry was fortunate to have been selected by someone who loved him and treated him well. Many of his flock mates and other peeps for profit were not so lucky. Jerry shares his story in the hopes that wildlife and other similar creatures that are not meant to be household pets will be permitted to live their lives as intended and not be captured or birthed for profit or pleasure.

The Lay of the Ancient Householder

By Bill

It is an Ancient Householder who telleth his woes to all.

It is a tree, mesquite by name, that splitteth trunk in two. Alas, alack, where does it fall, across the neighbor’s driveway all. Poor neighbor stuck at home.

The rains they come, the leaks they come, the roof has many holes, drip, drip, drip. Wallet leaks as painters fix.

Ancient awning gave much shade, now in need of much first aid, wind and sun have turned to rags.

Kitchen drawers acting funny; carpenter man did charge much money.

Chomp, chomp, chomp the termites gnaw. Will the pillar on the porch now fall? Nix, nix, dollars fix.

Zing, zing, zing, will they sting? Carport wasp nests cause much fear, people loath our house to be near.

Water bill is far too high; dripper hose has gone awry.

            Will our troubles forever stay, or now at last go far away?

            So ends the Lay of the Ancient Householder.

March 2022

Heart’s Desire

By Mike B

It is my heart’s desire that you will experience today and throughout all your tomorrows:

in spite of differences

in spite of suffering

in spite of turmoil

in spite of frustration

in spite of offenses

in spite of temptation

in spite of failures

in spite of weariness

Self Control
in spite of pressures

June 2016

letting go of fear

By kat

there are demons in this world, sometimes embodied in the souls of those who have lost contact with their souls. human demons whose sole purpose is to inflict damage on others. the damage has a name: fear. capital “F” fear. on a personal level, i have managed to move the fear to a lower-case “f”.

now is the time to release fear, freeing us up to proceed in peace, able to project love in this difficult time. meditating, i journey to a place of healing. encountering my father, i see him as a pure being of light. i find respite in his arms. without effort, i let go of everything but love and peaceful rest. for a time i am thus soothed, then return to my journey with renewed energy.

fear is ripped from my heart and soul, not without pain, ripped from my stubbornly clinging fingers. the fear is then fed back into the universe, recycled if you will, back into the primordial soup. great gaping holes are left, then filled in with love. i experience warmth comfort and the connection of all living things.

i easily perceive that all things in the universe are alive. all of nature, all souls, human or other, all thoughts even, are living things with which we can impact and reform ourselves and our world.

stripped of the fear which had taken up residence in my soul, i am left open to give and receive love. filled to overflowing with enough love to share, i am given over to live, love, sleep and dream in relative peace. throughout the remainder of this epidemic, recovery, and the next challenge, we CAN be peaceful and loving to ourselves and others. indeed it is the only way to override the anger and hatred, transforming lives as we share love.

February 2021

Three Haikus

By kat

corona virus

“rona” they call it
younger folks have a way of
changing fear to fun

clearing out

sorting through boxes
organizing the keepers
be glad when it’s done

my kitties

one is still lively
the other has stiff sore joints
nineteen-year-old cats

January 2021

Pleasant Turnabout

By Nando

It was early in 1963. For 130 twenty-something USAF enlisted men and women it was also a time of maximum application of their mental and physical abilities as they, and each, pursued this last opportunity to qualify for a USAF commission as second lieutenants. Theirs would be the last USAF Officer Candidate Class.

The six-month program of shared stresses and bonding was about half completed when an unusual opportunity was offered married Officer Candidates: a “Three Day Pass,” without distance limits, after virtually no free time during the prior months of training. It was of course accepted with smiles and alacrity by the marrieds and raised eyebrows by us bachelors.

My 1962 Corvair Monza Turbocharged Spyder Coupe, 4-on-the-floor and other young guy stuff had collected dust for weeks. When a married classmate AWOL bag in hand, asked to borrow it, I gave him the key.

Back within the time limit, my classmate thanked me and noted the car was fast as certified by a ticket he had received. We graduated on June 23rd.

July, my second week of Pilot Training at Williams AFB north of Tucson was over. I invited my suitemate and fellow student pilot to my home in Tucson (90 miles south) for Mexican grilled steak and beer. We left still in our flight suits as he wanted to return that evening to study. We indulged in Mom food, moderated the beer intake.

We drove back over the favored curved road with its desert-wash dips and nice scenery, again enjoying the slight G’s of zipping through its curves and washes.

A week or so later, we chatted about weekend plans. I told him I was going home, he said he was going to see his girlfriend. That Friday afternoon we completed our hot Arizona desert flights and went to our quarters to clean up.

He called from our shared bathroom where he had just shaved and was combing his hair. I went to the open door and before I could wisecrack about his hair spray, he said he was flying to California to visit his beautician girlfriend. Good that I did not wisecrack as he then asked if I wanted to use his 1963 4-on-the-floor Corvette over the weekend.

Ha! I put my damp flight suit back on and stepped out front and into the gorgeous blue gray coupe. Long story short, it was a blast for this twenty-something over that curvy back road, even when below the speed limit. I also had opportunity to confirm the swiftness of a friend’s car with a speeding ticket five minutes after reaching Tucson.

Had my married friend and I each known we would get speeding tickets, we would have still accepted our new friends’ keys.

January 2021

Gopher (AKA Round Tailed Ground Squirrel) Chronicles

By Nando

If sent elsewhere, do gophers, these members of this rapacious and encroaching species, get their RHE visas pulled? If predators are imported how does one export them back?

They are a highly mobile encroaching species, they encroach upward and downward and sideways, and are multiplying due to favorable conditions … monsoon and human provided nurturing … mesquite beans, mesquite bark, mesquite leaves, Texas rangers, prickly pear, garden plants, expensive landscape decor, and most anything green … except usually weeds.

… and someone must be feeding the coyotes, or are they also getting unemployment plus $600 a week?

… and do they burrow? Does a cat meow? It is no longer safe (or sage) to walk about the back forty … holes galore, and some more where one’s weight collapses a burrow to create another.

… a couple of weeks ago, a city main leaked for likely more than 36 hours … at a rate well above a fully open garden hose … a part of that stream had flowed during that time into a gopher hole… It did not fill up nor did it appear to exit anywhere. Do they dig cisterns? Saw some during the leak period; none looked freshly bathed.

There is some suspicion that they are displacing other burrowers or vegetation feeders … fewer rabbits? Squirrels? Tortoises? Lizards seem to be doing OK…

They are insouciant-like now, these Gophers, or whatever these little *** are. Are they beginning to seem proprietary rather than interlopers? Should we apologize, wallow in guilt if we do not grow green foodstuffs for them?

An observation as to their cerebral potency: In a gravel covered chain-link fenced square, an area accessible only to a ground squirrel/gopher, a newly dug burrow was noted. The gravel had been displaced very neatly and perfectly in a circle about 18 inches wide. The burrow opening was very neat and free of dirt accumulation. A few days later it was observed that the hole had disappeared, and the gravel was no longer displaced. In other words, the opening had been closed, and from without, the gravel had been meticulously replaced such that unless the hole had been sighted before, no hint of the underlying burrow could be detected, not even to the critical and wondering eye of the observer who had seen both. Truth 1.

Truth 2: At a square, cement floored structure composed of two brick walls forming an interior corner, and two picket-fence-like 36-inch walls completing an enclosed square, a dog of highly attuned predatory instincts and behavior was barking. It was its distinct “I smell a prey” yip and bark. Inquiry required removing the right-angled picket structure. Lo, in the corner formed by the bricks, a mound of dug up earth about 18 inches high was noted. It was very neatly piled and appeared almost fluffy. How did that much dirt come to be in the brick and cement corner? It appeared to just be a mound of piled up fluffy dirt … no openings anywhere. Upon removal of the wood structure, the dog thrust its nose toward the mound and let out a great bark of discovery, though nothing, hole or critter was visible. The mound was large, spreading out at least two feet. Seeking to perturb the situation, it was squirted with water from a nearby hose. Nothing. Bark, Bark, higher pitch. One more spray with the hose, and the dog lunged into the spray and snapped on a gopher/ground squirrel, simultaneously snatching it and killing it in one bite. So, there was a gopher in a mound of dirt in which no opening was discernible to dog or man. The dog is not for rent. Further reduction of the mound with the hose merely produced more mud.

So, truth one is of exquisitely disguising a burrow that had been/was there; truth two of a non-burrow which was nonetheless functional? Alfred Hitchcock and Twilight Zone come to mind … Gophers of the genus genius … only in RHE.

May 2020