By Rick Hinton
Torry Stiles, columnist for The Southside Times, can change your perspective on how you look at things.
During an all too short social engagement with him and his lovely wife, Laura and I had the opportunity to nibble on finger foods and listen to an audible hum as his brain worked. And what was surprising: he and I looked at “things” pretty much the same way. There is life beyond the paranormal (I’ve been saying this for years!) and if you can’t find humor in your daily walk, then maybe you’re not trying hard enough …
The Hinton compound was decorated for Christmas. Laura had chosen a Victorian style tree this year that sat prominently in front of the window. A lighted reindeer and snowman guarded our front door as projected snowflakes showered our house. Holiday at the Hinton’s, when our granddog, Dewey Kodney, came for an extended visit.
Dewey is a Vizsla (comparable to a Weimaraner), a hunting dog with Hungarian roots built for long days in the field. He is 13 years old — the life expectancy is 12 to 15 years — so he’s truly in his “golden” years. Affectionate, energetic, loyal, surprisingly quiet (I’ve only heard him bark a few times) and gentle as the wind driven snow. However, they hate to be left alone, and have separation anxiety causing deep depression. He’s stayed with us a lot in the past, but when his owners go away, it’s not holiday for him. We have his medicine for these times.
Animals become your kids. When you add more kids to the mix, even temporarily, it becomes a contest of pecking order. When Laura’s mom, Jennifer, moved in with us she brought her cat. Mia is an older person’s cat, a butterball with a small head that predominantly lives upstairs. Our cat, Jerry, is a young thug that doesn’t like change, but when it comes, he embraces the interruption to his world. And he always wins! The Christmas tree, lights, presents and decorations challenge his apricot sized brain. As it should! Yet, from Dewey, he learns …
When Dewey shivers with anxiety, he likes to be covered with a blanket (he has his own) as he lays twisted into a pretzel on the couch. I most often enjoy this too when I shiver with anxiety. From Jerry’s close observations, he now too likes to be blanketed. However, the fat tree in the living room window confused all the kids.
It became an endeavor for Dewey to get off the couch because the tree blocked his path. Jerry stares at it with remorse. Mia ignores it because she’s upstairs. One evening, Dewey bolted from the couch to the floor, brushing against the tree, making the ornaments tinkle and the trim dance. Jerry was walking by. He did a short hop and looked at Laura with eyes the size of quarters and slack-jawed. “What the hell!!” he would have said if he could speak. It’s always good to keep your kids on their toes!
What does Dewey feel about the ghost seemingly spending the majority of its time upstairs? He was rather noncommittal, preferring to be bundled until his owners finally pick him up. “Yeah, don’t take me on your adventure,” his Vizsla lips seemed to bitterly murmur. “I’ll go through living hell until you get back!” And when he left to go home, he didn’t even turn around to say goodbye!