"There they go," she said, as her hand rested lightly on my shoulder.
"Making their own memories."
It was my young grandsons' first Galva Halloween this year, and they were off to make the best of it. First had been the stupendous goings-on at Black Hawk College and a super party at their own Visitation School. Now they were about to embark on on a holiday search via the friendly, well-lit streets of our nearby neighborhood.
After the hometown trick-or-treats would be an extra-fun and nurturing All Saints' celebration and hot dog roast at St. John's Church, our home parish.
My cancer-grazed brains and bones have pretty much sidelined me this season, leaving me to watch it all with Annie. She is the amazing rent-a-dog. Annie comes to stay with me from time to time when our neighbor, who minds old Max the killer cat when we're on the road, hits the road herself. Annie has an outstanding wardrobe, for a dog, at least. Her normal cold-weather garb is a heavy ski sweater with the word "dog" emblazoned on the back, in case onlookers might get confused and mistake her for a large chinchilla or a small polar bear. But for Halloween, she swapped that outfit for a scarf-and-sweater duo with a jolly jack o'lantern motif.
"Oh, look at the cute doggy," said the dozens of trick-or-treaters who began visiting our front door at the beginning of the evening.
Excited at the company, Annie yipped and panted.
They kept coming.
Annie kept yipping and panting.
Finally, I noticed her panting was becoming a little more labored.
Looking a little closer, I noted that my little pal had somehow gotten her front paws paws tangled in the scarf part of her outfit.
Ergo, every time she hopped forward to greet the halloween revelers, she tightened the scarf just an itty-bit more.
Get the picture?
I wasn't sure what to do.
I was afraid that if I called too much attention to the situation, it would somehow be made worse, with desperate administration of the Heimlich Maneuver or CPR, and hasty calls to 911. Moreover, I couldn't help but imagine the lurid descriptions that were bound to be made by Srar-
courier newsroom buddies and headline mavens like Mike Berry, Dave Clark and Rocky Stufflebeam.
"Precious pup poops out in hands of inattentive grandpop."
"'I was just dozing,' says dog murderer'"
and, best of all..
"Don't blame me, blame the costume."
I wasn't quite sure what do do. Finally, I decided to let the resourceful Annie untangle herself from her predicament, a strategy that worked well enough.
We were, in fact, pretty well crisis-free on the pet front until Sunday afternoon, when my spouse and I were standing in the kitchen along about four o'clock. Max the Wonder Cat sauntered in and looked around the room in a heightened combination of curiosity and irritation.
Max glared at us, then stared back at his food bowl while muttering a series of unflattering cat curses.
"What's up with him?" I asked.
"Oh," she said. "I think he's forgotten about the time change."
So it goes. And guess what?
They both lived through it.
The same cancer-based brain freezes that have made remembering the name of my cat a bit of a challenge from time to time have now begun to make the whole get-up-and-think-of-something-to-write-about rigamarole a bit of a challenge, too.
It doesn't mean I'm quitting.
Slowing down, maybe.
So, let's make a deal.
When I can do it, I will.
When I can't, I won't.
Meanwhile, see you around.
Thanks for listening.
I love you all.