Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Candy, Dogs and Grandma

Usually I refuse to turn the heat on until November 1st, half as a matter of pride and half because I'm cheap and don't like to pay money to utilities.  This year though I broke down and cranked up the thermostat last night after we got in from passing out Halloween candies.

The number of little kids in costume was depressingly low and we had bought three bags of candy, two of chocolate candy bars and one of Nerds which all kids like but I don't.  The first bag of mini-Snickers didn't even make it to last weekend - willpower not being my strong suit.  The second and third bags, candy choices I would never pick for myself, made it into the pumpkin and up the hill.  The lack of munchkins created an excess of candy though so I ended up visiting my neighbors and trading my candy for good (chocolate) stuff, which I felt compelled to eat before Jerry found out.  He's the candy consumption police at our house.

After the end of official trick-or-treat, I pretty-well collapsed on my bed in a sugar coma.  When I woke up, I was chilly so I flipped on the heat.   One night more or less is no big deal, is it?  And I did turn the heat down to 60 this morning. 

I also don't normally wear my shoes inside but since the floor was still a little chilly, I slipped on my trusty crocs.  As I sat down to type this story, I smelled the telltale whiff of doggie dew.  Nice.  I've been walking all over the house in these things the entire morning.

Funny how the memory gets triggered -- as I sat thinking about what to do, I remembered my little dog Betsey which my parents got us when we were kids.  Truth be told, Mom didn't like animals all that much and to add to her joy, she starting sneezing about a second after the dog came into the house.  Betsey became an outdoor dog, which in our world meant she was chained to a doghouse in the back yard.  She grew to be somewhat snippy (who could blame her?) and ultimately bit a kid who was cutting through our yard on the way home from school so the parents shipped my dog off to my grandparents' farm.

This was okay by me because I spent a lot of my weekends at that farm.  My grands had a huge garden which contained unlimited strawberries, tomatoes and corn on the cob in season.  Good eating!  My grandma made not only world's best molasses cookies but also the best sugar cookies on earth, both without the benefit of recipes.  My grandpa hid pink candies in his night stand and every night before bed we'd both have a big bowl of vanilla ice cream with Vernor's ginger ale poured all over it.  Who wouldn't want to stay at a place like that?  Sugar heaven plus my own little dog! I'm there.

My grandpa was a true jack-of-all-trades and as well as being a carpenter and a farmer, kept a chicken coop.  My grandma made soft, soft pillows and mile-high feather mattresses that you'd sink into forever.  It was dreamy to sleep there!  (I didn't connect the dots with the Sunday fried chicken dinners until I was older.) I got to help collect the eggs too.  This sounds more fun than it was because sometimes you had to slide your hand under a very irate hen to steal her egg.  I understand the phrase "madder than a wet hen" from personal experience.

Grandma, too, had a rule about no shoes in the house which I generally observed.   This day though I went out by the chicken coop to play with the dog, rushed right inside, went upstairs and dived into the bed, coat, shoes and all.  I heaved a sigh of pure pleasure.  A few minutes later though my grandma was looming above me and to say she was unhappy was a dramatic understatement. 

Normally I could do no wrong in her eyes - which is a trait to be admired in a grandparent - but even she had her limits.  Tracking dog poop into her house, up the stairs and into her feather bed was too much for even her to bear.

She didn't even have to yell at me though because as soon as I saw her I burst into tears.  I'm sensitive like that.  Today, having just tracked poop through my own house, I am able to understand a bit better how my grandma must have felt that day so many years ago.

Crocs are washable though and my house has hardwood floors.  I think I got off easy.

Sorry Gran!

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