Kramer’s Korner

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Greetings Faithful Readers:
Kramer here.  I can’t believe how fast time goes by. Today, it will be two and a half months since I adopted Bob.  This is the longest I have stayed anywhere for a while, so that’s a good thing.  I did have one scare though.

Has anything exciting happened?  Well, let me tell you.  Bob took me to see a lady he called a groomer.  I’d never seen one of those before, so I thought it was no big deal, until he handed me to her.  A lot of things raced through my mind.  I recognize a kennel when I see one.  Was he taking me back?  Was he, like the others, going to leave and not come back?  Had I been too hard on him.  Suddenly, I was scared. I realized I didn’t want him to go.

But, he did leave and the lady, her name was Trish, took me inside where she proceeded to give me a bath and a haircut, neither of which I had ever had before.  One of the people I had adopted previously had tried to brush me once, but I put an end to that.  Now Trish was attempting to assault me with clippers that buzzed and a blow dryer that hummed and blew warm air at me.  I did the best I could to defend myself.  I wouldn’t stand up.  Instead I would collapse on the table, roll over, kick my feet, stretch, curl up, and scream like she was killing me, all to no avail. If nothing else, Trish was tenacious, but gentle.  If I started to get too wound up, she would stop, pat me, rub my tummy, and talk to me.  I think I could like her if she would get rid of her weapons.

So, what do you think? New and improved?  She didn’t manage to cut off too much, but said as time goes on, she’ll try to shape it up more.  I’ll have to say, when she was through, I liked the result, although I could have lived without it.  I was handsome before.  I didn’t really need this, but as I have gotten used to it, it’s kind of growing on me. Get it? Growing on me? Never mind. If I have to explain it to you!! Plus, there is a beagle that walks by the house a lot and I noticed her giving me the once over. Trish told Bob to bring me back when he has Scooter or Sophie groomed so I can get used to the place, like that’s going to happen.

Oh, and about the brushing thing?  Since then, Bob decided to try brushing me.  I of course abstained.  After a few strokes, I did my drop, kick, and roll routine.  Then Bob did a curious thing.  He didn’t try to force me to like it.  Instead, he started brushing Scooter, WITH MY BRUSH!  And Scooter liked it.  I had to come back and check Scooter for signs of sanity.  I also let Bob give me a few more strokes.  I may not like it particularly, but it didn’t hurt and if it was good enough for Scooter, what can I say.  Can’t let him get all the attention. Over time, I may cut him some slack.

Well, I guess that’s it for now.  I’ve got some toys I need to spread around the living room and then it will be nap time and I see a spot of sun on the carpet with my name on it.  So to all my fans out there, and to all my friends still waiting for homes, til next time,

Kramer, signing off      

Paw Prints

 

Posted in Dogs, Friendship, Home, Humor, Life, Love, Pets, Reflection, Relationships, strays | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Perplexed

Second hand is now recycled
Pre-owned is what was called used
What was thrown away recovered
Some wear and tear was once abused

How we strive to change the verbiage
Make things sound much more like new
When in fact the nomenclature
Every buyer will see through

All my actions are recycled
All my words have oft been used
The things I think were thought by others
All of which leaves me bemused

If there is reincarnation
And if I come back again
Would I be new or recycled
Which term would be found germane

Posted in Death, Future, Humor, Life, Perspective, Poetry, Reflection, Rhyme, Whimsey | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Is It Just Me Or?

I think I may have mentioned this in a previous post.  I ordered some masks on EBay and within one day received a “your order has been shipped” message.  However, after several days, with no further activity, I decided to trace the shipment which, I am sorry to say, continued to advise me that the item had not yet arrived at the shippers. So, it was obvious that nothing had transpired beyond a label being created.  I next attempted to contact the seller via email and received no response.  Attempting to trace the order further, I started checking the shipping method and guess what.  My shipment was originating in China.  Yes, that China.  Seems like they were able to send us the virus a lot faster then the masks. 

A week ago, while on the web, I found a harness for Kramer that was perfect for my needs.  As they say, once burned, twice cautious, and not being familiar with the seller, I researched them and found that they were a pet supply company in New York.  Further, their site said “orders normally depart our shippers warehouse within 48 hours”.  OK, that sounded reasonable. So I ordered one.  I almost immediately receiving a confirmation and a tracking number.  After a couple of days I started tracking the progress and each time received a message advising there was no progress to report. Further, I had never heard of the shipper, a company called CJPacket.  To my surprise, this morning, I got a hit on my tracking number. This is what it said.

2020-05-28 13:59:12 CHINA, CUSTOM CLEARANCE IN PROGRESS

Now, I’ve lived through a time when it seemed everything we bought was stamped with “Made In Occupied Japan” and then, over time, it evolved into “Made In China”.  I never gave it much thought, nor did it really bother me.  If it was what I wanted and it was available, so be it.  But now, I’m becoming a little paranoid.  I’m no longer tracing things that are here and are being fulfulled by UPS or FedX.  Nope.  I’m buying stuff that is probably floating around on a ship somewhere, and that scares me.

I guess this whole Coronavirus thing has made me a lot more aware of the degree to which we depend on China to provide us with goods.  Just for grins, not that you could see them under my homemade mask, I wandered around a Lowe’s the other day, and then a Walmart.  At each location I randomly selected  10 items and looked for their point of manufacture.  In both store, many of the items indeed came from China. And, I might add, none of them, in either location, was made in the U.S.

So, now I’m a believer.  Going forward, I plan to not only shop price, but origin. If I can find what I want and it is made here, I will buy it even if the cost is slightly higher.  This country was built on values like quality, innovation, and design.  We became strong because of what we produced and stronger because we produced it.  But somewhere along the way we said, “hey, let’s let the guy that can build it most cheaply make it” and then we made sure that it wasn’t us. Now we find that this decision was not only sad, but intrinsically dangerous.  How many times do we have to be reminded that we are oh so vulnerable. Just sayin.

 

 

Posted in Commentary, Country, Generations, History, Insight, Loss, Opinions, Perspective, Reflection, Sad, Wisdom | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

The Shortest Distance

When I had been in school not too many years, one of the lessons I learned was that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  I’m not sure why that is terribly important to know because, you can’t actually go anywhere in a straight line.  I’ve also heard people refer to this distance calculator as  “as the crow flies”.  Again the assumption is that the acumen of a crow to fly from point A to point B in a straight line is superior to that of our major airlines.

When I still had to travel for business, I was always amused by the route I would take to reach my destination.  The fact that my travel arrangements were always predicated on cost, my flight, more commonly known as flights, were akin to the action of a pinball machine.  I remember one such trip from Louisville, KY to LIttle Rock, AR which routed  me through Charlotte, N.C.    Ironically, at a later date, I had occasion to fly to Charlotte from Louisville.  However, that first leg of the previous trip was not to be had as a direct flight apparently as I instead, had a layover in Atlanta.  It was no different going west.  Seems like if you were going to go anywhere beyond Omaha, plan on stopping in Denver.  After that, it was up for grabs.

This all came to mind the other day while I was waiting for a package to arrive from L.L. Bean. I have the good fortune to live about 14 miles southwest of Freeport, ME, the home of Bean. Under normal circumstances, I would just drive over and buy what I wanted.  But, as we all know, we are not living under normal circumstances, so I placed an order over the web for delivery by UPS. Now, the UPS depot that serves my town is in Auburn, ME which is also about 14 miles north of me and about 19 miles from Freeport.  So, I was a little surprised when the estimated date of arrival was about a week, but again, these are not normal times.  So a waited a couple of days and decided to track my order.  I found that it had been shipped from Freeport and had arrived in Chelmsford, MA, a trip of about 118 miles.  It was then transferred to a truck which carried it back to Auburn, a trip of another 130 miles, where it would now be delivered to me. I guess I can’t complain because my order arrived in 4 days.

Common sense tells me that UPS is not going to say “hey, here’s an order for some guy in Gray.  Let’s just run that over to Auburn”, but logic would lean toward maybe a slightly more direct route. Perhaps they could use a drone, or better yet, a crow.  Just sayin.

Posted in Flying, Home, Humor, Insight, Journey, Perspective, Reflection | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

From Whence We Came

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I borrowed this photo from G.P. Cox’s “Pacific Paratrooper” blog because I could not just pass it by.  It just said too much.  We can focus on the “why” if we must.  But I instead would prefer to focus on the “what”.

It said to me that life is not always  as we would wish it to be, but it does not repel us from our pursuit.  There is just something within us that says not only “I can do that” but also “I must do that”.  And, sadly, another young life, newly minted, called from within to take a stand,  with all the bluster and bravado of youth, has been taken from us.

  I look at this family and I see Grandma and Grandpa and three siblings or children of the deceased, paying respects to the the oldest son or daughter that marched off one day and didn’t return, at least as expected.  I can imagine them driving in from the farm in a much used pickup truck, Grandma lovingly carrying the tulips on her lap that she dug from her garden, to be placed on the grave.  The children, staring at reality, trying to piece it all together.  Trying to make some sense out of why he or she is gone.

Homespun is the word that comes to mind.  They don’t have much, but they will make do.  They have each other and, although the eldest child who not that long ago was helping Grandpa on the farm or Grandma in the kitchen, is now gone.  All that is left is the love, given and received in their short life.

The simplicity of their dress speaks of grassroots America.  Working the soil, sustaining themselves through hard work and the American dream of living in peace and that prosperity is in our heart as well as our hands. That it is upon us to give back.  Every day bringing new challenges and hopes and a few successes, but also bringing days such as this.  What once was, still is.

 I see both a beginning and an end. The fortitude of family, once again tested, as it has always been and always will be.  I see tomorrow reflected in the children. The circle of life once again struggling toward fulfillment.  I see the values of a lifetime carried proudly on the shoulders of the elders.  A lesson being taught.  A lesson being lived.

I see.  No, I feel the pride that they carry within.  It is as a flame that flickered and then regained it’s glow, providing both warmth and light.  They are but one family, but they are us.  This was our son. This was our daughter.  And for every freedom I enjoy, I owe it to them.  Thank You.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength.  Loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
(Author Unknown)

 

Posted in Coping, Country, Death, Faith, Family, Generations, History, Home, Life, Loss, Love, Military, Perspective, Reflection, Sad, Tribute, War | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Welcome Home

I originally wrote and posted this in 2014. I offer it again today in celebration of Memorial Day, honoring those who have served and sacrificed that I may be free.
……………….

She sits alone before the massive windows of the terminal, staring absently at the tarmac. Silently she waits, radiating an air of calm introspection. It is not until one draws closer that they can see past the ramrod straight back and the soft but strong hands that clutch her purse strap, and read the stress in the lines on her face and the sadness hidden in her eyes.

She stands as she hears the whine of the approaching aircraft as it taxi’s to a stop before her. “Mrs. Turner?” the young officer says softly. “If you will kindly accompany me, I will escort you” he says, extending his white gloved arm. He looks so young she observes. Too young to be in uniform. Too young to be confronting the harsh realities of war. Just a child really, not unlike her own. They could have gone to school together, so close in age they seem. She accepts the pro offered arm and together, they proceed down a flight of stairs to the parking ramp.

They are joined by a color guard that silently forms a line from the ships hold to the waiting hearse. She absently glances up and is surprised to see the faces of many passengers looking down at her. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain. We have the honor today of welcoming home Army Specialist Chris Turner who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. I would ask that you remain seated while this hero is reunited with their loved ones, at which time, the tunnel will be extended to allow your departure.. Thank you”
She watches as the flag draped casket is carefully lifted from the plane to a wheeled cart. The honor guard snaps a salute and with all the dignity demanded by the situation, slowly move their comrade toward the hearse. She reaches out and touches the flag as it passes, remaining silent while the tears begin to carve their path down her face. Soon the door to the hearse closes and it silently leaves. She struggles to find a tissue in her purse when the young officer offers her a white handkerchief and quietly places his arm around her shoulder.

“This is it” she thinks. “This is how it ends”. All those wonderful years of childhood, only to come to this. She hadn’t wanted Chris to join the military, what with the conditions in the world being what they are. But with the bravado of youth, she had finally been cajoled and persuaded to give her blessing, knowing full well that it could come to this and praying every day that it wouldn’t. She knew that she was not alone. So many mothers. So much sorrow. So many unanswered prayers. Young lives with so much to live for, so much to give, sacrificed. The weddings that would never happen. The families that would never be started. It would be very easy to be bitter. To blame the military for not doing enough to protect them. But she couldn’t. They had made a choice. This is what they wanted to do. They too knew the possible consequences and chose to meet them for what they believed in.

As she returns to the terminal and, with subdued mind and body climbs the stairs, she is met by a crowd of people. The passengers stand in groups waiting for her. Slowly the sound of applause rises as she walks toward them. She notes that she is not the only one crying. She hears murmured comments. “I’m so sorry for your loss”. “May God bring you peace”. One woman steps forward and impulsively gives her a hug. “I want to extend my condolences. I too have a son in the Army and I worry about him every day. I pray that he will be returned unharmed. I know there is nothing I can say to offer you comfort. I don’t know what I would do if I lost my son.”
Her mind continues to race with all the emotions that have been laid before her. The pain of loss. The outpouring of love. The finality of it all. She is thankful for the hug and knows the woman meant well. She is unsure whether to say anything. It is such a common mistake. In the end, she knows she must. Her eyes hold the woman’s gaze, and the compassion is obvious. Gently taking the woman’s hand and giving it a slight squeeze, she forces a smile and says “Thank you. Chris was my daughter.

Posted in Reflection | 5 Comments

The Truth Be Known

The truth be known, at least to me
Perceptions of reality
My vision of this time and place
All the beliefs that I embrace
Hard held truths that I foresee

I do not ask that you agree
Subscribe to what I think will be
Or your beliefs with mine replace
The truth be known

As each of us to some degree
Looks at their own world differently
With each new challenge that we face
Choose what to keep or to erase
The truth be known

Posted in Insight, Life, Opinions, Perspective, Poetry, Reflection, Rhyme, Vision, Wisdom | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments