Exhale. What a week. Just about more to do than I can do. This and that. More of that. Gus the Wonder Pug is on my lap on the deck, me holding a snifter of Writer's Tears Irish Whiskey — two fingers of “f-you to the world,” my friend Harriet calls these nightcaps. Under her counter, she has a lineup of Irish whiskey she calls Murderer's Row.
Well, f-you to that mess in Afghanistan, I think ruefully, my prediction of more dead soldiers two weeks ago sadly prescient. Why is it we only count America's dead?
Ah, the scars we leave upon this earth.
In the distance, a coyote, then another, another, then five. I can pick out their distinct mournful voices. Six. Seven. Maybe eight. No, that would be literary license.
Three. Three fingers, actually.
These are not the worst of times, any student of history knows that, but God help us if they're the best. We're under assault by the Merchants of Fear. Which would be a good band name. Called it.
What a week. I awoke Wednesday to an alert that I'd botched a name in my column. There's a truism in journalism: no matter how many times you proof your work, mistakes are only visible in ink, and then they leap off the page to strangle you. However, the morning after that my phone pings with four messages of thanks for my effusive story about the football team's big win and emergence from the wilderness after so long. Heck, the kids wrote that story. I'm just a witness.
So I'm batting .500 for the week, an average that will get you into Cooperstown and drummed out of journalism.
Gus's limp tail curls and he growls. Perhaps at the raccoons who ate every cob of corn last year and are well into it again. I had no illusions I'd get to eat any; I planted it for the bandits. A holdup. Your money or your corn. A surrender.
The air smells of must after two inches of rain fell onto the parched earth in a couple of days. San Andres cracks had opened up in my yard, yawning like the fledglings by my front door, waiting to be fed. Now, quenched.
Lightning flashes in the south. The hoot of an owl. More yipping. Nearer.
This week, on the very day my beloved Baltimore Orioles broke a 19-game slide, I spotted an oriole at the jelly feeder; they've been absent most of the summer, and I don't know why. So, all is well. Here, the Merchants cannot touch me. I'm only wounded if I allow it.
The throaty rumble of thunder sounds ominous to most but in it I hear God laughing, because he knows, as Harriet told me in the most dire of circumstances, “Everything will be alright.”
A moth flutters past my ear searching for the light.
It's sprinkling now as I drink in these last days of summer. Gus looks up expectantly. Waiting. When I finally rise, soggy, he's relieved.
Today, under pale blue morning skies, I see the grass has gone green in one final hurrah. The rain gauge reports another ¼ of an inch. Puddles.
We carry on.
Everything's going to be alright.
And the kids won again.