Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

My mother and I just got back from a trip to Kansas and Missouri, where my parents grew up.  We were visiting my 94-and-a-half year old grandmother and staying with my aunt and uncle—my mom’s little brother and his wife.  It was a great trip in terms of family—my grandmother was warm and loving, even though she’s in a nursing home with round-the-clock care, and the rest of my mother’s family was as hilarious as usual.  We had a nice lunch with my aunt Mary’s brother and his wife and told stories.  We saw an old friend of my mom’s from college and got to go to my second cousin’s first birthday and to meet another cousin’s new girlfriend.  All the human parts of it were pretty wonderful. (more…)


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For the last month, I’ve been volunteering once a week at a dairy farm–Chapel’s Country Creamery, in Easton, MD.  The experience has been absolutely terrific in so many ways.  The owner, Holly Foster, is a lovely person and so eager to share her knowledge, as are the other women who work with her.  And it’s fascinating to have a window into rural life, with 4H fairs and pet goats and Bambi-eyed calves.

There’s lots to say about the creamery work, but today I just want to write about the farmers’ market I helped out at on Saturday.  Working at the creamery is pretty tiring–we’re on our feet for six straight hours with just a couple of short breaks.  The market felt more like play.  I have a friend who owns a wine bar in Baltimore, and once during a tasting he told me that serving folks wine was the best people watching ever.  This weekend I understood what he meant. (more…)

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My much-loved aunt, Mary Bennett Johnston, passed away just over a month ago.  Mary was an animal lover as far back as I can remember.  My favorite picture of her, from the 70s, shows her nuzzling her beautiful gray cat, Cleopatra.  Her unruffled manner with both animals and people was probably what endeared her to all of them.  I remember bringing one of her retrievers to her one day when I’d found a tick on its skin—I was hysterical, since my father had taught me that the natural world presented chiefly risk, whether of ticks, lyme disease, rabies, or some other life-threatening bacterium, virus, or parasite.  But Mary calmly and expertly plucked it off, with the dog—who was gazing adoringly into her face—seemingly none the wiser. (more…)

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