Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Last week’s frost damaged a lot of my trees, shrubs, and flowers. This picture shows how the leaves on the end of many branches—the young fragile parts—of my favorite oak were killed.

The oak will survive, but some of its leaves will always bear evidence of the frost. They survived the trauma but they’re misshapen. They’ll never quite be the leaves they were meant to be.

I look at the damaged leaves and think of what happened last Monday at Virginia Tech.

Yesterday, two young beagles that have lately been marauding the neighborhood ventured into our garage and tore apart the garbage bag. An hour after the damage was done, they returned to the scene of the crime. My husband, seeing the dogs in the garage again, opened the kitchen door and released our secret weapon: Buford the deaf cat.

Buford is maybe half the size of a beagle, but he nonetheless leapt into action. Soon the garage was filled with sounds of screaming beagles. The dogs beat a hasty retreat down the driveway, and a fluffed-up Buford kept watch until he was sure the intruders wouldn’t return. Though deaf and small, eight-year-old Buford knows the secret of survival: a good offense is the best defense.

Early this morning, while I played ball with Maggie, Mr. Redneck came a’walking up the road. I left the kennel and kept my eye on him. He walked to the stop sign, but he didn’t upright the rusty chairs that Monday’s wind blew over. He turned around and headed homeward with his camcorder in hand. If he saw me sitting under my oak tree, he didn't let on.

As he walked past where I sat, I thought, best to keep my eyes open and watch. Unlike Buford, I won’t take matters into my own hands. I’ll report any suspicious or threatening activity to the sheriff’s department—just like we did April 3 when Mr. Redneck pushed his camera-phone into my husband's face and yelled, "Gotcha!"

If more students and faculty at Tech had reported suspicious activity, would last Monday’s damage have been less?


Blogger Leslie Shelor said...

Buford sounds awesome.

Even the sunshine sometimes reminds me of those that have been lost in so many ways, and good times. Sadness mixed with joy.

I opened a bookstore/yarn shop in Meadows of Dan; stop by when you're out this way!

10:18 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

I LOVE your cat! Good for him! Now if only he could do something about Mr. Redneck. Have a super week,

Amy T

12:02 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

Buford is a remarkable little cat. He was one of my "off-road adoptions."

I will eventually get to Meadows of Dan. Maybe late this spring or this summer.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

There's always a lot to learn from animals. Did you mark your territory? Maybe that would help with Mr. Redneck.


11:13 PM  

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