Hot in Florida means hotter than hell! But living here is anything but hell! Infact, it is downright fun and at times, pretty darn funny!
We made our way to Withlacoochee State Park, named after Indians. It is named after the river that flows through it. It is beautiful and located in Dades City, not that far a drive from us. On the route there, we had to pass the largest dump I have ever seen in my life. This dump literally seemed to stretch for miles, like the size of a large amusement park, except there was nothing amusing about a place emitting the worst odor
There was a farm across the street with cows loitering in the fields. I couldn’t help but notice none, not a one, was remotely close to the fence near the road. I told my husband even the stinky cows could not stand the stench! Now that is when you know how bad the odor was. I literally drove holding my nose. And if you think that was easy, did I mention the roads were not paved? Nope, it was all dirt roads and they were not smooth so it seemed at times, like driving on ice. Luckily I was apparently the only one, the fool, out on that road!
We arrived at the park and the joy was going to be seeing the Indian village. We thought it would be a blast for the grandkids so we first drove around and scoped out the parklooking for Indian Village signs. None existed so we assumed, they must be on the trail hikes. Okay, we can handle that. Parking the car we went on the first one. Off we trotted with excitement and ready for a sense of wonder. We made it to the end of the trail no village. Wouldn’t you know we would pick the wrong trail and walk the entire path?
We had two choices, leave in defeat or stay victorious and walk the other longer nature trail. So, like the troupers we are we painted on our smiles. We can do this, we told each other, and off we went, only notas fast this time steps more labored and breathing. Okay, we got to the end, no Indians, no village, and the walk back was long, quiet and blistering hot. We pulled out saying who wants to see a damn Indian village anyways!
Two days later, we got wind of the first tropical storm coming to Tampa bay area. How exciting to us, never to have come remotely close to one. Everyone seemed concerned but we were kinda pumped, wow a real tropical storm. The only thing bothering us was the wussy name, Colin. For our first one why couldn’t it be fiercer a name like Charge, Crush, or Creature. Wow, was it something to see! It didn’t come as hard as they said but every two hours or so, like clockwork, it rained for two days! And then an hour of complete silence. I couldn’t sleep, I had to sit up and listen and watch. We had a toast, our first big storm, toasting many more!
I think one of our neighbors isn’t all that crazy about our lab Charley. She rolls past in her wheelchair and our dog thinks it is a bike, and he does not like bikes. So he begins his fierce sounding bark. She seems to think he wants to tear her apart like a pit-bull. Mind you, we have told her first, he is old and second, can’t even chew hard bones anymore. Lastly, he only likes to eat males.
Well, the other night, again, she rolls by as we are sitting out front on our driveway by our garage. This time, she would not roll quietly by. She likes to talk, and talk, and talk. But she is a sweetheart. I wish Charley would give her a chance to speak and not drown her out with his incessant barking. So, in no time, as she is talking he starts up.
Now, one of the first things she says is to ask us if he ever shuts up. We explain that most of his day is spent in the walk in closet sleeping so we need to get him outside some. As Charley goes back and forth between lying down quietly during the conversation and picking back up where he left off with his barkfest she starts getting more annoyed. She then says the one thing that makes our neck hairs stand on edge. She wants to know if we have a muzzle and if we would consider putting it on him. Now Jim joined in with the barking, right in sync with Charley.
Charley has a rough time with his legs still. Since they are still causing him issues getting up, he is still receiving acupuncture to help. It must be pointed out, the only time he seems to not have any problem at all is at feeding time, walk time and when he is supposed to lay for acupuncture. We spend the entire time talking to him, taking turns with who gets the joy of sitting in a tiny padded room trying to tell him he is sleepy, do not go to the dark side and please cooperate.
This time the dreaded happened. There was a dog fight in the waiting room! Do you know what it is like to hold back a 105 lb dog and keep him lying still when two dogs aregrowling and barking at each other and adults are yelling right outside the door he is in? Well, I screamed louder than them, JIM HELP ME! In came my husband, and he body slammed him to the floor, well not exactly but he did manage to get him down. Charley was hooked to electrodes this time so needed to be still so as not to shake out the wires. And there we sat, two grown adults on the floor holding him down, trying to not make eye contact because every time we did, we cracked up laughing.
When the vet came in, which seemed like eternity and back, she said “Oh Charley you were such a good boy this time.” She says that every time and we both think we would pay double if she would sit in with him just one time to see what we go through. As she was moving needles from his body, he got pretty frisky. Then she broke her past protocol and gave us her reality check, the words we wondered if we would ever hear from this new vet, the words we have heard so many times before,
“Charley you are a wild boy. You are the wildest dog I have ever met. Even old, you act just like a puppy, I have never met a lab like you ever in my years of practicing.”
Join Charley’s fan club, no fees needed.
Charley is at home in Florida now.