30 August 2011

What Have You Seen This Century

Picture it....Huntersville 1911. I can only imagine that the population was less than 1000 and there was a railroad and maybe a mill and a store front.  The year 1911 is when my friend Cara Holbrook was born.  This week I have been asked how I came to meet Cara because we'll let's face it we make an unusual pair. If memory serves me correctly, she retired from teaching about the same time I started putting together sentences--the two word variety.  To put it into perspective, she graduated from Catawba College in 1934.

Ms. Holbrook came into Town Hall one day and was all upset that her neighbor was going to encroach on her land.  She wanted someone from the Town to come out and survey her line to make sure her neighbor was doing everything right.  Planners are not surveyors, but she had an Aunt Gen quality (technically my great aunt, but on that side of the family you don't get the Aunt title until a generation has passed) so I agreed to meet her.

I realized she lived alone, so I went back to check on her from time to time during lunch or after work and it was through those visits that I learned a lot about her, what times were like in Huntersville before the building boom of the 1990's and 2000's, teaching in Mecklenburg County and her family.  Ms. Holbrook had never married and was very devoted to her parents and her sisters.  Probably the most depressing thing she has had to do is give up driving.  It hasn't been until recently, that age has caught up with her and you no longer see her going to the post office for her mail (seriously, crossing Gilead Road at times is similar to Frogger). But, she still plays cards, never misses church and has people to take her where she needs to go.

My visits began to become sporadic and this summer she left me a message at Town Hall, but didn't say what she needed. I rushed down to her house only to find out that she needed my address (if you know me at all you know I tend to lean towards the worst in those situations.  Mom stopped calling at 6am because I kept answering the phone, "who died?").

Her church was throwing her a birthday party and after she got over the shock of her age being announced in front of the whole congregation, she was getting used to the idea of a celebration.  I don't think I was aware that she was 100 (or getting close).  I promised to mark my calendar and attend.

Saturday we celebrated Ms. Holbrook.  Aside from enjoying the birthday of one really cool woman, there was church punch involved.  I just can't get enough of good (non-kool-aid) church punch. and will admit to cutting myself off at four glasses. 

Ms. Holbrook officially turns 100 on September 1st.  Happy Birthday to a woman who gives me such great inspiration!

I did not write the name of this book down, but it was about the history of North Mecklenburg.  The Holbrook's have been around this area for a while.

01 August 2011

My little escape artist

As most of you know, I share my life with a four pound Yorkie who often lets me know who wears the pants in the family.  They are size XXS.

One of her favorite spots...riding the car while the human operates it
In our five years together, Liddy has gone looking for me a couple of times.  She suffers from separation anxiety and I have a whole routine of treat finding just to make my exit from the house a whole lot less stressful on the both of us.

Last night, I asked my friend Jennifer if she would watch Lids (her nickname) because I have a Town Board meeting.  She reminded me to block the cat door as I had forgotten that the last time I left Liddy at her house, I returned to an empty house and rising anxiety levels after realizing that my dog was nowhere to be found.  Last night at a bridal shower I retold several of Liddy's escape stories.  These escapes are why she is microchipped.  Her original escape was from her last owners to me so this dog has a history of wandering.

This was Liddy the day I found her on September 5, 2006

Fast forward to this morning.  Something told me to put Liddy's harness on her which has her dog tag with my phone number.  I drop Liddy off and block the cat door with the tub of cat food and a child's stool.  I do our little leaving treat routine and head into work.

Phone rings.  "Hello," I say.  Man on the phone says, "I have your lost dog".  With exhaustion I say, " @#$-it she got out again through the cat door."  We exchange pleasantries about where I am going to pick up my little Houdini as I exit the interstate and return back to the Chantilly neighborhood.  When I get there, Mr. Williams, a local contractor, is using a rope for a leash and Liddy is standing as far from him as possible.  I didn't ask if she was nice to him when she found him.  I assumed she growled a little.  When she spots me and my scent, her eyes light up into the most innocent expression that seems to say, "What took you so long to get here? I went looking and I knew I would find you. Silly human, we are never to part."

I return to the scene of Liddy's crime to realize I had been out maneuvered by the cat, Mae, who has taken to living outside since her life companion Stuart went to the Great Meadow.  She had moved my mound and Liddy must have followed. What a four pound dog can't move, a ten pound (guessing here) cat can.

Liddy got a lecture on how being late for work is bad considering I do all of the income earning in our relationship and that if she really wanted me to keep her in the once a day Greenies lifestyle that she is accustomed to she is going to have to do her part and stay where I leave her.  I'd like to think that she learned a lesson today and that by rushing off to bed she is punishing herself.  But let's face it, she's full from the Greenie I just gave her and there was no rushing.  I wonder which one of us is actually learning the lesson.