Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to bring you up to date on the latest news from our garden, and also on all the stuff the guy I live with has been doing and thinking, which I know you will find as utterly fascinating as I have. You may remember me from such posts as “Mice In The Rice”, among so many, many others.
Here I am in a characteristic pose. Ready for my evening walk.The weather here, according to the guy I live with anyway, has been dreadful. “As usual”, he said. It’s true that it’s been incredibly gloomy, even more so than it has been, and we’ve had some mist and drizzle, which is not our typical weather at all. It’s even supposed to snow tomorrow.
You may be able to imagine what was said when the forecast mentioned snow. We’ve had so little rain, and way too much hail, and hardly any sun, since May, and now it’s going to snow. There’s not supposed to be much snow, though.
He took some pictures of the garden today, featuring me, in the gloom. It was pretty chilly, too. This is me, looking at something. Here I am hot on the trail of something. It’s hard to be inconspicuous when you have a magnificently white-tipped tail. The guy I live with is pretty jealous, I’m sure. Here I am, looking for something else. There are always things to look for in our garden. I often don’t find what I think I’m looking for. The guy I live with says that’s a metaphor. A couple of days ago there was a little bit of sun and the guy I live with took some pictures of the crocuses and cyclamen which were flowering.
This is Crocus pallasii subsp. turcicus. And Crocus hadriaticus forma lilacinus. They start out white and get more lilac as they age.Here’s Crocus niveus. The specific epithet means “snow white” or “snowy”. The story goes that E.A. Bowles described the species from plants he either saw in Greece or cultivated in his garden at Myddleton House from seed or corms he collected in Greece, but he only saw pure white forms, when in fact as you can see they can have a light purplish tinge, and so thought niveus was a good name.
The guy I live with said it isn’t like that was the only time someone described a species based on an attribute which seemed unique and then later more examples of the species showed that that attribute was more variable than previously thought. Here’s a Cyclamen hederifolium which has been flowering for over a month. The picture isn’t really hugely in focus but the guy I live with was fiddling around with a lens he doesn’t use very often. He should have used a tripod, I think.I’m going to change the subject a bit, now, because I haven’t posted for a while, and there’s a reason for that. The guy I live with has been filling out forms and looking at documents and thinking about things, because his mom died last month.
The guy I live with has been reading, or really skimming through, a bunch of letters which his grandfather saved. His mom saved them too. They were both savers of things. The guy I live with did not save them.
But some of the letters dealt with subjects which were very traumatic for the family, when he was very little, and that made him sad.
His sister brought over some pictures, which he took pictures of, instead of scanning them, which he could have done, but didn’t, since taking pictures of pictures seemed easier, though they came out less focused than they could have.
Here’s a picture of the guy I live with, and his father, at his maternal grandparents’ house in Los Angeles, in 1955. Maybe you can see the brace on his father’s right foot, and the way his right hand was curled. He had been wounded in Korea three years before. The guy I live with always thought this was just the way things were, and all his life, when he encountered people with differences like this he figured that this was the way things were. Of course all of this was massively upsetting to everyone in the family, but the guy I live with, who didn’t remember his father before he was wounded (a word he’s very tired of hearing now, so many years later), always thought of his father as his father, and that was all.
Here’s the guy I live with, watching the gardener, whose name was Harry, hosing down the sidewalk in Los Angeles, which is something they did, back then. Harry was from the Philippines. Like the rattan furniture in the first picture. This is the car the guy I live with’s parents had, in 1955. It was hard for me to believe that they had cars that long ago, but I guess they did.And this is the car the guy I live with’s mom got (his father didn’t drive) in 1957. It has push-button transmission. He said one time his mom took him to Hody’s in Long Beach and got him a milk shake, which he spilled down the back seat of the car, and his mom was really mad. I sometimes do things like that and the guy I live with gets mad at me, but only for a little while. He does things like that almost every day. That’s him in the car window there. The car was really tomato-colored and gray, but the picture is really old. Really, really old.
I mean, one of the letters he read was from his great uncle to his grandfather, talking about their oldest brother, who lived in Newport, Rhode Island, where they were all born, and there was talk about the latest thing, television, and how the oldest brother didn’t want a television set .
If you look at the background in all these pictures you can see the topiary which was across the street from his grandparent’s house. The guy I live with learned about topiary way back when. Maybe it wasn’t so much topiary as just trimmed that way, but he gave the various shapes different names.
So, anyway. The only other thing I have has to do with the ducks, but I forget how many ducklings there were this year. Let’s say there were four. Four is a good number. Today is the guy I live with’s late wife’s birthday, the tenth one since she died, and it’s been a bit rough for him, so he wants me to say there were four ducklings to begin with, as well, not more, because neither of us remember how many ducklings there were, and I guess we both just want it to be four. There certainly weren’t less than four. You can see two of them, but I don’t know which two, in this picture, with their companions. There are eight ducks in the canal here. Each duckling grew up, met someone, and now they paddle happily in the canal. There’s a muskrat, too, but it dives underwater when we walk anywhere near it.
That really is all I have for today. I guess you’ll hear about it if it does snow.
Until next time, then.
Those old pictures are so interesting and familiar almost. We had a two tone Oldsmobile, green and white. What a tank. What should have been a high point in a day of stress and discomfort (air travel) didn’t happen because of your weather. I had to change planes in Colorado and was looking forward to seeing the mountains and crisp blue skies outside my window. Nope.
No, nothing but gray skies. That’s all we’ve been having here for who knows how long. The guy I live with says for forever, but that can’t be right.
Hello Mani! I find your mentions of the Philippines, my birth country, fascinating. And that precious rattan sofa — what a survivor! I am glad the guy you live with’s grandparents got out of Corregidor just in time to escape the horrors of the Japanese occupation. I look forward to your next post, Mani!
Thanks. The guy I live with’s grandfather returned to the Philippines with Macarthur, at Lingayen Gulf, January 6, 1945.
He retired from the Army and spent most of his time gardening; the guy I live with learned gardening from his grandfather.
Tails are rather cool. However, I do not envy Rhody for his tail. Nor do I envy his ability to lick parts of his body that he has no business licking.
Tails are pretty excellent, until you get burs caught in them. That’s not so much fun.
Rhody waits for me to fall asleep and then sits on my chest with his butt at my chin and his wagging tail in my mouth. I think that he thinks that is fun, or at least funny.
It sounds funny. I’m learning to sleep in the bed, instead of in my fort, so I might try that.
They guy you live with might not like that, but go for it.
Thank you for sharing these stories and photos. Thinking about Cindy. . . She would have been in her early 60s? Wish I could have met her, but it’s nice to hear stories about her
Thanks; she would have been sixty-one on the eighth.
Gosh, I hope it waits awhile to snow.
*Push-button* transmission; wow. We had a 1957 two-tone green Plymouth, a big rounded thing. At no moment was its paint as glossy and elegant as that tomato and grey number.
I love how studiously TGYLW is watching the gardener. (Developing the observational skills that make possible today’s enjoyment of crocuses that open white and develop a lilac tinge.) I imagine both of you could use a little of the sun that makes that picture such a delight…
We could definitely use some sun. The guy I live with might burn up, though.
The guy I live with remembers his mom driving up and down Oakwood Avenue testing a blue and some other tone car, but the tomato and gray was what she wanted.
They’re actually talking about half an inch of snow tonight and the same tomorrow. Rain would of course be better, but very unlikely.
Oh, man, it really *is* going to snow tomorrow night. Stay snug in your fort!
It is supposed to snow, with a low of eleven Sunday night. The guy I live with just holds his head in his hands, and sighs. Not much we can do about it.
You, dear dog, distinguish any photograph, and especially ones depicting gloom. And, you’re correct, the guy you live with should rightly envy you your magnificently white-tipped tail. Bet you convey lots to him with its sweeps and postures. My husband spent many a day this year – still does – shuffling through papers and telephone talking . He eschewed photos, though we ended up with some teacups we didn’t know we needed. I too am a fan of the lovely, prescient watching-the-gardener photo.The cyclamen and delicately-colored crocus certainly enliven the garden full of somethings to look at, AND fortunate dog, you get to go on walks. How excellent your life! even in the month of October.
I loved the photo of the guy you live withs dads car circa 1955. It reminded me of my dads car. My dad and his brothers owned a wholesale bakery on 54th street (I think it was 54th street.) My Dads car was a Ford and the bumper was rusty -he called it The Green Toilet.
Added: Such the lovely period garden behind you and your dad, with trellis fence and plantings (iris?). Very of a vanished era, a vernacular gem. Definitely a photo worth keeping.
For a brief while I got to enjoy driving a car with push-button transmission. It had been my grandfather’s car and he sold it to my dad for a dollar and it became the teenager’s car for my family. Unfortunately, my brother totaled it in a snowstorm and that was the end of that.
I ride in a car that has a manual transmission. A stick shift. The guy I live with’s late wife wanted a stick shift, so when they went to buy a new car for her, an Outback, they got one with a stick. She only drove it once.
Oh, the photo of the man you live with as a boy is so adorable! Look how he’s holding his hands behind his back! It’s like he was told, “You can watch Harry, but don’t bother him or get in his way!” So cute!
Don’t worry, Mani, you’re cute too.
Old photos are so much fun (and some sorrow) to look at when they’ve been put in a box for decades. After my mother died there were so many boxes of photos. I had to make three piles, one for me, the other two for my brothers. Just divvied them up somehow. I don’t think I used any rhyme or reason to do it.
Old letters are amazing. My mother had some of those hidden away too. People used to write such interesting letters, full of news and funny happenings. We will miss that in the future when there are no hard copies of our conversations! I have some letters my mom wrote my brother when I was 13 and we were living out of the US. I didn’t remember a lot of what she wrote, even about how I felt about living in Spain. And how I’d laughed and laughed when she told me my brother was “handsome!”
The guy you live with is very wise. His parents did something right for him to see differences as just the way things are. Dogs, especially sensitive pure bred Border collies know that, but too many young people today don’t.
Thanks; I have seen tiny humans in my neighborhood, and I think they’re fairly scary. The guy I live with looked at the pictures and read the letters, or at least some of them, and that was that. He did keep a couple of things from his mom’s house, but not very many at all. He was pretty sad one day and he told me it was because he didn’t have any children or grandchildren to pass on things to them. Everything stopped with him. His sister had kids and grandkids and they got things, but there is a limit to all the stuff. A lot had to go.