Wet puppy kisses, gall stones and watermelon seeds

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 18, 2001

You are supposed to grab readers’ attention with your titles, so I hope this one makes you sit up and say, &uot;Huhh?&uot; before you (ideally) read on.

If a writer’s column is meant to reflect what’s currently important in his or her own scheme of things — then I guess this one tells you a lot about what’s been going on with me of late.

My unexpected &uot;bundles of puppy joy&uot; that arrived some four weeks ago are now growing as quickly as the less entrancing &uot;smut&uot; weeds that liberally adorn our yard.

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They (the puppies) are all fat and thick-furred and beautiful. In just a couple of weeks, they’ll be ready to venture away from the loving care of &uot;Mama Bear&uot; and into the home and hearts of some of the nice folks out there in Butler and Crenshaw counties.

(MAJOR hint, hint.)

And, yes, I have my &uot;pick&uot; (did you doubt I would want to keep at least one? — Benny didn’t), which we have taken to calling &uot;Bandit&uot;

Bandit is the explorer, the one who's the first to amble out on those short, still wobbly legs and take in all the new smells and sights away from the security of their &uot;hidey-hole&uot; under the house.

The first day I held Bandit’s fat, squirming little puppy body he proceeded to gnaw with gusto on the old T-shirt I wore and then yawned a tremendous, silent, gummy yawn right in my face.

I was in love.

Friday night I stuck my head under the house and called out, &uot;oh, puppies!&uot;

Bandit came trotting over to see me, his pointy little tail in full wag.

I quickly gathered him up into my arms and was rewarded with a multitude of warm, wet, sticky puppy kisses all over my face, neck and ears.

There were occasional pauses during which his blue-into-brown eyes gazed with the utmost curiosity — and complete trust — into mine.

I was entranced.

This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

But I’ve also got an enemy in sight these days.

Seems my gall bladder and I are soon going to be parting ways, for ours is no longer a mutual admiration.

Apparently I have been manufacturing and storing those crafty little devils known as gall stones for some time now.

If the pain had been on the left side I’d have sworn on a couple of occasions that, like Red Foxx’s Fred Sanford, &uot;I was having the BIG one.&uot;

Instead, I apparently just have the &uot;big ones&uot; — gallstones, that is.

On Monday the 20th of this month, stones and bladder are all scheduled to make their exit with the help of the talented and jovial Dr. Norman McGowin.

And considering they woke me up VERY early this (Saturday) morning and I’m still not back to sleep — good riddance!!

Now, about those seeds! Mother Nature tried to do a number on the Watermelon Jubilee this weekend. During those blessed dry spells, though, a good time was had by all in attendance with plenty of the ripe red melons dispatched by hungry visitors.

Like many, I was disappointed the gospel singing Friday night had to be canceled. However, I did enjoy listening to the traditional bluegrass sounds of &uot;Southern Comfort&uot; on Saturday.

The Persimmon Creek Cloggers are a very familiar and always welcomed sight at the Jubilee.

(They’ve only missed one year and that was because they didn’t exist way back then.)

My old Fort Dale chum Paige Barr and fellow cloggers were dancin’ up a storm on the stage — great job, guys!!

And yes — I confess I broke down and ate some of that good smellin’ and tastin’ barbecue.

(I know, I know — &uot;low-fat and bland&uot; is the mantra for people with gall bladder trouble.)

However, as Burke McFerrin pointed out, &uot;You HAVE to eat stuff like that when you go to Jubilee.&uot; (She was scarfing down a funnel cake as we spoke.)

For whatever reason — I slept like a baby that night.