This morning we’re in St. Simon’s, because I’m writing about the War of Jenkin’s Ear for my monthly “Road Trip” in Creative Loafing Tampa and apparently there’s a world outside Florida (who knew?) and, well, something to do with protecting Florida from the Brits. Or protecting the rest of the country from Florida. I’m a little foggy on the details and also, I’ve recently switched to decaf. I’ll have it all worked out by the time the article runs.
I do love the South. Florida, as many Floridians know, is not the South. Oh, it’s south — with a lower case “s” — but not South, as in Deep South. There’s a story there, but it’s not for here, at least not right now. Point is, the South does things different than Florida. Every time we come up here I notice something new. I’ve started compiling a list; feel free to add your own.
- Coon hounds. Or any hounds, really. While we tend to have every sort of dog down in Florida — with an emphasis, oddly, on boxy-headed dogs and dachshunds, go figure — the preferred dog of the South has “hound” in its name. Now, I know what you’re going to say, dachshund is a hound and yes, you’re correct, but people in Florida own dachshunds for their affable cuteness, while up here, it’s because they hunt rabbits or other small prey. This is the one place we can go where Banyan gets more attention than Calypso.
- Dog beaches. The coastal south — at least, the parts I’ve seen, meaning the Golden Isles of Georgia and Hilton Head — allow dogs on the beach. The rules vary (for example, in St. Simon’s, you can’t let your dog on the beach between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. between Memorial Day and Labor Day) but result remains the same: people with dogs come here. Also, despite what I’ve heard as an argument against this in Florida, no, the dogs aren’t littered with poop bags and dog waste.
- Harris Teeter. I’m supposed to be a Publix fan; I grew up in Florida and I worked at Publix twice, once in high school and again in college (true story: Florida teenagers by law must work at a Publix). Doesn’t matter. Harris Teeter beats them, hands-down for customer service, value and Starbucks inside the store.
- Low country. I’ve yet to figure out the difference between most of Florida and the low country, but I suspect it’s marketing. Low country sounds better than swamp. It is, also, what it sounds like: the low part of the country. But it’s more than geography; it’s food and a state of mind.
The food was my focus this morning; I had to decide between a low country omelet (andouille, shrimp, potatoes, corn and cheddar, with a side of potatoes) and low country eggs (the same, sans corn and cheddar).
I went with the omelet. The only reason to go with the eggs was to avoid the cheese, and really, when you’re in the South, health food isn’t really a thing. I mean, it is. I could have gotten an egg white frittata, but really, why bother?
It’s not like I’m in Florida anymore.
We get all manner of phone calls at the Gabber office. Not just the “I have a news idea for you” or “I’d like to place an ad” calls, but the ones that most people might not expect. For example, a few years ago a duck with an injured wing found its way into the pond at Wood Ibis Park. We received daily phone calls asking us what we were going to do about it. We’ve also received calls inquiring about stray animals (sometimes they bring them in), doctor recommendations, high water bills… you name it, people ask us. And we don’t mind, because that’s part of being a community paper and not a big, faceless daily. You trust us, and we appreciate that, even if we really can’t tell you which doctor is best.
After 11 years of writing for this paper, my cell phone number is as common knowledge to some people as their own, and I get calls whenever the paper office isn’t open, which is to say Thursdays, nights and weekends.
Many times, people call to ask me, “What time do the Urban Gyspies play at Geckofest?” or “Hey, you ran an article about a guy making wood chains for Christmas trees; where can I find him?”
Other times, the calls aren’t as much fun.
Last weekend I received a Saturday morning call from a Marina District resident – let’s call her Frances, because she asked I not use her name –whose neighbors had died as part of an alleged murder/suicide. That wasn’t the point of the call, though. The point was this: Six days before, when the couple died, they had left a cat shut in a room and a dachshund running loose in the home.
Animal Services had taken the cat before the neighbors, stunned, could act. But when they saw the elderly dachshund tied to a mailbox, they didn’t wait for permission to take it. The dachshund, when I got the call, was in a “safe house”and could I either adopt it myself or find it a home, please?
We have just adopted a goofy hound dog who has some re-entry issues after too long in the pound and Calypso is recovering from a back injury. I told Frances I couldn’t take the dog but I would find a home.
This is why I love Gulfport. It took me all of five minutes to find someone who would take the dog indefinitely, but by the time I called to tell Frances, someone else had stepped up.
Olive Davis, thank you.
You may not know Olive or her partner, Tammy. I barely know Tammy and remember Olive from when she worked at Stella’s. They already have several dogs and didn’t think twice about saying, yes, we will take this dog and yes, if the next of kin wants the dog, we understand we have to let them keep her.
What Olive and Tammy did, it isn’t, in the grand scheme of things, a big deal. People adopt dogs every day, and every one of those dogs has a story. I’m living with one now, who flinches whenever you raise an arm over her eye level, who is so profoundly unsocialized she doesn’t know how to react to people, so walking her is traumatic. We get these calls all the time at the paper. Every abandoned animal has a story that will break your heart. This dog was no different.
But the voices in my head will do a number on me for a good long time, because this dog most likely saw a murder/suicide and then had to sit by her masters’sides for six days before someone helped her. She didn’t understand.
Which is why this whole space is just about thanking Olive and Tammy. Like I said, we get calls at the paper about stray animals all the time, and as much as everyone in our office loves animals (walk in some Friday when we have more dogs than people in the office and you’ll see what I mean), even we cannot save them all. We do what we can, but sometimes I start to feel like it will never be enough. Our hearts break every day with the calls we get.
So, on behalf of everyone out there who I know cares as much as I do about the animals, thank you, Olive and Tammy. I know we can’t save them all, but, as the saying goes, you saved this one, and I know I am not alone in telling you how much that means to so many of us.
|Love me some Stinkyfeet|
Either you hate the Constitution or you hate dogs.
I’m taking my new paddleboard out for the first time today. I brought it out a few months ago, but I didn’t use it, just let my professor’s Tom Hallock’s kid use it as kind of a “thank you” for helping me with my thesis and my writing. Tom, not his kid. See, this is why I needed his help – my modifiers are all wrong. Also, I tend to use passive voice a lot, which is weird because I had that bitch of a teacher my sophomore who failed me if I used on “to be” verb in a paper. For years I obsessively edited out passive voice, but apparently I got better. Yay me. Now my writing isn’t as great as it should be.
But back to the board. I bought it for myself as a graduation present, but I bought it early because I found a great deal. Since I haven’t used it before I finished everything, that totally isn’t cheating. Today, though, I’m taking it out.
This post really isn’t about paddleboarding. It’s about me being done with my Master’s, which is definitely cool and I am so glad I did it. Now, though, I have this thesis that’s actually a book and it just needs some work before I send my introduction and some sample chapters to a publisher. I also want to set it up as serial installments on a blog as I go (that idea comes courtesy of Tom Hallock, and it’s one of the reasons he’s totally worth letting his kid use my paddleboard before I did. The other is that he’s a kick ass writing teacher and has mad editing skills) but I’m still fleshing out the details.
That, however, can wait. See, Calypso’s bored. She’s been waiting for me to finish my damn thesis so we can go have some fun. I don’t blame her a bit. I feel the same way, except my thesis was fun. For me. For a while. Until I got sick over it. Anyway, I’ll post the link to the Finding Florida blog as soon as it’s ready. For now, I owe a little dog some fun.
Calypso has lived for eight whole months, a fact she celebrated by going into heat. Sort of. I think.
See, my confusion stems from this: no one – not my vet, not Wikipedia, not people who have dogs, seems real certain how this works. The ONLY thing everyone agrees on is that she shouldn’t have puppies until she’s in her second heat. Or second year. Or second season. Except my mother, who says Calypso shouldn’t have puppies at all. But my mother also once told me that kissing with your mouth open was disgusting, and ever since I found out she was wrong about that (just last May), anything else she says is suspect as well.
Last week she started what I can only assume is something somewhat similar to a doggie period, so I had to buy her little puppy dog maxi pads. Wasn’t THAT fun. I don’t have much shame; I really don’t. I could buy condoms for my grandfather if he needed them, but something about the nomenclature tripped me up. So I’m in the pet store and I can’t find what I need, so I get a clerk and start to ask her, except I realize I don’t even know how to refer to them. What the HELL do you call them? Doggie tampons don’t exist, I’m sure and I hope, so that’s out. Doggie maxi pads? Mini pads? Panty liners? Do dogs have access to the wide array of absorbent feminine products that women (and a few kinky and confused men) do? I end up whispering- WHISPERING- that I need “doggie… um, pads, or whatever.”
Turns out that the sexual revolution COMPLETELY passed by the canine world. They have a severely limited selection of feminine (is that even the proper adjective?)products. No maxi pads, no mini pads, no scented or unscented, no wings. Just boxes of “sanitary napkins”. Who even calls them that anymore? I don’t know much, but I have a fair level of confidence that the average teenager would think you were talking about some sort of bloodborne pathogen barrier product commonly used in the restaurant industry if you asked them to define “sanitary napkins”.
I ended up buying Calypso a little pink gingham ruffly diaper (don’t get me started about the logic of having something called a diaper used in conjunction with a maxi pad) and little doggy “sanitary napkins,” which she hates. She does not like restricted access to her, as her vet calls it, “little girl area.”
Which brings me to the point of this post: that “little girl area” has definitely morphed into something quite the opposite. It is no longer little and rather than looking like a “girl” area, it makes her look like a porn star.
All she needs is a cheap set of pasties and a pole to practice on.