Your daily Letter to the Columnist — Jan. 14, 2013
Note from Dan: This arrived from esteemed former Roanoke Times reporter Jack Chamberlain, who lives in Lancaster, Va., while I was on vacation. So the presentation is late — my apologies.
Last March, about a year after Molly the Lab died, Jo’s cousin told us about a cute little dog rescued from death by a Roanoke veterinarian. So we drove 500 miles round trip to adopt her. She’s really cute, about a year old then, about 40 pounds, the color of ginger, with a right ear that stands up and a left ear that hangs down. We could have named her Semaphore.
Her mouth is just big enough for a tennis ball, which she loves to chase, catch and retrieve. She has tiny webbed feet and loves the water. Yes! This was the perfect dog for us– almost.
We named her Ginger. (Does Ginger bite? No, Ginger snaps! Please, stop me before I pun again!) Ginger the Cute turned out to be highly nervous and skittish. She semi-bonded to Jo almost immediately, but after nine months Ginger still won’t let me put a leash on her. She jumps and runs if I move a muscle. But she’ll play ball with me, nudging my hand. She’ll snuggle with me on the golf cart. She seems a little conflicted. Jo, I can’t take this. This mutt has to go.
Our big cruise for the year was a jaunt to Norfolk last spring to participate in OpSail 2012, a parade of tall ships and military vessels from around the world. Maggie Rose was one of the official escorts of the Spanish ship Juan Sebastian de Elcano, a four masted schooner.
We learned right after Thanksgiving that son Steve’s wife, Donna, is facing a battle with cancer. She’s tough and we know she can beat it. Daughter Alline’s mother-in-law, Cam, also is facing a relapse of cancer she successfully fought a few years ago.
You know you’re older than dirt when you forget to mention the big family wedding of the decade in last year’s letter. And we were there! We actually gave up sailing to drive to New Jersey and Pennsylvania for the beautiful, outdoor-by-the-lake wedding of Jo’s niece Lindsay Katz, who became Mrs. Kevin Poltarak — in May of 2011! Almost instantly after we mailed everything, Jo woke up screaming: “We forgot Lindsay’s wedding!” How could we forget? We drove to New Jersey, for crying out loud. Since then, they bought their first house. They have a mortgage. They have a dog. They’re still married. So, hey, kids! Happy 1st Anniversary!
Jo did her semi-annual freezer dive a few days ago searching for lost treasures she knew were there. This was an extensive dig that required taking everything out. Most of it was ice. But she discovered a bag of ginger snaps she had baked for last Christmas, a whole chicken and a large turkey. It was like discovering a perfectly preserved woolly mammoth in an arctic glacier.
As I was saying, my ego couldn’t stand rejection by a dog. She seems so conflicted. It’s like she wants to be friends, but is just too scared. She wags her tail. She skitters away. We play ball. We ride the golf cart. But she trembles with me on the sofa. Who knows what trauma this little girl endured before she was found fighting for survival in a busy shopping mall parking lot. We started to find her a new home at least three times. I changed my heart at least three times.
I guess I’m a wimp when it comes to cute little dogs with funny ears. I just couldn’t stand the thought of what might happen to her without us. So we’ll keep trying. Jo loves Ginger. Ginger loves Jo. I love Ginger . . . Well, three out of four is not that bad — for now.
By the way, check out Jo’s new web site.