April 27: Thunderstorms and possible tornadoes were in the forecast for today. I got in my car to go to the radio station to talk about the handcycle races that begin tomorrow. I thought to myself as I got into my car “just in time” as big raindrops started to fall. Backing out of the driveway, I noticed the wind was coming from the north, not the west, and it sure was whipping around. And the trees were all whipping around. I was in front of the Harris’ house when a huge tree fell across the road. Oh. My. God! It pulled the power wires, and a transformer popped by the passenger side of the car. I threw the car in reverse as the wires hit the top of my roof. I blew the horn like a bat out of hell to get David’s attnetion, and I ran like a banshee into the house. Limbs were flying everywhere, and we could hear the power transformers popping like fireworks. Needless to say, our power went out.
When things died down, Scott came over to tell us we had a leaning tree in the back yard. It had uprooted somewhat, and was leaning into another tree. At this point, we were thankful there was no damage to our house. Strangely so, the afternoon was clear and sunny. The neighborhood was a wreck. Shorter University looked like a war zone. That end of Sherwood was impassable due to downed trees and power lines. “They” said that was straightline winds. This was the calm before more storms. It was supposed to get worse later. When it was still sunny, it got worse for us. That leaning tree – the tree it was leaning on finally got tired of holding it up, and like a domino effect, three trees fell
and took half of a tree with it. From our backyard to across the street into Lamar’s
yard. We still had no power. We went to spend the night at David’s Dad’s. Pippa and I spent the night in the bath tub for the most part. By the time the night was over, more than 150 tornadoes hit the state. Luckily, in Rome & Floyd County there were no casualties. Other communities weren’t so lucky.
April 28: Floyd County is total chaos. Driving to Cedartown Thursday, you could tell it was a tornado by the path. Shorter and Berry College both lost a great deal of trees. Huge trees were uprooted and snapped off at the top. We were without power until Friday around 5pm. It was my handcycle race, so I was having to deal with the effects the weather had on the race. Most of the handcycle athletes had already arrived in Rome, but I couldn’t (with a good conscience) hold a race in Floyd County and pull public safety and public works employees away from restoring our community back to order. Stage One in Cedartown was great. I cancelled Stage Two & Three (road race and hill climb in Texas Valley) but Cedartown stepped up and arranged a road race within 24 hours. They are great neighbors. Stage Four & Five went off without a hitch. All was right in the race world!
All of this commotion meant that Pippa was forced to stay home, alone with Chaco. He is still rough with her, but they like to play together. Juno is still swiping at her. And I think Juno has done a number on Pippa.
May 2: Pippa’s first visit to the vet! Her left eye is really weepy, it seems Juno got her with her claws, and scratched her cornea. Lee greeted me with a hug, and an “I’m so proud of you.” He took great care with Pippa and pronounced her perfect. She got her second round of shots and a shot of tasty dewormer. All the girls ooh-ed and ahh-ed over her, and agreed that the time was right for me to fill the void Josie had left – but definatley not a replacement for Josie. Lee shared with me a little story: “Just a Dog” and it’s very fitting that I share it with you –
From time to time people tell me, “lighten up, it’s just a dog” or “that’s
a lot of money for just a dog.” They don’t understand the distance traveled,
time spent, or costs involved for “just a dog.” Some of my proudest moments
have come about with “just a dog.” Many hours have passed with my only company
being “just a dog” and not once have I felt slighted. Some of my saddest
moments were brought about by “just a dog.” In those days of darkness, the
gentle touch of “just a dog” provided comfort and purpose to overcome the day.
If you, too, think it’s “just a dog,” you will probably understand phrases
like “just a friend,” “just a sunrise,” or “just a promise.” “Just a dog”
brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled
joy. “Just a dog” brings out the compassion and patience that makes me a better
person. Because of “just a dog” I will rise early, take long walks and look
longingly to the future.
For me and folks like me, it’s not “just a dog.” It’s an embodiment of all
the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure
joy of the moment. “Just a dog” brings out what is good in me and diverts my
thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.
I hope that someday people can understand it’s not “just a dog.” It’s the
thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being “just a man or woman.”
So the next time you hear the phrase “just a dog,” smile, because they
“just don’t understand.”
Life’s too short. Fill your life with the things you love. Animals are at the top of my list. I love my pets more than I like some people. Unconditional love. Some people have too high expectations. My animals love me regardless.