She Was, a Lady

Lady: Border collie: March, 1998 to June 3,2014 She belonged to my son, Danny. She lived to be near him and to ride in the truck. Lady's story begins below Lady: Border collie: March,1998 to June 3,2014 Lady was my son’s dog. She lived to be near him and to ride in the truck. Here she is looking down the lane as Danny drives away. I’ll write Lady’s story, in segments. If you are not a pet person then pass on by. I’m not a writer. I once read that if one is going to write, it should be in one’s own voice. I’m still in the process of re-doing parts of my initial writing effort. When I wrote this in WP I could not get the italics to work in the proper places so I wrote it all in italics. I’ve edited this post countless times. Now, I think, most of the italics are correct or maybe not but this post needs much more work. I’ve done just about as much as I can muster for a non- writer.

Part 1 “She Was, a Lady.”

Early one morning in 1998 or 1999, DP went out to his red “92” 4×4 Chevy truck to retrieve his cell phone. Dressed in casual garb of faded starched jeans, a denim shirt and, Roper boots he had not bothered to grab a jacket or wear a cap.

The cold and damp March morning air was laden with a foggy mist. “Yea, he thought, the weather feels just like my brain.”  It was not yet spring. He was glad that maybe winter was nearing an end. He shivered a bit as he walked to the driver’s side of Ole Red. Standing there he began ruminating on a relationship that had ended.  His mother was right about many things, but he was not one who would ever admit that, “Mama often know best.”

Making matters worse was the prospect of no jobs- no money. This time of year was worrisome. Income tax time was about a month away and people held back on extra spending for their home or property. No calls had come in for bids on any custom ornamental iron jobs for the past two days. March and April were slow months which meant that he had to be extra frugal. He and his ex girlfriend often argued about money. She liked to go out and be a part of the local nightlife. She loved to dance to country music and much to his chagrin, she could “drink him under the table.” They argued about that too. Too much beer and she flirted with the guys in the bars. Too much beer and twice she had become an embarrassment. Those times she was more than three sheets in the wind. Too drunk to drive to her house, he and a buddy drove her home, placed her on the den sofa, locked the door behind them and left her to sober up. He wondered how in the world he had let her into his life. She worked for an insurance company but spent all her money on clothes and her fancy car. He thought that just maybe she was an alcoholic or maybe not. DP was a man who was always giving folks the benefit of the doubt.  But he knew his mother thought differently. “You’re too good-hearted for your own good and in all the wrong places” How many times had he heard those words and how many times had he been warned? “Why, did I not listen to my mother? “ His now ex-girlfriend left him for greener pastures. Those were her words, “Greener pastures!” Somehow the words didn’t seem to hurt.

He felt devoid of any feelings that morning. “Oh, I’m just ticked. But I feel empty and in a bottomless pit. Anyhow, I’m glad and relieved our relationship ended.” Before opening the truck door, he made a cursory survey of his tree-lined three acres and noticed that he had forgotten to close the sliding iron gate. He unlocked the door to his truck, reached for his cell phone, took a few steps back to slam the truck door and, then felt something brush against his jeans. Quickly he looked down. Sitting near one boot was a waif dressed in a long black fur coat, with grayish brown trimming around the collar and down the front of its chest.  Stunned for a few moments, he muttered, “What in the world? A dog?” It was a pitiful thing with sad, dark brown eyes that seemed to plead, “Please don’t make me leave. I’ve come a long way. I’m tired and very hungry.” He continued to stand and stare and think. “I bet that once upon a time it was real pretty. It has long jet black fur. Maybe that dingy collar is really white. Its ears fold over at the tips. It looks a bit scared but not bad. Wonder where it came from? Now what I am going to do with this dog?  I know that I’ve not seen it across the road or in the general area.” Finally with cell phone in his hand, he quickly dialed a number for an answer to his dilemma. “Mama, some stray dog came from out of no where and must have slept under my truck last night. I found it when I went to get my phone. It looks awfully dirty and skinny. Its coat is matted with pieces of sticks and burs. What should I do with it?” Mama did not hesitate to answer and gave her son instructions. “Take off your belt and put it around the dog’s neck. Lead it into your office and throw one of your old sleeping bags on the floor. You know you have a couple in the storage room. No dog in distress is going to hurt your precious old sleeping bags.  Get a couple of eggs, bread and milk and, stir that all together and pour into a hot cast iron skillet that you’ve coated with Crisco. Stir it until the egg mixture looks done. It’ll give the dog quick energy until I can get there with some canned and dry dog food. We’ll need to take it to Dr. what’s his name, for a microchip scan. I’ll bring a stack of the past two months of newspapers that I’ve saved for recycling. We can look in the lost and found ads. It might have an owner. However, it could be a dog dumped miles from your house. It clearly is a lost dog. Funny that it found its way to you.”

Yea, Mama thinks it’s funny. I’m not laughing and I don’t want the responsibility of a dog. I’ve not had a dog in a long time. Andy was my last dog and that was a long time ago.”  If only I’d closed my gate last night….” Within a few minutes, he had put his belt around the skinny neck of the waif, led it inside and placed a dusty sleeping bag on the floor. Without any coaxing, it plopped down on the bag with a soft groaning sound. He watched the dog for a moment as it moved its muzzle back and forth on the bed. He could see the dog was watching him as much as he was watching it. He took a few steps back to get a better look as the little dog’s eyes followed his every move. “I reckon when it’s cleaned up and has gained a few pounds, it’ll be a good-looking dog. It seems really glad it’s out of the damp cold. Dang, I think those eyes are talking to me.  Huh! I don’t even know if it’s a male or female. What am I thinking? I’ll have to find a home for it if there’s no owner.”  

He was unaware that his mother was smiling and thinking, “Lord, thank you for sending the dog. It’s just what my son needs. He sounded angry and I know that he doesn’t want a dog.  This will help get his mind off that break-up even if it’s a brief reprieve. Maybe the dog doesn’t belong to anyone. And, I seriously doubt that it has an owner. That much I know. People dump their pets when they become too much trouble or they just don’t want them anymore. I’m glad it’s a dog and not some ding-a-ling woman like the last one whose elevator did not go all the way to the top and was detrimental to his ego. She secretly referred to her son’s latest ex-girlfriend as the “gold-duster in conversations she had with her husband about their son’s choice of girlfriends. Mama cringed as she had visions of the Gold duster who always seemed to have every finger of both hands, sans her thumbs, adorned with a gold ring. “Gee monyetti! That girl could put some alcohol away. I know she wasn’t good for my son. I don’t think she cared one iota for him. How in the world did that co-dependent relationship survive that long?” As mama drove the 12 miles to her son’s house she thought that it’s a lucky Friday. It was the beginning of her two days off. And, just maybe a new beginning for her son. Today she had the time and energy to help her son or was it the dog she would be helping or, both?

To be continued.

Please do not copy my work and no rebloging.  Property of Yvonne Daniel

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89 thoughts on “She Was, a Lady

  1. I love folks that don’t sugar coat things. I’m of the same mold. If you know me and ask me my opinion, you’d better be sitting down when you get it 😉
    I remember there being a story about a man who only had as many words as his tree held. When all the leaves were gone so were his words. Basically meaning, make what you say, count.
    I’ll have to check out this dog story author Mr. Herriot. 🐶

    • Hmmm that’s a good analogy about words and the tree that lost its leaves. I will remember that. It’s also good to know that you are candid as well. Sometimes it’s a handicap and sometimes it’s just handy. 🙂

      Please do check out James Herriot books. He wrote several and his style is quite unique. I have several of his books. You can order them from Amazon or Abe used books that are pretty cheap. Lots of places to get them but maybe your library has some. I love his books, I hope that you’ll like them as well. Best regards, Yvonne

  2. What a beautiful story! I do believe karma (whatever you believe) brings things to us when we need them. I’m sure you’re son did need her more than he thought. Dogs are amazing companions. They give us things other humans can’t provide sometimes. Unconditional love. That’s a hard thing to find in humans, sadly.
    I’m off to read chapter 2 😊

    • Hello Ilex and just maybe your comment will inspire me to take up where I left off. I keep thinking about Lady’s story and how I want to write but I am immobilized with fear. I’m afraid I can’t get the momentum to keep writing and/or to do the story justice. I am not a writer by any stretch but what the heck,I wrote the first part in my own words and don’t know if I’m writing it in the correct “person.”

      As you say, a dog provides love that is unconditional and that’s a rare quality in humans. Pets are great medicine, be it a dog, cat, rabbit, ferret or horse. It just needs to have hair. 🙂

      • I need someone to kick my butt forward on some things… maybe I’ll be your nudge forward! 😉
        You have a great gift for gab, don’t worry about spelling and grammar.
        Look how many praising comments you recieved! 😚 You can’t leave all us fans hanging.. No pressure 😉

        • Dear Ilex,

          You just might be my best motivator after all. Didn’t know I have a gift for gab. I’m not much of a talker but I’m well aware that I tend to write long comments and replies. I have been ruminating on how to begin Part II. I have Part III almost completed but my daughter told me that I had shifted gears and strayed from the “feel” of the story so I had to rewrite Part III. Anyhow, I’ll try very hard to get started on Lady’s story again. I just hope that it’ll be interesting to read- not great but satisfactory. That’s the best I can hope for.

          Best regards to you, Ilex. You are one talented lady.
          Yvonne D.

        • Awe shucks, ma’am 😉 You’re so sweet!
          The fact your story is a true story is what appeals to me. It doesn’t have to have super hero’s in it (although aren’t all dogs super hero’s? 😉😉) Throw some deep emotion and a dog in a story and I’m sold! I’m simple sometimes.
          I’ll be waiting 😃

        • In real life, my son sometimes tells me that I’m mean and not sweet because I tell it like it is. Of course, he is pretty spoiled. I’ve always been frank and earnest. Have you ever heard some one say, “I’ll be Frank and you be Earnest?” Years ago I worked with a new nurse. As we were talking and discussing something of importance, She said to me, Yvonne, you are so candid.” I didn’t fully grasp her words until a few days later and after much reflecting, I finally realized what she meant. I was very frank and did not beat around the bush, to put this in common parlance.

          Gee, I have strayed and you have too much information. Getting back to the dogs- I’m like you. If there is emotion in a true dog story then I’m sold and I have quite a few books about true dog stories as proof. I suppose my favorite pet author is James Herriot. He was quite a man and wow, he had such a unique writing style that is un-paralleled to this day.

  3. They do say that dogs have a way of finding people that need them the most; lovely story

    • Hi, and thanks for visiting. I appreciate you reading Lady’s story. You mirror my feelings as well about dogs finding folks who either need them or who will help them in their time of need. Lady was attached to my son at the “hip” and he took her everywhere he possibly could. I kept her when she could not go along.


  4. What a wonderful story!

  5. hayley says:

    I really enjoyed this Yvonne and look forward to the next installment! I especially liked the description about the woman whose elevator did not go all the way to the top :). Writing Lady’s story is a lovely way of memorialising her.

  6. I’m glad you wrote this bc I can tell you really enjoyed it. =) What a wonderful, knowing Mama. =)

    • Thanks for taking time to read my efforts, Diana. The piece needs lots of work and I’ve not felt up to correcting.

      • The next person who “apologizes” about her writing to me is a rotten egg. *grin* I agree with the rest: keep writing.


        • Now, Diana. Tsk, tsk! You are so darn sweet. Ok. I give up and I will shut up and try to keep writing.
          One question. I read quite a while ago that using the face icons is considered bad taste or bad writing. But I have defied convention or the rules and I continue to use the “faces.” However, only the happy one. In the last year or more I was given instructions, by some of my followers, how to use the face icon. I was using grin or smile. On “upscale” writer’s blogs, many of them do not use the face icon and some of them do. So is there an un-written rule that I don’t know about?

          Yvonne xxx

        • The only rule, spoken or unspoken, I have followed is the one of instinct. =) I have freely allowed smiles, side frowns, LOLs to go to work for me in these comments and on email – mostly in the keen interest of time. But I do not even know how to put up a heart ha ha ha. To answer more simply, I have yet to use any such shorthand in my posts or anything I publish. And my humble opinion is that emoticons and textspeak diminish the writing (unless it’s in dialogue). =) But others will disagree, I imagine.

        • Thanks, Diana. I had figured a while back (that’s sort of slang- a while back) that “serious” writing does not allow for informality such as the use of icons. But then I have not done any writing except to provide general information. I don’t think that I used any icons in those areas but I might have slipped here and there. Thank you for your expert information> I hold you in high esteem, dear one.

          Oh, and I’ve not been guilty of using a heart. I don’t know how either and have no desire to learn. I think it suits some folks, however.

        • Ha ha ha. I’m just a little curious as to how to make that heart. But nah, not enough to pursue it. =)


        • There you are! No heart. 🙂

          Yvonne x

  7. I love dogs, and I love your son for taking on a poor, disheveled needy dog when that seemed to be the last thing he needed to do. I love your story here, and I definitely already love Lady!

  8. Kate Loveton says:

    I enjoyed reading this! The owner of three long-haired dachshunds, I like reading about dogs. Have you read ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’? If not, I think you’d enjoy it. It is a lovely tale written from a dog’s point of view.

    • Thanks for the follow and for taking the time to read and comment. I have not read “The Art of Racing in the Rain” but, I’ve read some of the reviews and scanned through the book while browsing in the bookstore. I just might get the book.

  9. Kathy says:

    Yvonne, you say you aren’t a writer but it appears you kept many of us mesmerized with this account of Lady. I am looking forward to Part 2. Thank you for continuing to write, no matter what that inner voice tries to say. What appears through the words is such a love for that dog, for life…

    • Kathy, you are eloquent with kind words. Thank you. The fact remains that I. AM. NOT. A. Writer. I am distrubed by the fact that it lacks editing and I could not get the italics to work where I wanted italics to work as the unspken wording (thoughts) so I just decided to write the entire part one in italics. It bugs me a lot that it is not very polished.

      My daughter is proofing it for me and wants us to work together in Goolgle docs. I spent well over 1 & 1/2 hours trying to get Google to let me sign in to my old unused account. I had to create new user names and so many passwords that I lost track. Then it was back and forth over in Yahoo mail creating new passwords. I was shocked that I was not locked out as is the usual case. 🙂 I have not been back to Google today to see if they/it will let me sign in.

      PS: I have continued writing Lady’s story but, right now the part that I finished it not in sequence. 🙂

      I hope there are signs of Spring in the Upper P. and that maybe you have had a reprieve from the severe cold and all that snow.


      I am so computer ignnorant and, maybe if I were smarter I would not have so much trouble.

      • Yvonne on the italics, if you write the code in your text where you want, it will appear automatically. I know, you just want to get the grammar right for now, but still it’s as easy as adding a full stop.

        At the beginning you write without spaces, and at the end of the phrase, paragraph, whatever, you write without spaces. I had to put the spaces in or my words would have come up italicised.

        One tip though, don’t use too much italic, or it will look too busy.

        An alternative to using Google doc is just to write your prose in word, send it to your daughter, and she can make amendments using track changes and you can see what she has done and you can then press to accept. If that doesn’t make sense, send me some or all of the text and I’ll send it back to you with suggested amendments and notes why.

        • Right, the instructions didn’t work, well, the did because they went into italics. Let me try it a different way. Before a phrase you want to italicise, you need to write :

          When you want to close the italics, you write

          Let’s see if that’s clearer.

        • Ms. Gib, your instructions are about clear as muddy water for my old brain but I’m going to see if (first) works by experimenting on a draft.

          I got the italics to work finally- see my other note to you. Italics work for me this way in WP. (a) Highlight the word or sentence. (b) Click italic icon. The highlighted word or sentence/s then become italicized.

        • Yup, that works within WP. But if you draft your post outside you can add the coding anyway. And you don’t have to highlight, you can click the icon before the text, and then t the end. Whatever suits though.

        • Thanks for the info. I appreciate all your time and effort.

        • Just delete the second instruction as that didn’t work either 😀

        • Got it, I mean I understand that it does not work for me that way.

        • I so appreciate all your efforts to help me. I might call on you for more advice. It does need a lot of tuning but I somehow managed to get it posted. I have not tried to write for few of embarrassment but, oh well…. I’ll begin working on it, I hope tonight. Thank you for your interest and kindness.

        • I haven’t tried your instructions but I got the italics to work on another excerpt that I have not posted. I’m not writing in sequence and so that one will have to wait to be put on the blog. I fiddled with the italics till I was exhausted. It had always worked before if I wanted italics. And then I decided that it must be my mouse. I had dropped it more than a few times. So, I went to Office Depot yesterday, Sunday, and got a new mouse. I prefer a mouse for I used one all those years on my job at the VA. Anyway, I began again to see, what I could see 🙂 I moved my latest proof with Lisa’s critique from Yahoo mail. I used that instead of Google Doc. Google doc is too complicated for me. I did the corrections in Yahoo mail from the excerpt that I had sent to myself and then finally to WP. I was cooking with gas after discovering that one of the problems was that I was not in correct format. I was in VISUAL and not TEXT. How stupid can one person be? I had not paid attention to that at all. And, I’m one for detail or at least I think that I am.:-) So with the new mouse and typing in TEXT, I was able to use ITALICS in the unspoken dialogue. I have not worked on the fist post but hope to find time tonight to rewrite parts of it and put the unspoken dialogue in italics.

  10. chatou11 says:

    Hi Yvonne, you said you are not a writer, but it is so pleasant to read you. Longing for next story. Lady has really a good face. One my dogs that I lost two years ago, was named Lady.

    • Chatou, thank you. I’m working slowly on next phase of Lady’s story. I suppose that Lady is an all-time favorite name. It seems to be a fitting name for some dogs. I imagine your dog was a real sweetheart. It seems that you really like dogs since you have mentioned some of your pets in comments here and you also posted a beautiful photo of the little white dog that is now gone to doggie heaven.

      Fond regards,

  11. Beautifully begun, Yvonne. And, I agree with Gerard, the way you write communicates so authentically and is extremely engaging. Loved how you ended this part, who would she be helping? Great way to leave the first part with the reader wanting to know.

    • Paulette, your comment is most kind. Thank you. I feel honored since you are an excellent writer with rave reviews.

      Now I just have to hope that I can begin again in the same way to make it as interesting as possible. I’m not as inspired as I was at the beginning. I was sort of on a roll and wanted to write more but, I was tired and it was past midnight. My daughter has looked at it and said there were grammar and tense errors. I asked her to proof it for me. I don’t know how soon that will be or if she’ll follow through. The story was one I wanted to tell with no particular aim other than to post it on my blog. She thinks the story has some potential. But, I’m afraid that little story might have been a “one trick pony.” 🙂

      I looked at Amazon for books and there is one by McGraw-Hills, I think? I should probably get that one, but there are others as well that Steve Gingold suggested. Not sure which to get so I’ll have to research further.

      • Writing is a process, a combination of flow, heart, frustration, self-critiquing (which is never accurate) and then who knows what. We who write do it for the love of the process. Don’t get bogged down in the editing, even the best of the best have typos, myself included (and my editor was 13 years with Simon & Schuster). Just do your thing and know that everyone of us out here reading your words, enjoying and loving your words, is not perfect in anything that they do. My humble opinion for what it’s worth.

        • Again, thank you. I appreciate what you have written and will, in a bit, begin again. I’ve read and re-read what I’ve written so far and a few minutes ago made some very minor changes. I can see places that need changing but, I’m not sure of what to do with those parts. I actually like building a story, but it is painful when I am not sure of grammar. I think I’ll make a trip to Barnes and Noble and see if there are some writing aids. Thank you again, Paulette. You are a dear.

        • The Chicago Manual of Style is the best reference for editing out there. If you want to get a good reference check it out, peruse it, in the book store and see if this is what you have in mind. Looking forward to more from you, my friend. Love, Paulette

        • Paulette, I looked at the book over on Amazon. I think it is way over and beyond what I need. I don’t think my writing has book potential. Maybe a group of short pet stories just for my blog. There are thousands of pet story books. My story is piddly stuff compared to the pet books that I love and buy. I just want the writing to look more professional with few and/or blatant mistakes.

          I’ve been writing in long hand in rough draft for dialogue and events and character descriptions. Dialogue is hard and I need to learn the punctuation for that.

          I just want you to know that I very much appreciate the interest that you have shown me, suggestions and, time. Love ya too, Yvonne

        • I understand. Wasn’t quite sure but now I hear you. Still, I’m looking forward to more from you. xox

        • You betcha. I’m working on or at it. 🙂 x

  12. codemanbc says:

    Saving a dog (especially a Border collie) is ALWAYS going to be a great story. Thank you VERY much for sharing this part of your life! -Tom and Magic

    • Hi Tom and Magic. Thank you for reading and visiting. I appreciate that you took the time to have a look. Hopefully, I can get myself in gear in the near future to begin again on Lady’s story. I’m glad that you agree that Border Collies make a good story. Well any cat or dog really but the Border collie is my favorite dog and right now neither my son or I have a BC. I do have a mix, Sally, who I rescued from the streets. She is Great Pyrenees and BC. About 70 plus pounds now. She’s a pretty good watch dog and learns really fast but is very head strong. She just does not have the brains of a BC nor the grace.

      I really like the header on your blog. That is ONE excellent picture of all those Border Collies.

      • Oh Yvonne I have a friend who had a BC/Pyrenean. He was such a beautiful gentle giant. Have you posted a pic of Sally somewhere?

        • No, I haven’t posted Sally’s pic yet but, I’ll a do a post of her just for you. She is big. Huge paws, tall, short hair that is very thick. She learns very fast and I’ve taught her a few things. Will obey commands of sit but I have yet to master getting a dog to stay. 🙂 She has learned down, crawl, tries to roll over but, she is so big that she seldom makes a complete roll over. She will back up and stand up with paws on a wall. But those are things that she does before I feed her. She is very head strong but has learned that when I whistle it is time to go inside her yard where her really big dog house is located. It’s a house on a concrete slab that my dad made for me back the 70’s. Tall with lots of room. I keep it well padded in the winter with costal Bermuda hay. Sally must be an out side dog for I don’t have room for 3 huge dogs in the house. She is good as an outside dog and only barks when she needs to bark. I like that.

        • I must post you a link to Vicky’s beautiful Jasp. See if they are similar.

        • I thought that I was still following Pippa’s blog but, there hasn’t been one single notice. I see that you changed your theme. I was sort of lost but, then I’m lost all the time anyway. 🙂 Yes, do send me a link. I’d like to see her new dog.

          Oh, and Snowy is so handsome and all grown up. Pippa and he get along very well. I’m glad that Pippa is still doing good.

        • Here’s the link to Vicky’s. Jasp died a couple of years ago 😦

          I’ve not posted on Pippa’s for ages, although I do have some draft posts but they are on the laptop and the keyboard is playing up.

          Yes, in eighteen months Snowy has grown up very much 🙂 and Pippa is his usual lovely laid-back self.

        • Oh, so sad that Jasp is now gone. But, where is the link? It is not in your comment. Well, you need to do some posts about Snowy and Pippa. I enjoyed reading about Pippa and also the little bits that you wrote in some of your posts about Snowy.

        • Sorry.

          Vicky has a beautiful new dog (BC) but he’s been abused and injured so has behavioural problems.

        • Yes, he looked similar to Pippa dog. I looked for pics of the BC but could not find any. It is a challenge to rehab a dog but it will be so rewarding. I know the dog is so lucky and feels her love even though he has behavioral issues. It’ll take lots of patience and time from her. A huge job.

  13. Sybil N says:

    Was she already an adult dog and then went on to have a further 16 years with your son ? Wow. He must have taken the best care of her. You and I are alike. I just can’t say “no” to another dog. It’s a blessing and a curse …;-)

    • Sybil, I asked my son repeatedly when Lady first arrived. Initially, I put the date as 2002 and then 2 days ago he said that it was 1998 or 1999 when he first got her. I remember the vet saying that she was about one-year-old then, so yes she lived a long life. She had good vet care and we did not put flea prevention on her. The flea meds made her shake as if she were having a seizure so after the first couple of times she did not get anymore. She did not tolerate some heartworm meds and I forget what she got some of the time. She had that long hair and was not an outside dog so her chances of getting heartworms were very low.

      Every now and then a Border collie will live a really long life. He also fed her lots of human food so I guess she was not poisoned with preservatives and all that other crap that dog food is made of. I had her for about the last 2 years of her life and I really catered to her. But I fed her a low protein diet by either Royal Canin or Hill’s Science Diet. Sometimes I bought baked chicken and Subway sandwiches. She loved that kind of food.

      You’re right about not refusing a dog or a cat that shows up. And you’re correct that it really is a curse and I’ve often wished that I did not have such a soft heart.

  14. Well….don’t expect a serious critique from me, Yvonne. It is not because I am worried about hurting your feelings (although I would be loathe to do so), but that I am not very well qualified to give advice on creative writing.
    That said, I did enjoy reading the story and am interested to hear more about how the relationship between DP and his new dog develops.
    If you are motivated to be creative, then classes would be a help. There are also style manuals that could aid with the grammar…I have a few from taking writing courses many years ago. In my case they did not help. 🙂 The same advice that photographers get about shooting more to improve goes for writing too. Keep on writing and don’t expect a masterpiece on the first try.
    As far as a “disaster from hell”, this isn’t even close. First of all, you did not start with “It was a dark and stormy night”. 🙂 A person I work with has a son who wrote a self-published book about vampires. Original, huh? The writing was like a Dick and Jane reader. But he did it and felt good about his accomplishment
    Even if you don’t get much constructive criticism here, keep at it. It is hard work to write. But if you enjoy writing then the work, although a pain, is worth the effort. And we get to read the stories.

    • Steve, thank you for commenting and for some of the tips. Hurt my feelings. No! I asked for input but got very little. I think you are right about the more one practices, then hopefully in time one will improve. I’ve always wanted to write but could not get up the nerve. At work, all the nurses complimented me on my progress notes because they were detailed and contained lots of information. They said that, “you write so good.” But, of course, a progress note is hardly writing.

      I still think that you should be writing. You could put a story with some of your favorite photos and I think that would sell. From getting up and assembling gear to finding subject matter that is sprinkled with your puns and humor, Why not give it a try just to see what you come up with? You have so much of the natural beauty of your area photographed. If your pics are not selling as you had hoped then put a different spin that includes your photographic efforts.

      Where do you get style manuals? Barnes and Noble, Amazon?

      • Yes, you can get them from Amazon. Elements of Style ,
        On writing Well and the Chicago Manual of Style were all considered classics when I was in college…45 years ago. There may be better choices at this later date. 🙂
        Of course, there is online instruction. Some folks like Writer’s Digest training. I tried it but was not successful as I didn’t have the motivation back then.
        If you have a local library, I would guess that all this and much more is available to you. Is there a local college with continuing education courses for adults? Usually they can be either for college credit or non-credit which are less expensive and not quite as demanding.

  15. Littlesundog says:

    How funny… even though I am strictly a non-fiction reader I enjoyed this snippet of story. I particularly liked the part about the “Goldduster” ex-girlfriend and her alcoholic tendencies. Your description of characters connected me with people from my own life’s history… it felt real. It depicts the rural, kicked-back life of any Midwesterner (well except the drawl maybe!), moving slowly and deliberately. The characters in the book are much like some of the characters in our lives – we can relate to that. It is a connection that takes us into the story. I liked it… and I’m ready to read more!

    My blog posts are edited by my husband. I write the story, he makes it smooth and grammatically correct. You and I are storytellers.. let someone else edit it if you are writing a book. I’ve taken creative writing classes and I still have no desire to do the “perfecting” on a written piece.

    • Lori, thank for your input. I value whatever you have to say because I really do like the way you write. With that in mind, I’m not sure if you are/were aware but the tale of a tail is based on my son, his dog and Mama is, yours truly. I have embellished the story some for it would be too dull if I wrote it in a completely factual manner. But about 98% actually happened. I just did not know what all was going through my son’s mind except he told me a lot of what had happened and what he was thinking. I had to fill in the blanks. It was quite a few years back, but Lady lived until June of 2014. She was a mature dog when she happened upon his place.

      You are so fortunate to have your husband edit for you. I hope that you’re still at work on your book. I know it’ll be a really good one when it’s published.

  16. shoreacres says:

    I came home for lunch, got an apple and a glass of water to start me off, sat down to read, and finished the whole thing in one gulp (your story, not the apple or water). It’s wonderful, Yvonne — engaging and interesting.

    One thing I have little patience for is reading bad writing, and I didn’t have any trouble at all reading this. I didn’t “stumble over” anything. There are some places where I could make suggestions, but they’re minor. For example, you write, “Somehow the words did not seem to hurt.” I would suggest changing that to “Somehow the words didn’t seem to hurt,” just because most of us don’t think or speak so formally as “did not.” When kids fight, they’ll say, “Did not!” “Did, too!” but that’s a special case.

    I can’t wait to read the next part!

    • Oh my goodness, Linda. You are too nice. My wish is that I could write with a velvet touch just the way that you do. I so admire your work and I’m one of many who feel the same as I. The “did not” has been changed to didn’t. Thank you. I should have caught that but “didn’t. I know that if one begins in a formal manner then that is the way one continues to write. But the story is not one of formality. It’s plain ole country. 🙂 Switching back and forth is not proper. I need to go back to see if there are other things that stick out but, again I’ve had no formal training or college level English so I just try to remember what I learned in high school or from what I’ve read.

      Now I need the motivation to begin again and I’ll need to think back what happened those first few weeks.


  17. Linda Royal says:

    Love that story…especially since I know she spent many happy hours with Danny. Nothing like a dog to cheer a man up. Did you ever have your ablation? I hope so. I am sick of this cold dreary weather. Ready to open the windows and let some fresh air in. Love ya Date: Wed, 4 Mar 2015 05:17:36 +0000 To:

    • Linda, it is so nice to get your comment. Thank you and you’re so right that Lady went just about everywhere with Danny. They were a team and he loved his dog. She was attached to his hip, I think.

      I have not had the ablation for I’ve experienced just one episode of afib since the pacemaker which acts as mini EKG recorder and the strips are printed out for analysis. My MD said the afib med would play out eventually so today I did not take any to see what would happen. I’m hoping that I can escape the ablation but maybe not. I’ll know if it comes back for I can feel it in my chest. I have not seen the cardio doc in months, but I plan to call to speak with his nurse for some thoughts. My next appt. is not until June, I think.

      Can you possibly let me know when you see the first milkweed emerging? Are you still working on the family trees?

      Love you too,

  18. OK! Where do I begin….First of all I can’t wait for Chapter Two but I want to know more about DP. And what are iron jobs? Writing style, I’m not sure, but I’m no writer either. What I did like is that I could follow it and it made sense. Is there anything I didn’t like? Not that I can think of.

    • Gee Mike, I didn’t think I’d get a comment from you. I thought this tale was a complete dud but if you guys are being HONEST then maybe it was a fair beginning. I plan on beginning the next phase maybe tonight. I hope.

      Now the iron jobs are just that. Ornamental iron fences, railing, gates, porch columns, welding and lettering cut out of steel. Each job is bid on, measured, and if sold then the job is fabricated in our shop. We have 4-5 welding machines which include portable welders on small trailers with essential tools. My husband started his business about 1959 or so. Our son studied machinery and welding and worked for a defense company that made rockets for the US Navy. He worked there for 10 years and then the company sold out and the new one moved to West Virginia. Most of the employees did not move and sought other work. My son began his own business but also worked with his dad out of the shop in our backyard. The business was “grandfathered in” by the city because in the 60’s there were only 3 other houses on our street. It was a gravel road and we had a rural route address and not a street address. So Grandfathered in meant that my husband could keep his ornamental iron shop as we were gradually surrounded by huge homes on two sides and an apartment complex on another side and Jewish synagogue at the back. The property abuts on 6 other properties. Sounds unbelievable but true.This property is one acre but is deeper than it is wide. The property can not be seen from the street, I drive down a lane to enter the property.

      • I was being honest, I really enjoyed it and thanks for letting me know what iron jobs are.

        • Again, thank you, Mike. I am so glad the story went over OK. And I’m glad that you know about ornamental iron now. Somehow, I need to kick start writing again. Today it is very overcast and cold. There was a light but steady rain all night. Extremely dreary weather. It seems that winter has not lost its grip even in central Texas.

          You and your wife and Grumpy stay safe amid the renovations in your home.

  19. Midwestern Plant Girl says:

    I love the first installment!
    As the others wrote, keep writing. Spelling, grammar and speaking tense can be edited. These can also be learned fairly easily. What CAN’T be learned, (which you display you already know) is to keep an audience entertained! I love the Texas drawl, more interesting to a non-Texan, like myself.
    I love online classes. Check out , I’ve found classes at $60 for many things, writing included.

  20. Andrew says:

    This is really good Yvonne. I mean it. It flows so well and leaves us hooked and waiting for chapter 2. Take your time. We’ll be waiting.

    • Thank you, Andrew. Your thoughts mean a great deal to me. I’m envious of how well you write with little effort and it almost always humorous. I admire how you write and I look forward to your adventures. They’ve become more interesting since you and Shirley moved to GB.

      • Andrew says:

        I simply write as I hear it in my head, Yvonne. It’s like taking dictation. I really enjoyed your post.

        • You simply have a knack for writing, Andrew, and a dare say that you most likely have a genius IQ. You know so much about so many topics. I’ve not dictated anything in my life other than accusing some people in my life to be a dictator. 🙂 I was more or less writing as I think but had to embellish in some places to “jazz” it up a bit or it was going to be too dull. I had the foundations from my son and our interactions when Lady first arrived at his house and now I’m no longer on a “roll” and have to kick start myself again.

          I feel that I have received the ultimate in compliments if you really enjoyed the post. Thank you, so much.

  21. It’s a nightmare asking for honest feedback. People are always reluctant to say anything less than wonderful. But I’ve found if one commenter says, ‘well maybe it could be improved if …’ then all the others come out of the woodwork. I commented on a cover recently, it was a charity book for guide dogs for the blind, and the title obscured the dogs face!

    Of course it doesn’t help that you have a very warm persona so no one will want to upset you. Including me!

    I’ve read your reply to Lottie, I think it would be good to continue in this style, if it’s not too much of a pain, and see how it pans out. I’d be interested to read the rest of it, and then, give you more of a critique at the end, if that’s of any help.

    Hope you and your animals and your daughter are all keeping as well. Or as well as can be.

    Regards to you.

    • K. here I am with no real constructive critique from anyone. You see I don’t want to keep writing a disaster from hell. And no one is willing to say peep for fear of hurting my feelings. The tense and unspoken conversations are the hard part. I know it’s filled with mistakes. I’ll probably write the nitty gritty, cut and dried way to end this dog tale.

      Thanks so much for dropping by. It’s good to hear from you. Thanks for the kind wishes. I am doing some better and did not go through with the ablation, at least for now. My pacemaker check was very good and I’d only had one recording of afib and that was back in August after the pacemaker implant. As you probably know with your health care background, the pacemaker is a mini recorder and does a running EKG of the heart. I just have little energy because of the meds. I will see my MD or call to find out if he thinks I still need an ablation. I am really fearful of the procedure and very afraid of death or severe complication. Yes, I am a chicken.

  22. Lottie Nevin says:

    I’m in 100% agreement with Gerard. Your story is engaging and very read-able. Please post Chapter Two off soon! I love your use of language and I can hear the Texan drawl all the way from Andalucia. I can just imagine what Goldduster was like, I’ve met a few birds like her before and the dog….please don’t keep us hanging on for long xxxxx

    • Ha-ha. I can feel your kindness from an 8 plus hour time zone away in Andalucia. I know that none of my cyber buddies and especially you are not going to say one bad word. I really don’t feel much comfort writing in that form. It sounds too simple but then that’s what happens when a simpleton tries to write. I really wish I had the motivation to take some courses, but I don’t know if I can make that happen or if I’d have the energy to take an evening class.

      Yes, Goldduster was a character alright. She was a Lulu and I could not stand her uppity behind. 🙂

      Lottie, I don’t know when or if I’ll finish the story in that manner of writing. It will probably be more compressed and written entirely in my voice. I’ll just have to see. I made so many revisions on that post it became downright boring. I wrote and rewrote about 30 times. I cut and pasted quite a few times to make the story flow better. Lottie, it was four evenings of effort. I felt tortured. 🙂 XXXX

      • Lottie Nevin says:

        There’s nothing bad to say! I swear you done good, girl so be proud of your achievement and get cracking with the next story. Writing can be hard work so I understand you having to work through the pain barrier to get this written. However, I speak from experience here, the more you do it, the easier it becomes and the words seem to find a way out as if by magic. You’ll know when you are on a roll when you start to dream about your story, think about it all the time and start jotting down notes or phrases or indeed anything that is relevant to what you might want to use in your story. I swear by my thesaurus , it’s a life saver when i need to ‘up the vocabulary’ and is great for spelling! Another trick is to read whatever you’ve written out loud to yourself as if you are telling the story to someone. I find it really helps me gauge the flow and pace, especially where there is dialogue and backwards and forwards banter. Write as if you are recounting something that happened to you, to someone else. And finally, the Irish have a great saying ‘Never let the truth get in the way of a good story’ in other words don’t be frightened to add your own colourful touches! Good Luck and lots of love xxxxx

        • Well, you are full of kindness my friend and I thank you for the tips. I actually ruminated on this story for several weeks, but I did not write anything down. I was not even sure how I was going to write the few opening sentences. I don’t have a thesaurus, but I’ve used Google at times. But not for this story. I will get one soon so that I don’t need to go back and forth to make sure I’ve used a word correctly. Actually, I remembered your tip from a long time ago when I commented on one of your posts. I know that most stories need to be embellished or otherwise the tale is simply too dull. I like the Irish saying very much. I know that you are busier than 14 beavers building a dam but aren’t you past due for a post? You are my favorite writer and make me laugh. I wish I could write (funny, ha-ha). XXXX

  23. A very good and well told story Yvonne. Don’t you worry about style or anything, just keep writing the way you are. It comes through as honest and from the heart. Just keep going!

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