In this, the beginning of my second book, the Raw Truth: Campbell’s Rambles Book Two, we open on an early Tuesday morning just before the winter Solstice of 2014. Quite literally as this book is being written, I am in the early release stages of my first book, Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life.
I am dealing with many memory ghosts on this day being written of, and learning lots about myself. Some of which I did not even begin to grasp the importance of, and have literally just now begun to do so. Here in the mid-summer point just after the summer Solstice of 2016.
I am undergoing many changes, and in fact as I write the intro for this posting, I am in the very library that I was somehow avoiding during this writing. It is with great joy I release this writing, and hope that you enjoy it as well.
Once you’ve read it, if you are so moved, and would like to assist me in the publishing of this second book, you may donate directly to me and my efforts by sending the amount of your choice, to me via PayPal by using email address: email@example.com
I will use these donations to pay my first editor for the publishing of Campbell’s Rambles, and also to further the publication of the work that will lead to the publishing of The Raw Truth. Thanks, and please? Make sure to let us know what you think of all we do.
Solstice and the Slow Awakening
“I know that I’m alive, because I can look behind me, and see the wreckage of my life”
As I sat having my first cup of coffee I as usual heard the sounds of the city coming to life. For me, it was like listening to a large family coming slowly alive after a long deep slumber.
If you listened very carefully early in the morning you’d always hear the distant sounds of the factory not far away. The sound of the train whistle seemed ever-present, always announcing the coming and going of trains. Although they were only freight, I would sometimes, when the weather was warm, sit on the porch swing with my early morning coffee and smoke and imagine where the trains were going and sometimes, I wished I were on them. Riding along just going where ever the rails took me.
As I finished my first cup of coffee the traffic began to pick up along the street in front of the house. A stream of constant cars, trucks, and buses going to and fro, taking people to work, school, or anywhere else they might need or want to go, passed by. As I began to meditate, even having to have doors and windows shut against the cold, did not take away the effect of the sound of it for me. Nor the energy I felt from it.
It was, to me at times, as powerful as the pull of the moon or earth on a quiet full moon summer’s eve. Feeling the pull of a street or having a building’s presence touch me in some way to assist me through my day, is no different to me than someone using the stars to chart their way in a deep forest or on the open sea. Now that we have computerized devices for some of this, some seem to have lost their natural ability to do such, I am glad to see I am not yet one of them and hope I won’t ever be so reliant on technology that I cannot get along without it.
As I planned my day ahead I felt a thrill of excitement run through me. I was finally going to take a real chance and put my book in the public library. I was frightened of this and for what good reason, I couldn’t lay a finger on. Maybe it was because I felt I was allowing it out the door without a paid ticket. Giving it a hall pass if you will. I felt as though, maybe someone would take it home and never return it, or somehow my work would be stolen or lost. Unreasonable I know. It should be every author’s dream to have their book in every library in the nation in the whole world! Thus making it available for anyone wishing to do so, to read! For Goddess sake! But here I was once again wrestling with this and actually trying to tamp down the desire to cancel the entire trip. I wouldn’t though. Not on my own. Not this time. Would I?
I continued to try to relax. I wanted to meditate and really concentrate on the power of prosperity and positivity for the day, but as those thoughts ran round in my head, the clothes dryer beeped and a horn outside honked at the same moment. I jumped! The spell in which I’d lived for a moment was broken.
I stood and stretched. Trying to decide how to dress. It was pouring rain out. I was frustrated by this.
“Rain again!” I said scornfully, but had to laugh as well. “Seems to me, King Campbell and I have been facing every new challenge and fear in the rain from day one. Why did I think today would be any different?” As the words I spoke drifted away the chimes on the porch chimed a rain and wind filled song as if in agreement.
I walked past the big lab, curled up snoring on the couch, and gave him a gentle pat as I passed. Celine Kitty lay just a few feet away on the coffee table, and she purred up at me when I petted her while walking by. Then, just as I turned the corner to go down the hall to the dryer, Kitty Bob was found to be lying on the arm of the loveseat waiting for a pet as I passed him. He raised his big head and gave a squeak. I was lucky to say the least. We were coming in to the second winter without Donnie, once again very much on our own.
Campbell, Celine Kitty, and Kitty Bob were my Crew now, we four comprised the Campbell Kingdom and happy were we, most of the time. We had moved from the upstairs apartment – Campbell, Celine Kitty and I had called home for the first year or so our lives together, and there were many days when I regretted it. Through good times and bad we’d endured a lot and then we’d come through yet another rite of passage when Campbell and I had gone to Florida and discovered yet another bond neither of us had known existed. When Rocky had left us I’d begun the second part of my journey with Campbell and one I believe, some thought well overdue. If I’d been allowed to speak to Drew on this day, I believed he would say to me, that I had finally awakened and become aware., …?
Now, as I began sorting the clothes out of the dryer. I smiled. Today I wanted to get a copy of my book on the shelf, get a real library card, and actually use their services for myself.
As I worked Campbell, who had unknown to me had woken and left his bed on the couch, slipped past. I noticed him briefly then, still lost in the confusion of happiness and fear at the thought of my book being in a public library. I thought no more of it. Then, Bang! The gate at the kitchen door just a few feet away slammed to the ground, the bell attached ringing harshly. Campbell stomped over it as if it weren’t there, and headed for the trash. I stopped what I was doing, and went to the front door. I reached up to the hook on the wall beside the door and quietly took down his leash, and turning noiselessly went back down the hall. Just as Campbell was trying to exit the kitchen door, I reached out and saying nothing snapped the leash to his collar. Since I wanted him to respect the boundary I’d set by putting the gate at the door, I pulled him round and faced him toward it, as I deliberately stood the gate back in place in front of him. I slammed the gate against the door frame leading in to the kitchen, and gave Campbell a very firm leash correction with a firm “Pfui!” snapping the leash as I did so.
I was tired of this behavior! I had resolved to put an end to it. I’d almost broken him of going in to the bathroom, and saw no reason the kitchen intrusions couldn’t be stopped as well, or at the very least reduced. Then I turned him physically round with my leg and arm. Since I had both hands occupied holding the leash, thus keeping him completely under my control. I herded him toward his crate with a gentle slap to his rump and a firm, “To your crate!” Then, I let him go. He went with no hesitation.
Some of you reading may believe that type of correction was too harsh, but Campbell was and is indeed like me. He knows when he is in trouble, and like me, if not allowed to get too far out of hand, can be brought back in line easily enough. Most of the time the best way to handle a problem like this is to simply confront it head on and put an end to it from the very beginning. In fact, I find most problems within my own personal life are best solved in this manner, and more times than not, find myself wishing others knew this as well.
I knew that by the time he took a short nap in his crate, and I showered and dressed, we’d be more than ready to see one another, and glad to work happily with no problems. That was and is simply the way of it, for our team. Our ability to keep learning these things, learning and re-enforcing boundaries, and reminding each other when we step out of them was and is a huge part of our continued success.
I’ve learned to listen to Campbell, and he to me. The communication we’ve established with one another, has over the years, become extremely important, and continues to serve us well each day we’re together. It amazes me as I go through this new life with Campbell how many of my everyday problems resolve themselves if I take the same approach with them as I do with him.
I’d not however, learned this part of handling quite in this way until I’d truly found myself on my own, and totally dependent on Campbell as the only dog in the world in which I lived. I knelt in front of the door to his crate, reached in and smoothed the fur on his head and neck.
“Now, mommy loves you. Naughty dog’s gone, and my sweet Campbell Bug is back. No more trash surfing. Did you notice the lid, and how that stopped you when you heard mommy? Now, not worth it in their huh?” I kissed him and he gave me his best slimes in return. I stood. Shutting the door and latching it as I said, “My good boy, take a nap and we’ll see what we do next.” I never want the crate associated with bad, so the correction comes then the quiet loving time out.
When I turned to walk away, I had a flash of a memory from training.
I was standing in front of an ATM with Campbell at my side harness in my hand. In the other I was holding the Clicker, and clipped to me was a small treat bag. Drew was standing to my right and we were practicing having Campbell target the ATM. I kept accidentally reaching for the treat bag too early. Drew’s patience finally must’ve worn thin after having repeatedly having told me not to do that, because as I once again started for the treat bag before Campbell targeted, he reached out with his hand and firmly tapped the back of my offending hand with each word, saying, gruffly, “No! Don’t! Do! That!”
I suddenly had felt two inches high and maybe not that many years old. The feeling had passed as quickly as it had come, as well as Drew’s Gruffness, but even though he’d followed his reprimand with praise when I followed his instructions correctly, the desired effect of that lesson hadn’t been lost on me after all. It had been the last time I’d reached for that damn treat bag early. I sighed to myself as the memory faded.
For just a moment I had literally been transported back in time. I could hear the click of the clicker, feel the wind whipping round me, and even could feel the tap of Drew’s fingers on the back of my hand, I could even remember how his having done that had made me feel. I heard his voice just as it had been that day, low and gruff in my ear. I shivered at the reality of it. Then, just as it had come it was gone. For just a moment I was gripped with a longing I couldn’t quite put a name to, and then that too was gone.
“If only I could break Campbell of his Bathroom, and Kitchen surfing so easily.” I said to myself.
As I gathered my clothes, and made my way again toward the shower. I heard the distant pattering of the rain and whine of the wind as the chimes once again seemed to ring in agreement with my thoughts. at that moment in time
I felt good about how far I’d really come in my life. Seemed to me, once I’d gotten truly on with the business of living my own life with Campbell I was doing a fairly decent job. I hoped others were starting to see a bit of difference in me. I hoped what I’d learned about certain persons and their quiet observations, was still holding true to this day, and when they’re not saying anything, it still means they think I’m doing a good job. Maybe that’s the longing I can’t quite put a name to. The longing to know for sure. Until then…? Hope, it seemed was all I had. It would for now simply have to be enough.
As I slipped in to the warmth of the shower I remembered the end of last week, the Friday that almost wasn’t, until I remembered there had been Prosperity in the Face of the Winter Solstice.
For me, the Solstice used to mean nothing more than a sad, dark time. Since then, I have learned that I was wrong, and in fact, once the Solstice comes and goes, the days begin to lengthen, and each day which passes, brings us closer to spring and a time of much renewal and prosperity. I always try to think each sunrise is leading me toward yet another day of growth and rejuvenation. This may seem strange to some, I’m sure, but as you read onward, you’ll see the reason for my mentioning this at all. Whether you are a believer in any god or goddess or in none at all matters not, because nature in its own right will show this to be true:
The passing of the Winter Solstice leads us toward spring.
As the warmth from the water pulsing through the shower head on to my aching shoulder began to do its magik there, I began to relax in to the memory of just a few days back. A smile played at the corners of my mouth as I began to rub myself with the Rose oil from the bottle on the shelf to my right and soon I was chanting softly.
“Rain and wind, give to me the power to receive and send.”
I believed, as did many during the days of the Egyptian Pharaoh, that thoughts thought, and words spoken or written are sacred and hold power themselves which can bring them right in to being. I also believed very strongly in the power and strength of the elements around me. My memory took hold, and I began to relive the last few happy days. I believed then and believe to this day that it was the time spent experiencing this memory, helped to shape the next few hours of my life. Maybe even more. By the end of the day, although still unknown to me, one thing was sure. I would see the fruits of my labor.
Friday Morning found the temps were chilly, but were forecasted to warm into the low 50s later in the day with lots of sun. Campbell and I are and were in the middle of a fundraising campaign and we were having a blast doing it. We’re organizing a Pancake Breakfast and Book Sale Fundraiser for the organizations we represent: CONTACT-CONCERN of Northeast Tennessee, Inc., for which we work, and for The Seeing Eye, Inc., which is the guide dog school Campbell comes from.
I’d awakened Friday morning, feeling excited and well rested. I’d had a plan of action for the last day of the work week and wanted to get going on it ASAP. It was not to be. First off, even though I felt I had readied everything for the morning, I somehow kept finding I’d forgotten to lay out many small items, and I had to keep stopping to search for them one at a time. Once I was finally ready, I realized I’d missed my 8:30 bus and so was going to be an hour late. I called in and settled down to read a chapter or two of a book I was trying to finish and waited for the hour to pass, until I could catch the next bus. I began to get totally involved in the story. Soon the hour had passed, and I was once again rushing to get out the door.
Campbell and I did make it to the bus stop on time. Although we were cutting it really close, it was also cool, because Campbell got to show his stuff while executing a neat, quick right turn to lead us straight to the corner and the steps of the bus as it pulled up to the stop. When we were settled, the driver, whom I’ve known for years and who is a good friend of mine, complimented us on a job “very well done.”
Once I finally made it to work, things got off to a slow start, and I seemed to run into obstacles everywhere I went. Soon, I was disturbed to realize that three hours had passed, yet I’d accomplished very little. I seemed to be having communication troubles with a few people, both in and out of the office, so I finally decided to call it an early day. As I boarded the bus to go home, I was feeling rather low and very frustrated with work, and I had almost given up on the entire day.
When we arrived at the bus station, where passengers transfer from one bus to another if need be, I had an idea. Sometime back, one of the staff members at the station had expressed an interest in my newly released book. That’s my first book Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life. I had just received a few copies of it in the mail, copies to sell at our upcoming fundraiser. So I dialed into the station and talked with the staff member. I told her I had copies of my book with me for sale and asked if she’d like a copy. She came right out and bought a copy, and on top of that, she asked me to sign it. This caught me unprepared, and I made a firm mental note to find and practice using my signature guide immediately.
I tried to do the best I could at the moment. With what I am sure was very messy print, I signed “Patty and Campbell.” Whether the result was messy or no, she was delighted. Then she said happily, “You know this is going to cost you, right?”
I laughed, already knowing the answer, and asked, “What is your price?”
She answered with a smile in her voice, “A pet!”
I immediately said OK, as Campbell had not so much as moved up until I released him from rest. Even then, he did not stand, but only belly crept forward enough to have his head rubbed and his ears scratched. He was so beautifully behaved, only lying there, wagging happily as she loved on him, that a couple of people remarked about it later.
A moment later, Charley, another driver who has also turned into a great friend, came along and said, “I hear you’ve been out here selling books!”
I smiled and said, “I have, and I have some more with me.”
He laughed. “I knew you would. I’ll take two.”
I happily gave him two books, and he handed me a $20 bill. I tucked it away for safekeeping and thanked him.
Soon he was gone, my driver was back, and Campbell and I were on our way home. I was thrilled. I’d sold all three copies of my book all at once, and I couldn’t wait to get home to see if my other shipment had arrived. Once at home and settled, I was thrilled to see that it had indeed arrived.
After a bit of a break, Campbell and I headed out again. I decided I was going to take my money and go get dinner at the Food City Deli and maybe have a word with their manager about a couple of upcoming events Campbell and I are currently involved with, one being the Pancake Breakfast and Book Sale Fundraiser. Just as I was readying us to leave the house, I got a call from my friend and volunteer Gabe. He let me know he’d be by later to pick up a book, as well as tickets for the Pancake Breakfast portion of the fundraiser. This meant I’d sold $40 worth of books thus far.
I happily set the book aside for him and continued on my way, calling a cheerful “Goodbye!” to my friend Old Man Bob, who had stopped by to hang out and use the large space on my dining room table to do some paperwork. As I slipped through the door, I called back over my shoulder, “I’ll be back in about an hour!”
He called back, “Good luck. I’ll lock up when I leave.”
Campbell and I started off. I laughed as he took a huge snort of the fresh, cool air and began to wag his tail happily. Once again, he worked beautifully, guiding me safely across the two streets to the stop. Once there, I praised and praised him. Then I gave him a moment to park if he felt he needed to. Of course he obliged me and watered the bus stop post. Afterwards, he shook himself as if to say, “What? I’m just watering it to make sure it doesn’t die!
As I settled us into our usual place on the bus, I realized, very upset with myself, that I’d actually walked out and left my wallet on the table. I couldn’t believe it. Well, I thought, I’ve got a backpack filled with books. I’ll sell some and feed myself. I argued with myself that the money from the sale of the books was to be for the fundraiser, but I also knew I was to pay myself something and I had to eat. So off we went. Soon I’d sold two books to the driver I was riding with. We were to change buses at Walmart. While waiting in between buses, I met a man who couldn’t buy a book; however, he took a flyer about my event, and that was helpful. He promised to put it up at his church. I thanked him and continued on my way.
When the bus pulled up and the door opened, I was delighted to see that the driver was Charley. We greeted one another happily, and as we rode round picking people up, I chatted with folks about my book. Before I’d gotten to my stop, I’d sold another copy. I was excited, to say the least. I was already up to $70 in my money-making and was thrilled. As Campbell and I got off the bus, folks sang out their cheerful holiday wishes and goodbyes. We waved happily to all and started out across the parking lot to the store.
Campbell carefully guided me through the traffic, and for a change, everyone followed pretty much the correct traffic routines. We only got one traffic check, and it was not bad. As we came onto the sidewalk, the bell-ringer stationed outside the door of the store called out, “Hello, pretty puppy!”
I said gently but firmly, “Sir, do not speak to him; he’s working.” I added as I passed, “Happy Holiday!” in a cheerful, upbeat voice, and made a note to drop some money in the kettle when I came back through the doorway.
Finally, we were in the store and weaving our way through the crowd. Campbell wagged happily along, and on this day, we made not one mistake while we made our way to the Service Desk. When I found we’d arrived all on our own and with no mistakes, I was so proud that I had a praise party for my pup right there on the floor while we waited for a shopping assistant.
Soon, with the help of a very polite young man, I had my fried chicken dinner, as well as a couple of other items I needed. I was ready to go back out, so Campbell and I could make our escape. I was disappointed to see that the bell-ringer was gone when Campbell and I came back through the doorway. I had intended to donate a bit of money and let the ringer take a moment and have the chance to meet Campbell correctly.
While we waited at the stop for the bus, we chatted with a fellow bus rider. I explained about the Seeing Eye after the man began asking questions. I told him about my book, and although he expressed interest, he didn’t buy one. I wasn’t disappointed; from how our conversation went, I have the feeling that he’ll buy a copy later on.
Finally, we were at our stop, wishing everyone a happy holiday and a great weekend. I had money and food, and the day had turned out very well after all. I was on my way home, and a friend had just called to say he and his girlfriend were sitting in my driveway, and where was I? I laughed and told him I was about four blocks from the house and would be there shortly. Campbell shot forward happily enough when I gave him the command after stepping off the bus, and soon we were turning into our driveway. It had been a fantastic day, and the rough events of the morning seemed distant and unimportant.
I spent a few minutes chatting with the friends who had been waiting for me, and they too bought a book. This brought my take for the day to $80. I was totally thrilled.
As I put my money and leftover books away, I wished that I could go into writing full-time. It had been such fun selling those books in person and making happy conversation with folks—people who were not only buying my book, but who would read it and talk to others about it and about the fact that they’d actually met Campbell and me. Knowing they had an idea of the reality of us and what we are like, pleased me greatly. I smiled to myself as I finished straightening out my things and said to myself. One day I’m going to do just that: be a professional writer and have this fun forever. That’s the ticket for sure. I just know it.
After chatting with Gabe, who was to come by and pick up a book for himself, as well as tickets to sell for the Pancake Breakfast portion of the fundraiser, I settled in to eat my dinner and enjoy the evening. For a change, I felt I’d done some great work and had really earned my money. I hadn’t felt like this in quite a while, no matter what I was doing.
Later in the evening, as I was soaking in a tub of hot water in a fragrant, steam-filled bathroom, I understood the way nature worked; I was feeling the same sense of hope and renewal I knew everything and everyone must feel. I knew the cold, dark days of winter would soon be over, and the prosperity of spring would be in full bloom. Heck! I was already receiving some of it just by knowing it was so.
Suddenly I snapped back to myself. Yes, I was in the shower. No, it wasn’t Friday night. It was Tuesday morning, and I was most likely going to not be ready in time to catch the bus for the library. I continued rinsing myself and after a couple of cleansing breaths, changed my chanting to a simple, “Goddess Gaia here my plea, send the power of Mother Earth to me. Power of which I know the worth. Power which I draw to me, to strengthen and empower me, and this magik work I do. Blessid be upon this day. Blessid be upon the words I write and say. Blessid be on my heart pure and true, help me to remember pure of heart doesn’t mean perfect it means what you own and know in your life to be real and true. So Mote It Be and Blessid Be.” As I finished I stepped from the shower and raising my hands in the air said, “Thank you Goddess for the use of your Water. May it go on to do great things for many. Blessid Be!” I clapped my hands three times and said again, “Blessid Be!”
I felt renewed and alive. It did not matter to me in the least that I was not going to make it to the library this day, but crazy as it sounds I can assure you it was not for any of the reasons I have already written of. I simply knew it was not the day for me to go.
As the sounds of the water died away inside the bathroom walls they were replaced with the sound of drumming rain on the outside wall behind me in the shower. Just as the sound registered, a long low roll of thunder sounded from somewhere in the distance and I knew I didn’t care to be out in it After wrapping the towel tightly around myself, I walked in to the bed room and made a call to the station. I asked the worker on duty if he could cancel me out and if I needed to pay a no-show for waiting so late. I told him I figured the driver was probably already en-route.
I wasn’t quite used to totally drifting away like that in the middle of the shower while getting ready to take off for what had promised to be a productive day. That along with hearing Thunder rolling across a December sky was causing me to feel a bit disconcerted and out of sorts. The dispatcher who’s voice I recognized as yet another driver and friend of mine, was calm and put me somewhat at ease.
“No problem, I’ll check and see about your no show, and I’ll cancel you out for the day.”
I felt ok as I hung up and I knew in my heart it was the right thing. I felt free and unblocked and knew the Prologue and first few chapters of this book wouldn’t be the only things I accomplished this day. I only had a few frustrations. The first was I wanted to spend time writing about the events which had gotten me to where I am now, not the current events going on in my life. So I felt a bit frustrated. Not only had I just spent a good twenty minutes drifting in a not so distant memory while in the shower, but was now considering writing about it. I realized writing about it was after all the right thing and would after a fashion, lead to other writings as well. As I dressed I had yet another flash of memory.
This time I was standing on the smoking patio at the Seeing Eye. Drew had just shown up to pick me up for yet another training trip. As I picked up Campbell’s leash I began turning it over in my hand.
Drew asked, “What’s the problem?”
As I made a face of disapproval and disgust. “Leash is not right.” I answered in frustration. “I am trying to fix it so the words engraved are on the outside of the leash.” I continued turning the leash. Somehow it was now tangled. I sighed, “Drives me absolutely nuts when it does this.”
This was for whatever reason bothersome to me. So much so that I’d started to get upset to the point that my hands were trembling and I was starting to sweat. Drew gently put his hand over mine, rubbing it softly in what I am sure was an attempt to calm me.
“Don’t worry about it Lady, relax.” He’d said in that deep Yankee accent he liked to use when he wanted to see me through a particularly stressful moment.
The lesson I’d taken away although simple to learn was huge. “Don’t worry about the little things. Just go with the flow and everything will work just like it’s supposed to.” As this memory faded I took a deep breath and counted slowly. What Drew had taught me about fighting panic held true to this day.
I’d learned so many things from him and others during training which I could apply to my everyday life. It was fantastic. I never ceased being amazed at how well those lessons served me each day.
I spent the afternoon writing rather than going out to the library. I told myself the library would be there when I got to it. I knew there had been some reason I’d not gone, and so far it was turning out to be a productive writing day. Not only was I making progress on the first chapters of my latest book, I was also inspired to write a piece for an upcoming holiday issue of the online magazine for which I write.
As the afternoon wore on I realized I had no beer. Finally, I got myself and Campbell completely ready to go out. I laughed as I saw it was 3:30 in the afternoon. A few minutes later, when Campbell and I emerged from the house in to the rain freshened air, we both came to life. Campbell lifted his nose, and snorted a snout full of fresh crisp air. I took a long slow deep breath and held it for ten beats as we walked up the drive in sync with one another. The feeling was totally exhilarating. I knew at this moment it was going to be a fantastic finish to a great day. I felt with complete assurance the entire day had gone just as it had needed to and the week would only be better for it having been so.
I’d actually listened to my inner voice that day. After my having missed the bus and the opportunity to go to the library I’d taken a few moments to meditate and ask myself what I could gain from this loss. When I’d done so, I’d opened the door to fresh writing and new thought. This in my mind was more important than my original plan had been. I smiled as I wondered how many opportunities I’d truly missed while moaning what I’d thought was a missed ‘OPPORTUNITY.’ My first inclination after I’d missed the morning’s ride was to berate myself for screwing up. Then I’d remembered thinking I’d made a mistake during training and what lesson I’d learned as a result of Drew’s once again having taken the time to teach me something which wasn’t simply dog related. This had led me to another thought and another until I’d actually gotten the message. Once again it seemed I could hear my old trainer’s voice in my head.
“Glad you’re finally joining us again Ms. Fletcher. Hope you don’t drift off in to that other world again too soon.” I knew in my heart of hearts that if Drew had been following around behind me during this last year or so of my life as he’d done in training he’d have been saying to me. “I didn’t teach you that shit.” I knew he would not have just been talking about dog handling. He had taught me something about how to behave as well, and had worked damn hard at it. I knew he would be more than ready to let me know some of my behavior of late was not anything he’d ever had any part of showing me, and he was less than pleased. I was also pretty sure I’d have to work damn hard to prove myself from this point out, but I sure wanted to try. That, Friends, and Neighbors was a chance I’d gladly take and one I hoped to see the 50 percent of right from.
I was glad to see I really was coming back to life, and it was beginning to feel great! At that moment I made the decision to make sure all those whom I wanted to know of how well I was doing, wouldn’t just get lip service about it anymore, they’d get proof. I knew I had a long way to go, but now more than ever I felt as though I were headed down the right path to make it so.
As Campbell and I made our turn, and crossed the first street, I was more than a little pleased to see he’d done his part exactly and without fail. When we reached the opposite corner I enthusiastically praised him. Literally kneeling down and hugging him to me before going on our way. I quickly turned us left and after making sure we were lined up correctly I started us off again. As we crossed the second street I was once again pleased to see he had done his part correctly yet again. Again I praised Campbell as enthusiastically as was possible. These simple street crossings had become quite dangerous to us, due to my having allowed someone who had obviously not known better to change how I handled the area in which Campbell and I frequently walked. It had taken me months, but it looked as though we were going to get a handle on these crossings again on our own.
I breathed a sigh of relief when I stepped on to the second curb and turned us right after our party on the corner and as we happily walked on down the way to the store. I hoped the problems with our work route would resolve themselves as easily. Once again there was hope.
Once we were there we immediately became involved with the manager of the place about our book. He had some questions for me, and had even marked the place in the book from where they’d come. I was impressed, and a bit taken aback with his reaction to the book. I loved it, don’t get me wrong, it’s just I’m not used to folks approving of what I do, and this guy really seemed to be enjoying this. He was the second, ‘Live and in Person!’ person I’d gotten to enjoy watching read my book, and I was truly starting to enjoy this part.
While Campbell and I were there, we bought a six-pack of corona and a bag of honey BBQ chips and sold another book from the stack we’d left at the store on Saturday. It was a good day and one I won’t forget any time soon. As I write of it now, I am truly inspired to do it justice because it is yet another thing I am quite proud of and want very much to share.
As I readied myself for sleep that night I felt a sense of peace I’d not had at the beginning of my day. I was pleased to see I was becoming more comfortable with my true self and could allow myself to find the happy times in all things. It had been a hard lesson for me to learn and I still failed miserably at it from time to time. As I snuggled in to the warmth of the covers and felt Campbell taking his place beside me, I once again had to smile as the memory of Drew’s deep Yankee accented voice floated back to me, as I drifted off to sleep. “Relax pretty lady. Don’t worry about it. Remember, if I ain’t saying nothing, it means you’re doing a good job.”
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