I took the back roads to travel 120 miles to meet up with friends.
Sure the interstate highways appear to be more convenient, but you miss fabulous treats like this one.
I drove off the map again. Heaven on earth. No metropolis, just nature. No Internet, no cell phone, no electricity, no water, no cable, no Wi-Fi.
Nothing to plug into but nature.
Just nature. Me plus Harley, the puppy dog, in our little motorhome. Along the way, we picked up two friends, one four-legged and the other, his pet human, an old two-legged mate from a distant past.
As I write this, a tiny humming bird keeps tapping my window as he desperately tries to catch flying bugs. I keep forgetting and leaving the screened door open. The puppy follows me inside and out. The bugs come in. Flying bugs. Crawling bugs. Lightning bugs.
They all come in.
Because I forget.
Harley is not a puppy dog at all. He is half monkey and half goat. He leaps around the motorhome chasing bugs, gnats, mosquitoes, wasps and UFT's. (Unidentified Flying Things).
We go back outside and walk to the river.
Harley prances, runs, leaps, dawdles, and sometimes jumps vertically when something spooks him. He loves the woods.
At the river, I sit and gaze, contemplating the sound of nature and nothing else.
Harley runs up to the river's edge and sees his reflection. He thinks it's a new puppy that has come to play with him!
He leaps enthusiastically to greet the puppy. Instead, he makes a belly flop into the cold river.
It was his first swimming lesson. He paddles rather quickly for the shore and hops out. He shakes from nose to tail.
We can see how thin his fur is, how slight his tiny body. He grins and shakes some more, doing a little dance at the same time.
His fur does a part down the middle of his head, neck and back. He shakes some more.
I tie my dress up and get into the cold river, standing in squishy mud, with the healing waters up to my upper thighs. It feels wonderful. I am so blessed.
I try to coax Harley back into the river. He comes to the edge to look for that mysterious puppy again. I grab him and gently put him in the water.
He quickly dog paddles for the shore and does his dancing and shaking routine all over again. Finally he darts off through the woods.
I call him to come back. He doesn't.
I climb out of the river, find my flip-plops and go look for the errant puppy.
It's time to put him on his tether. The road isn't that far away and I am sure cars are not expecting a tiny puppy in their path.
We play fetch and catch with his tennis balls and football. He loves this game. The tether lets him run about 100 feet, so it's great exercise and fun.
When I am not looking, he slips off his harness and takes off hiking alone again. I track him down and put his harness back on. It's the tiniest harness I can find. Still, he can slip it off when I am not looking. I am trying to teach him, this is a very bad thing and how happy he makes me when he wears his harness.
He sort of gets it.
A butterfly catches his attention and he mimics the butterfly, chasing it through the grass, leaves and pine needles.
I set up camp. The dining room. The den. Both outdoors.
The outdoor rug is 9x12 feet, a birthday gift. It feels great under bare feet. The table cloth is from my days in the Caribbean.
It has hung on my wall, as well as graced different sized tables, as I moved around. When coming to America, it seemed so sentimental, it reminded me of a flood of memories, a once-favorite apartment, and good meals with great friends.
I put it on the table in a hurry. Later I notice it has a big red wine stain on it. I think that was from weeks back and it was supposed to make it the washer and did not.
Eventually I change it out, to a cleaner table cloth and place this one in the dirty laundry hamper.
It's so shady, there is no need to put up the awning, until the rain comes. Then we hurriedly crank it out and set it up, to keep the dining room dry.
My friend busies himself with chores around the property. He brought his lawn mower in my motor home. I was expecting his dog, but a lawn mower?
It shatters the peaceful silence. So I busy myself inside the motorhome doing housekeeping. I was way behind on that. So I organized and put things away. The throw rugs need a good shaking out. I have no vacuum cleaner. The dogs track it back up again. I don't care. We're here to relax.
Fortunately, there wasn't much to mow down and the noisy lawn mower is put to rest.
I go back outside with the puppy. We play fetch and catch some more. He tries to engage the other dog in his silly games. She wants to rest and rolls her eyes as the puppy pokes and prods her. Finally she gets up lethargically and plays with the puppy some.
My friend busies himself with a fire of charcoals. In my motorhome kitchen, he splits open summer squash, zucchini and Vidalia onions. He bastes them with Sesame oil, oregano and basil. I find a bowl big enough to soak the corn on the husk in. He pulls out a big rib eye steak, decorates it with cracked pepper, fresh minced garlic and a smidgen of salt and oregano.
When the charcoal is ready, he places the soaked corn on the grill to cook. The halved veggies are added and eventually the steak.
We dine by candlelight, under a canopy of shade trees. We feel like royalty.
The doggies are fed bits of steak to supplement their dog food. They love this idea!
Harley has wore himself out. He wobbles around uncertainly. He knows he is tired, but he wants to play, but his eyes are at half-mast and he stumbles and fumbles.
I put his bed outside. He heads for a nap and is asleep in seconds.
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