1000th Day of Daily Blogging

Today is my 1000th straight day of daily blogging. It’s not my 1000th post, that happened years ago. In fact, this is my 3,476th post. That is a lot of blogging!

I would have thought that after coming up with something to write about every day for 1000 days in a row, that I would have been at a loss for something to say today, but luckily, my neighbors served up plenty of things for me to write about.

First thing this morning, when I was taking my mower out of the garage so I could cut the grass, my next-door neighbor told me if I ever saw a particular person — middle-aged, skinny, tattoos all over his face — to call the cops because that person tried to break into his shed where all his tools are stored. He said if he saw the fellow on his property again, the person would be dead. Not a good start to the day!

Later, I set out to walk an errand (rather than “run an errand,” because with my knees, I don’t run for any reason, not even from scary dudes with tattoos all over their face). A neighbor down the block was standing in his yard behind a tree where I couldn’t see him, watering his grass on the other side of the sidewalk, making it impossible for me to pass. I couldn’t holler at him because he’s deaf, so I waved my walking stick. He saw it, swung the stream of water out of my way, and smiled at me. Big doings! In the 1,200 days since I bought my house, this was the first time he ever acknowledged my presence in any way.

I turned the corner, and as I was walking down the street, another neighbor that I’ve had little contact with stopped me to warn about a couple of aggressive dogs that were loose. He’d called dispatch because those dogs are often out harassing passers-by, and although this town supposedly pays for a dog catcher, no one has ever seen the person, so basically, unless I wanted to go home for the weeks it would take for the mythical dog catcher to catch the dogs, I was on my own.

Those dang dogs did come running after me, though they couldn’t get close because I was waving my sticks around. (I don’t know about walking softly, but carrying a big stick — or two — is always a good idea when walking in this town.) Luckily, another walker came up behind me, and the dogs left me alone and started harrying him, which didn’t seem to bother the other walker at all.

Eventually, the dogs ran off, but they found me again on my way home. The same neighbor who warned me about them jumped in his truck and got between me and the dogs until the dogs lay down for a nap — too much excitement for them, I guess. On his way back to his house, the neighbor pulled up next to me and said he’d been talking to the deputy the dispatcher had sent, but before the deputy could do anything about the dogs, he got another call and took off.

When I got home, I noticed the deputy talking to my next-door neighbor. (Since the deputy was just around the corner, that was probably the fastest response anyone in this town ever got after calling the sheriff.) Turns out, the scary dude was hiding beneath my other next-door neighbor’s bushes. I tend to think the dude ran off before he was apprehended because I didn’t see anyone in the official vehicle. Maybe the escaped dogs and the escaped dude are hanging around together, though I wouldn’t know. I’ve decided this is a good day to make sure everything is locked up and to stay inside.

So, there you have it. Other people might be celebrating Father’s Day or Juneteenth or National Martini Day or even World Sauntering Day, but me? I’m celebrating a safe return home after my action-packed saunter, as well as my 1000th blog post.

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Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

Carrying a Big Stick

A city council member told me that they finally got a leash law finalized, with hefty fines laid out for people who let their dogs run loose, and it’s about time. Actually, it’s way past time, considering all the problems with dogs around here.

A lot of people turn their dogs loose at night to forage for themselves, which seems bizarre to me. If you want dogs, you take care of them. What’s worse is the damage these dogs can do. A woman who lived not too far from me was mauled by a pit bull, and nothing happened to the owner of the dog, but the woman’s husband was arrested for shooting the dog to save his wife’s life.

One woman took care of her dog, but still let it run loose. She told me, “If I were a dog, I’d rather be able to run free even if I get hit by a car.” Well, that dog did get hit by a car. So did her next dog. And apparently, the third dog (the third since I’ve been here) was also hit by a car because I met the guy who ran it down. He simply couldn’t stop in time. (When he told me he was the one who ran down the dog, I asked if he’d swerved, and he said he didn’t have time. Which is good. I learned early in my driving career that you never swerve to avoid a cat or a dog or a small animal. One of my teachers did so, and because the road was icy, she lost control of the car. She was maimed, and her passenger was killed.)

Some people around here chain their dogs outside because they don’t have a fence, and though one man told me the chain was perfectly safe, I found that same man wandering around the neighborhood one day looking for the dog’s collar and chain, because the dog had broken free. Luckily, chaining dogs will be illegal.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve only had one bad incident where a dog tried to bite the back of my knee. Generally, when I am out walking, I go along the streets where there aren’t any dog problems. Hopefully, this new leash law will help, though the truth is, leash laws don’t necessarily help prevent injuries and intimidation by dogs running loose — I was bitten on a hiking trail once that did require dogs to be leashed. The dog owner blamed me for the attack because she said hers was such a friendly dog, and had never done anything like that before. Apparently, she had it in her head that the trail was for dog walkers only despite signs that clearly marked it as a hiking trail, and clearly stated that dogs must be leashed.

Still, a law allows some sort of recourse, so that in the case of the woman mauled by the pit bulls, the dog owner might be arrested and not the husband.

As for me, I’ll still be careful, and I’ll still carry a big stick — a walking stick. And maybe I’ll invest in a suit of armor.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.