My old friend.

As you can imagine, yesterday wasn’t a very good day all around, even as we were all certain we did the right thing. Sprig started to fail on Sunday. At first we thought it was a repeat of the bad indigestion he had a couple months ago. But by Monday evening I was taking him to the animal ER for subcutaneous fluids and an anti-nausea shot, which the vet told me bluntly was “hospice care.”

Whatever it was, it gave him a good night’s sleep. Tuesday I rolled him onto his sternum and he tottered outside and peed like a man, but that was pretty much the end of his locomotion — he’s been growing steadily feebler over the last few months, and it was clear this was just about the end. We went to the vet later, and he said, “He’s working very hard just to stay alive,” and we made the decision. We all petted him, and I held my hand on him until I felt his heart stop. He didn’t move or stir; he just wasn’t there anymore.

Later on, I bought a six-pack of supermarket cupcakes and ate two for dinner. I bloody well deserved it, too.

I’m touched by how many people stopped by to leave comments, but not surprised — this dog made an impression on people. He liked to stick his head out the window when we drove, and there was something about that eyepatch and the mismatched ears that just slayed people, who would roll down the windows to tell him how cute he was. (We called them Spriggy Davidians.) Many times we remarked that if the same personality was in a much bigger, uglier dog, he wouldn’t have survived puppyhood. But when you’re under 20 pounds and adorable, people cut you slack.

I think the template for his life was set when, at 9 months or so, we took him with us when we visited a friend in the Upper Peninsula. He was at his most exhausting, and I was looking forward to taking him somewhere we could let him exhaust himself for a change. (My friend’s cottage is on an island with no cars.) For the most part, he behaved himself, but there was a moment when we looked around and couldn’t see him anywhere. I searched the property, calling him. Nothing. We started to worry; the island, while car-free, is vast and wild in its interior, and all I could think was, he’d seen a deer, chased it into the woods, and was now out of earshot, maybe bogged in a cedar swamp, porcupine quills protruding from his nose, scared and miserable.

We decided on one more thorough search. I went to one side of the property, Alan to the other. Five minutes later, Alan came walking toward me, the dog in his arms, free of swamp mud and quills. He’d found him in the Les Cheneaux Yacht Club, which was having its end-of-summer Bloody Mary brunch. Forget chasing deer; he was chasing spilled popcorn and tipsy ladies willing to feed cheese cubes to cute little dogs. He was recruiting Davidians.

When Alan spotted him, he said, “There you are!” and Spriggy looked over his shoulder, saw his master, and ran in the opposite direction. He cornered him in a dead end near the bathrooms (Gulls and Buoys) and scooped him up. Busted. The ladies all wanted to give him a final pet as he was carried out.

He repeated this behavior the year he slipped away from the Christmas celebration at my sister’s, climbed onto the dining-room table, and ate the remainder of the pork tenderloin. He saw me see him, grabbed one last giant mouthful of sliced pork, leaped off the table and ran to the laundry room, wolfing it down as he went.

I’ve told myself to wait a few more days before picking up the bowls and beds. And a few weeks before we start thinking of another pet. Big shoes shouldn’t be filled quickly.

And thank you for all your notes, public and private. The contributions to the humane society are much appreciated, too. I’m donating his leftover special-diet food to our own local chapter; among the many tragedies of our economic decline has been the number of families leaving the area and leaving pets behind, some of which are old and virtually un-adoptable. Whatever helps, I guess.

So, howsabout some bloggage? OK:

The silver fox does it again, conservatives disapprove. Roy has the roundup.

Another gem from Detroitblog, via the Metro Times: A farm in the city, presided over by an 86-year-old woman who has seen it all:

A year later, just before the ’67 riot, (her son) Howard got into a street fight and police were called. They broke down the door of the King house to find him, and Mary wound up in a wrestling match with a cop.

“I was 260 pounds back then,” she laughs. “I got him right quick and I put him on the ground.” She grabbed his gun and nearly blew his brains out. “The devil was saying, ‘Shoot him! Shoot him!'” she recounts. Instead, Mary got up off the cop. Then she was thrown in the squad car, hit with a baton and bitten in the neck, which required a tetanus shot.

All wasn’t awful yesterday — it was also the premiere of my friend Rob Gulley’s short film, “Nikki & Eli,” at the Mitten Movie Project. It was, I’m pleased to say, very fine. Great job, Rob and all concerned. Remember me when you’re giving interviews in Cannes someday.

And life goes on. At the moment it goes down to the basement and folds the laundry.

Posted at 10:19 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

63 responses to “My old friend.”

  1. Danny said on August 5, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Good stories about Spriggy, Nance. Sometimes when I’m riding my bike, I think about him because I still remember a few years back when some chick thought she could walk her Jack Russell on the bike path (next to the equestrian path) without a leash. Geesh, I would have gone down if that little devil had gotten into my spokes.

    Hey Sue, the other day you mentioned something about women from Wisconsin putting up with a lot until they don’t anymore. Were you thinking of this story where four Wisconsin women glue a man’s penis to his stomach?

    Nancy, I like Roy’s comment: (Blink twice for “I am being tortured,” Mrs. Macsmind! It’s not like back home!)

    I’m really glad to see those two young women get released. I am like one degree of separation from knowing Lisa Ling [EDIT: Lisa, who works for National Geographic, is the older sister of Laura, who was the one in jail]. My old next door neighbor is her cousin and she once was in my driveway.

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  2. Julie Robinson said on August 5, 2009 at 11:22 am

    A beautiful tribute–you gave Spriggy a very good life and he reflected that. Isn’t the British saying “good innings”?

    Wow, Danny, that story didn’t have any of those fun details when it ran in our paper!

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  3. Sue said on August 5, 2009 at 11:24 am

    I hardly cried at all reading today’s entry. Tough chick, that’s me.
    Yes, Danny, that’s what I’m thinking about. Apparently no one thought to bring the shotgun and/or bowhunting equipment. And I know women who would have decided that the stomach location was too easy and found a way to attach it to his ear.

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  4. coozledad said on August 5, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Hitting the yacht club during Bloody Mary brunch was a good move.
    My wife had a cat named Tabouleh who was adept at getting the big windfalls: she meticulously removed every trace of cream cheese icing from a homemade birthday carrot cake (which was subsequently re-iced and got good reviews at the party), and later, a tureen filled with buttery garlic mashed potatoes thoroughly emptied and licked clean.
    Tabouleh wasn’t very charismatic. We often had words.

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  5. Danny said on August 5, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Yeah, loved this excerpt:

    The man got free from the bed by chewing through one of his bindings, went outside and borrowed a telephone from the motel owner to call police.

    Ziemann and Belliveau are sisters and Belliveau didn’t do anything wrong, Sewell said Monday. “She was just there for moral support. She wasn’t even dating the guy. She stood at the door the whole time and didn’t participate or nothing.”

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  6. alex said on August 5, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Hey, Sue, there was a guy from Wisconsin who had his penis reattached to his forearm. This was to keep it alive while awaiting surgery after accidentally amputating it with a lawn mower. Not sure how he accomplished that. This was in the 1990s. Anybody remember?

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  7. Danny said on August 5, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Cooz, re-iced?!?! Ewww.

    To paraphrase Gallagher regarding cats’ culinary tastes: That guy ain’t a gourmet; he licks his butt.

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  8. coozledad said on August 5, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    In addition to being a little ornery, Tabouleh wasn’t terribly hygienic, either.

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  9. Sue said on August 5, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    I actually do remember that. Under no circumstances should you ever place yourself under a running mower to do repair work, gentlemen. I do not remember about the temporary reattachment, though.

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  10. Danny said on August 5, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Hmm, seems like ever since Wisconsin lost the Cheese title to California there have been a cluster of these penis mutilation mishaps. Collective depression of a population or a mere coincidence? We report, you decide.

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  11. nancy said on August 5, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Cooz, re-iced?!?! Ewww.

    As Julia Child never said, “You are alone in the kitchen.”

    As far as the penis-reattachment: As I recall, the shlong went on the guy’s arm because it was the best place to reroute some blood vessels and keep it watered, so to speak, while it healed. Or while the guy healed. Or something. I just remember there were veins temporarily attached, and later they sewed it back on in the conventional location.

    None of these stories beat the one I was copied to in the pre-internet years, with one of those millionth-generation Xeroxes: A guy had taken to spending lunch hour alone in the back shop of his factory, masturbating by pressing himself against a running conveyor belt. Alas, one romantic noon, things went wrong. You don’t want to know the details.

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  12. Connie said on August 5, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Unfortunately I can imagine the details.

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  13. The Quiet One said on August 5, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    When we lost our cat Dickens after 18 years, it seemed like he was with us for at least 6 months after. Every cat-like noise, we looked expecting to find him there. A little movement seen out of the corner of our eye, we thought it was him. A couple of months ago, three years after we lost him, my wife sat up in bed and called out “Dickens?”. She was deaming about him and it seemed absolutely real. They work their way into your heart and they’re there forever. Spriggy sounds like he was a real character, and I’m sorry to hear of your loss.

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  14. Sue said on August 5, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Seriously, Danny? Which particular cheese title did you folks finally, finally win? The US Cheese Championships? The American Cheese Society Awards? You guys were behind New York (which was behind Wisconsin) in number of awards a year or so ago, as I recall.
    Do you offer fried cheese curds with your choice of dipping sauces at almost every local fast food joint, national chains usually included? Does your State Fair crown an “Alice in Dairyland” queen? Can your citizens (even the kids) tell the difference among ages of cheddar just by looking at the color of the coating? When you watch the milk judging in the movie “Napoleon Dynamite” (‘this one got into an onion patch’), do you not understand it’s a joke?
    Gotta walk the walk before you can talk the talk, happy cows notwithstanding.

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  15. coozledad said on August 5, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Nancy: Was that the one from “The Journal of Psychosexual Disorders” that resulted in a botched amateur reattachment using an Arrow staple gun?
    I’ve seen some fine-looking industrial belt sanders in my day, but virtually none of them made me consider frottage.

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  16. Danny said on August 5, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    tsk, tsk…

    Folks, I think we can see the bitterness in the vehemence of Sue’s post. Heehehe.

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  17. Sue said on August 5, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    You’re just jealous of Wisconsin’s fabulous dairy culture. With the unofficial state tourism slogan of “Come Smell our Dairy Air”, I can understand why.

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  18. nancy said on August 5, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Cooz, I believe staples were involved, but I don’t think it was a reattachment. Rather, I think he was trying to close a tear, um, in the bag. Tragically, infection set in, which is when he finally sought medical help. Probably didn’t have insurance. A friend of mine has a quarter-size scar on his jawline from when his parents let a vet sew him up, because they couldn’t afford an M.D.

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  19. coozledad said on August 5, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    That sounds more like what happened. I’m probably confusing it in my memory with this guy who converted to Judaism in his mid thirties and threw himself a Bris at home.

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  20. Julie Robinson said on August 5, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Where I swim there is also a warm water pool with huge jets, like a giant Jacuzzi. It’s great for muscle aches, but I have also observed a gentleman who was positioning his groinal area smack dab in front of them. Haven’t tried it m’self.

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  21. Danny said on August 5, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    A friend of mine has a quarter-size scar on his jaw­line from when his par­ents let a vet sew him up, because they couldn’t afford an M.D.

    Rambo thinks that is way cool.

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  22. paddyo' said on August 5, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Graceful tribute, Nancy — all of us who have lost old pals (which is to say, all of us) can relate . . .

    As for the conservative commentariat going nuke-you-lurr about Bubba’s rescue mission to North K-ville, when is somebody (paging Mr. Obama . . .) going to speak truth to these silly dorks that the U.S. is not selling its soul by back-channels-chatting — or even out-front chatting — with Bozos like The Glorious-whatever-they-call-him Leader? Yeah, he’s a wingnut, but we lose nothing in global stature or footing by opening discourse with him and his bunch — just like we lose nothing in trying to re-establish relations with Cuba. The kick-and-swagger-and-ignore crowd of the previous eight years are gone, and, with apologies to Erich Segal, dip-love-acy doesn’t mean having to say you’re sorry . . . are we that insecure of ourselves as a nation? Sheesh . . .

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  23. Dorothy said on August 5, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Typical day on the back porch of nn.c: Sad recitations about the dear Sprigster, and neatly segueing into lil’ stories about manly parts getting detached and/or reattached. SIGH. I love this place…

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  24. adrianne said on August 5, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Speaking of all things dairy…I’m about to enjoy the awesome sight of the butter sculpture at the New York State Fair, where you can also purchase cups of milk (chocolate or plain) for just 25 cents. And get an ice-cream sundae bigger than your head. Eat our dust, cheddar heads!

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  25. Danny said on August 5, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    SIGH. I love this place…

    Uh-Oh. Back away from the belt sander and jacuzzi jets, Dorothy!

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  26. nancy said on August 5, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Paddy, they only object to back-channel chats with people they disapprove of. Key-shaped cakes for ayatollahs, carried by Oliver North? Fine. But a little ego massage to save two young women, one a mother? They’d prefer World War III.

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  27. Colleen said on August 5, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    “keep it watered” almost cause diet coke to be spewed on the keyboard.

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  28. alex said on August 5, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    As for the pre-Internet days of passing Xeroxes around the office about mutilated penises…

    I worked for a publishing house where tort and product liability cases were the subject matter, and we got to see quite a few of those. There was a guy who put Nair on his nuts and burned his scrotum off. Then there was a young boy who fucked a Eureka canister vacuum and had to undergo gender reassignment. And these weren’t apocrypha, but published case law.

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  29. Danny said on August 5, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Nuts! That sucks!

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  30. ROgirl said on August 5, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Speaking of manly parts being detached, who can forget (I can’t!) the scene in The World According to Garp where Garp’s wife and her lover have a mishap in the car involving her mouth, his appendage and an unfortunate slippage of the brake?

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  31. Rana said on August 5, 2009 at 2:35 pm


    (Or should that be “groin”?)

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  32. Sue said on August 5, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Danny you are in fine form today. Quiet day at work, finally?

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  33. Danny said on August 5, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    No, I am just procrastinating because I don’t like what I am doing right now.


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  34. Dorothy said on August 5, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Isn’t this just one giant procrastination every day for most of us?

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  35. Jan said on August 5, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    What a dog! He sounded like a great one and with wonderful personality. After losing our 2 Italian Greyhounds this year, one thing I have not had to do was clear the table as quickly as before. My 2 dogs always seemed to jump up on the dining room table and tried to eat the meal. It always seemed to happen when non dog lovers were over. As a former owner of 2 very bad Italian Greyhounds, I am sorry for your loss.

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  36. Dexter said on August 5, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    ROGirl: In that movie, the money line was censored by the studio for dvd release.
    So if you see it on TV , Roberta no longer says “…but to have it bitten off in a BUICK!” They just deleted the entire line.


    My precious P-Dogg, gone only 24 days, once saw a deer at a country park and gave chase through brambles and a pond and disappeared into a woods. I gave up after 2 hours and went back into town to fetch the grandkids to help call her.
    After two minutes upon returning, with granddaughter Sarah really hollerin’, here came P, all muddy, covered in burrs, wet, and tail wagging a mile a minute. No deer to show for her troubles, the most exciting in P-Dogg’s life.
    I just cannot even think of replacing her…will I ever?
    I know Spriggy was loved as much, which is maximum level.

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  37. Sue said on August 5, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Ok, maybe this is totally tacky and inappropriate, given today’s sad topic, but I have a feeling you will forgive me, and maybe Nancy will even laugh.
    Via First Draft:

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  38. MommyTime said on August 5, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    I’m very sorry for your loss. We’ve got an aging dog right now, and it’s been heart-breaking. I send much sympathy.

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  39. MarkH said on August 5, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Yes, Dorothy in #34, that’s IT! (at least for me…)

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  40. nancy said on August 5, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Now we can create a custom urn in the image of your loved one or favorite celebrity or hero.

    When I go, I want to be preserved in an urn that looks like Golda Meir.

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  41. Danny said on August 5, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Fabio for me…

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  42. Jason T. said on August 5, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Really sorry for you, Nancy, and my deepest sympathies.

    I love dogs, but I’m also horrendously allergic, so I have to enjoy other people’s dogs vicariously … and then go home and medicate.

    It’s a mistake to treat them as little furry people, but anyone who doesn’t think they have distinct moods and personalities hasn’t spent any amount of time with them.

    I have spent time with dogs who were more pleasant company and smarter than some people, and I have spent time with dogs who were equally as dumb or misanthropic as some people.

    And I would go so far as to differ with the One True Church and suggest they’ve got souls.

    (P.S.: I like cats, too. Nothing cooler than watching a cat when they think you’re not watching them. The little gears in their brains are always going.)

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  43. brian stouder said on August 5, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Well ya know – I detect a sexist ‘har dee harr harr’ regarding the glue-wielding harlots and the low-brow (or stuck up) cock of the walk.

    Leaving aside the odd female vigilante penal-code enforcement squad, I can report that in mere moments, the young fellow and I will be going to see the Johnny Depp Dillinger movie, courtesy of Kelloggs! (don’t ask, I’m not sure I fully understand how Pammy pulled this off, either)

    By default, I like all Depp movies – but this one has gotten flat reviews, so my expectations are sufficiently dampened that I should like it.

    Gotta go – but if you remind me, I’ll tell you how I really, truly mortified Pam and all the kids (except Chloe, who stuck with me) at the Henry Ford boyhood home in Dearborn at Greenfield. In all honesty, the moment was so embarrassing that I immediately knew it will outlive me, in our family’s history!

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  44. sisterlicious said on August 5, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    I’ll remind you, Brian. What on earth happened there?

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  45. LAMary said on August 5, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Golda Meir is a good choice. Maybe as a companion piece Alan could be Moishe Dayan.

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  46. coozledad said on August 5, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    I’ve met a few politicians, and this guy is the most sober, decent and unassuming of the lot. It’s gotten way out of hand.

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  47. MichaelG said on August 5, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    I just got home this evening after spending the last couple of days in the L. A. area. Flew back from Burbank. I looked around the airport, but didn’t see Bill Clinton in the bar.

    I’m sorry about Spriggy, Nancy. You all did have a lot of great years together. This is the bad part about having pets.

    By the way, with all the manly part jokes going on, I assume everybody’s heard the legends about Dillenger?

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  48. Dexter said on August 5, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    his dick in D.C. at the Smithsonian ya mean?

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  49. Old Lino Operator said on August 5, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Fort Recovery man’s death ruled a fatality

    The Celina, Ohio, Daily Standard. Tuesday, August 4, 2009.

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  50. Dexter said on August 5, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    OLO: How cruel…I mean, after all, he IS in Fort Recovery….

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  51. brian stouder said on August 5, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    So the story is, Tuesday (a week ago) we were at Greenfield Village, standing in the living room of Henry Ford’s boyhood farmstead and admiring the furnishings and the decor and the carpet and so on. The rest of the visitors had eased on out, and Chloe was engrossed with a set of wooden blocks off to the side in the dining room, and Pam and I were having a conversation with a very pleasant older women in period costume who was the docent in that place. She was wearing a long, plain dress from the period, and although we were the only visitors in there at that moment, she genuinely seemed just as eager to explain about the pictures of Henry’s Civil War veteran ancestors (on the mantlepiece) as I was to hear about them; and it was just about THEN when I bobbled and then completely lost contact with my large, refillable, 2/3s full cup of icy-cold Diet Coke.

    It hit the carpet and the watery contents of the souvenir cup splooshed out onto the terrifyingly beautiful rug. I immediately picked up the empty cup and began apologizing to the (understandably concerned) docent; Pam immediately bolted from the farmhouse (a step behind Shelby and Grant – who seemingly didn’t know whether to laugh, or whether to run); and Chloe continued on with the blocks. The docent sprang into action, going to the kitchen to retrieve some fluffy towels, and I stood there like a stricken cow. When the docent woman returned, she said something about not being able to bend down like she used to – and I immediately said “I can!” and she gave me one of her towels, with which to begin sopping up the spill.

    She was incredibly nice to me; thnking back on it, she was uncommonly forgiving. She could simply have asked me to leave, but she allowed me to help her deal with the spill. As we continued the cleanup, Chloe contentedly played with the blocks, and the woman reassuringly (if somewhat unconvincingly) told me that the rug was wool, and ‘you can clean anything out of wool’. I apologized for being such an idiot (there are signs at the stands where you get the soda pop that ask you NOT to bring drinks into the historic structures, as I repeatedly noticed later in the day), and the woman said that occasionally people yell at their children for bringing drinks in, and when that happens she always tells them that the only spill she ever had in her house was from an adult…and I ashamedly noted that I had raised her “adults behaving badly” score to 2 for 2.

    As we continued the cleanup, I mentioned that I’d apparently mortified my wife, and the friendly docent said “Life happens” – and then she shared a story about the time she was giving a talk in the Ford home, in her period costume, when her petticoat somehow fell off! She said she overcame the moment by stepping out of the undergarment and shifting her commentary to 19th century women’s apparel, and we shared a laugh.

    By this time, the cleanup was completed, and Chloe and I stepped to the front door, and THEN I made yet another blunder; I said to the uncommonly pleasant docent something like “There’s my horrified wife over there, across the street with our other two kids” whereupon the woman stepped out onto the porch and called out to her(!!), saying something along the lines of “He’s OK! We got things cleaned up!”. Pam smiled and acknowledged her, and waited ’til I got across the street (and the docent went back into the home) to say something like “#*(*&#^#*&%^@*!!@#%!”

    Later, I got the cup refilled

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  52. MichaelG said on August 5, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    OK so I spelled it wrong. Snopes was on the waffle. Thing about stuff like Dillinger’s dill is that the legend itself is enough. Who cares if it’s true or false? It’s a good story. I maintain a huge don’t care file. I’m happy to smile and nod and enjoy a story. You don’t have to believe or disbelieve.

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  53. Danny said on August 5, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Wow, that is mortifying, Brian. Man, I’m chuckling a little, but I feel really bad for you.

    It reminds me of the first time I took my wife to the Smithsonian and we were looking at an exquisitely carved, large (~30″ diameter) wooden bowl. The main display in the middle of the room. Roped off. With signs on the rope saying DO NOT TOUCH. Which my wife didn’t see. So, as I watched in horrifying slow motion, she not only touched the bowl, but lifted it and turned it about in her hands to get a really good look. Yeah, she practically hefted it and spun it on her forefinger like a Harlem Globe Trotter.

    So the security guard marched over and told her to put it down immediately and that if she touched anything else she would be escorted off the premises.

    Me and Miss California. Geesh. Heheh.

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  54. basset said on August 6, 2009 at 12:11 am

    And now for something completely different… some remarkable photos of Detroit:

    what’s up with the stuffed animals taped to the light pole? does that have some special meaning there?

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  55. ellent said on August 6, 2009 at 12:43 am

    In Houston, the stuffed animals on the light pole would probably be a makeshift memorial for a death (car accident or murder victim) at that intersection.

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  56. nancy said on August 6, 2009 at 12:50 am

    The page was so slow-loading I didn’t get to see, but my guess is it’s the Heidelberg Project.

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  57. Catherine said on August 6, 2009 at 12:51 am

    Brian, that story is a little mortifying. But you would be surprised how often that kind of stuff happens in museums (Danny, your wife, too). Sometimes even by the staff.

    The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village was at one time a client of mine. They were the most professional and accomplished, yet humble and nice people you’d ever want to meet. Doesn’t surprise me that the attitude extends to the docents.

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  58. Dexter said on August 6, 2009 at 2:05 am

    Yeah, it’s the well-documented Tyree Guyton’s work all right. That was one story that never died. Both The News and the Freep covered that story to the hilt.
    Nice story, brianstouder. While some guides at these places probably just memorize a lot of facts (think Duck Boat guides at Wisconsin Dells), I believe a lot of these folks do it as a labor of love. The geezer who took us through Edison’s laboratory at Fort Myers was one; he lovingly described Edison’s life as though it really might mean something to someone there, and it did.
    Another was “Ben Franklin” at Williamsburg, Virginia. Those actors only talk in character, you know. I assumed “Ben” may have been a history teacher during the school year. A tourist approached “Ben” who was rocking in a chair and the tourist asked “Ben” some pretty tough questions . I was standing right there and I listened for a while. “Ben” had satisfactory answers to all the inquiries. That Ben knew his stuff perfectly. Anyone could see he was very comfortable and confident in his role.

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  59. Dexter said on August 6, 2009 at 2:11 am

    I just watched a 29 year old movie called “Used Cars” , starring Kurt Russell and Jack Warden. It was a perfect film for these “Cash for Clunkers” days.

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  60. John said on August 6, 2009 at 8:48 am

    I remember Used Cars being amusing, an advert for “a mile of cars” or something like that. Jack Warden could do comedy and drama well. I will always remember him for his great delivery of the most memorable line from Shampoo.

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  61. Julie Robinson said on August 6, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Hey, Brian, will you feel better if I tell about the time one of our kids barfed on the expensive model home rug? And we mopped it up with a blanket and scampered away?

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  62. brian stouder said on August 6, 2009 at 9:47 am

    I recall a bizarre climax in “Used Cars”, including a dead Jack Warden with silver dollars taped over his eyes, careening across a field at the wheel of a car….

    Public Enemies was pretty good; sufficiently (and jarringly) violent. The Joe Pesci-like guy who played the Baby Face Nelson role came near to stealing the show.

    The movie was over-long, but I liked Michael Mann’s juxtapositioning of the climax of Public Enemies with the climax of the Clark Gable gangster movie that Dillinger watched, just before his life came to a climax. (Hey – a 4-climax post! WooHoo!!)

    edit – Julie – thanks! (I think!!)

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  63. basset said on August 6, 2009 at 9:48 am

    A tour guide at Mammoth Cave told me awhile back that the two questions most often asked by visitors there are:

    How many miles of undiscovered passages are there?

    Is the whole cave underground?

    Basset the Younger and I passed through that area a couple weekends ago, headed for the Abraham Lincoln birthplace in Hodgenville, Kentucky. If you’re careful with your time, you can visit the Lincoln birthplace and the Jefferson Davis birthplace about 140 miles to the southwest on the same day to complete your full set of Civil War presidents.

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