‘Time seems to go so quickly’ – those are words that I hear my mother say often. As a young woman she was unfailingly busy, always purposeful, rushing around getting things done – on the farm – in the house – whilst out shopping – wherever she was there was a snap in her step and a determination to get things done and not be idle! Now fast approaching the age of ninety she still has the need to be usefully employed at all times, but her capability is severely curtailed by her infirmity. The words I say to her most often are: ‘don’t rush,’ or, ‘there’s no need to hurry.’ But hurrying and getting things done are programmed into her brain and even the cruel affliction of dementia cannot dislodge it from her psyche!
Toto has had a bad couple of weeks. As bonfire night approaches people are able to get hold of fireworks that detonate with ever greater explosions and the noise terrifies Toto. It starts days before the 5th November and continues for days after! There should be a rule that fireworks can only be set off on one specific night, because Toto is not the only animal that hates the noise of them; many of our four legged friends get dreadfully frightened when they hear the loud explosions.
Although Toto is reduced to a quivering wreck when fireworks go off, going for a veterinary check-up doesn’t worry her at all – in fact she loves it! She is the only dog that I’ve owned who enjoys a visit to the vet, and no matter how many diabolical things they do to her she’s still eager to go back! Having cancer means she has to have a check-up every six months and she always bounces in, eyes alight with pleasure, tail wagging, loving every moment that she’s the centre of attention! Because she’s so enthusiastic everyone loves her there and she receives treats from the vet – another bonus as far as she’s concerned!
Books have always been important to our family and we’ve had bookcases full of them for as long as I can remember. When I was very young my grandmother used to read to me and my sister. It was the highlight of my day when we listened to those stories and I just wanted her to go on and on. I remember thinking that I would learn to read and then I would be able to read every book in the bookcase! I did learn to read and books and words have always been a source of pleasure, so perhaps it was inevitable that I should eventually start writing myself.
My mother loved to read when she was younger. (She used to knit jumpers while she read because she didn’t want to waste a second of time by being unproductive). Now she’s visually impaired so I read to her instead and she loves the time I set aside to do this. Of course the stories have to be simple these days. She is no longer able to retain enough to understand complicated plots, so I choose books that are easy to follow – usually animal stories because she loves animals. The books Jon Katz writes about his animals are favourites because they are so well written.
Now, here’s the thing – as soon as I get the book, Toto jumps up beside me so that she can listen as well! It seems as though this is also her favourite time of the day because no matter where she is or what she’s doing, she always comes to listen when I pick up the book! Could it be because we usually have animal stories? Or is it just the soothing tone of my voice that attracts her?
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.