I've been camping with my family in a particular tent, with a particular dog for many years now. I know how it works.
The dog sleeps in one of the vestibules, to keep some semblance of hygiene while we're out there. We may be as dirty and moldy as rats, but that thin zippered layer of man-made fabric is a big psychological barrier for me. It says we have standards. We have some kind of grip still on the civilized world.
The dog loves his sleeping quarters. He's dry. He's warm and next door to his people. He even puts himself to bed now. When he's had it with evening campfires, he stands hopefully near the entrance to his sleeping quarters waiting for us to open it up and then zipper him in.
He's also tethered back there. We have to tie him to something because even though he is zippered into his little apartment, if say, a nocturnal rodent scampers by, that dog can zip underneath the fly faster than you can say, SQUIRREL!
We adopted our dog from the SPCA. They rescued him off a beach, where he'd been running wild and malnourished. When he's off leash and chasing something, it's very difficult to get him back. Let me just state that last sentence is an understatement. When outside, we've learned to tie him to something, especially at night.
Over the years, it has been me who sleeps with one ear open. I'm the one who hears when the dog has launched himself under the fly and out into the big dark world of the nighttime campground. It was no different this past weekend, when we were on our first camping trip of the year. This time, like the other times, when I heard the familiar sounds of a frenzied canine with lightening quick reflexes, dart underneath the fly, I dutifully crawled through the back vestibule and peered out into the darkness.
The moon was nearly full. I could make out the low split rail fence behind the tent where we had tied the dog. But that was all. There was no dog. No growling. No barking. All was silent and still.
I called for the dog in my loudest whisper, not wanting to wake the neighbours in the next tent. (An extremely generous move on my part as they had been snoring loudly for hours.) I didn't expect him to come to me by voice, but I thought maybe I'd hear him sniffing or breathing heavily. I was sure he must have broken free of the rope and be long gone. I had a quick vision of myself walking through the vast, dark campsite with a flashlight searching for him until dawn.
But then the husband who was now awake, but (I will add) still, in his sleeping bag, sagely suggested I "follow the rope."
I did not expect to find to find the dog at the end of the rope because it was so damn quiet. But that is exactly what I did find. Barely a metre away from me, but on the other side of the fence. He was just standing there, silent, his head bowed, the rope somehow caught and loosely bound around his chest and front legs. He was facing the tent. He'd been thwarted mid chase. Everything about him seethed, disappointment. There was no use chastising him.
I unbound the rope and with no prompting from me, the dog gracefully leapt over the fence, headed to his vestibule, turned in a circle three times and settled himself on his blanket with a harumph.
I imagine it's a tough trade-off for a dog: An untethered, underfed, wild life chasing squirrels versus a domesticated life with a family to love and take care of him. Still, I hope he's able to catch the squirrels that visit him in his dreams. Then again, maybe not. I've seen what he does with his dog toys.
I started to write a Mother's Day blog last weekend, about my mom's sense of humour, (which is highly developed), but it went all over the place. I couldn't reign in the funny. Also, it made me think about my dad's good sense of humour which often functions on a different frequency than my mom's.
Dad is quick with the quips, especially the inappropriate ones geared directly at me, (his Archie Bunker impression never grows old, but it can be a little too good at times). His doesn't have the silliness that my mom's sense of humour does.
This is why I never finished the Mother's Day blog because my mind went off in all directions about senses of humour in my family. Like, anything with a range of diversity, my disclaimer is no sense of humour is superior to the other, they are just different. I'm not heralding one family trait to be better than the other. Celebrate the differences!
I think we're all agreed that having a sense of humour can save us in the tough times. Any kind of light at all can lead us out of darkness. When I think about my parents' sense of humour I can't help but think of their family histories and the ancestors on both sides. No shortage of hard times, but the stories that remain and are told, are punctuated with humour. That survives. It gets passed on, which is nice because I don't come from a family that is passing on any grand multi-hectare estates back in the homeland. Besides some furniture, objects and photographs, the stories are all we've got. Nothing wrong with that.
My mom had three brothers, the two of them who have died, were very funny. (Uncle Norman, I'm sorry if you are reading this, which I'm sure you're not, but I'm certain you would admit to being outplayed in the silliness and funny department by Victor and Brian. This doesn't mean I don't think you are funny too. You are also very good with a snowplough, an excellent skill to have, [see above disclaimer, celebrate the differences etc. etc..])
Uncle Victor was a master of spontaneous crooner lyrics. He had a melodic voice whether he was talking or singing. He was stylish and graceful with a robust sense of humour. He could make a song up about anything and deliver it with a twinkle in his eye. I hear his voice in my head still when I make up ridiculous names for my own dog, like he used to do with his beloved Tilly.
Uncle Brian was in a category all his own. He was a legend of my childhood. A great human package of fun. Being around him was always exciting. You never knew when he was going to say or do something outrageously funny. The story that best personifies this for me, is the time we were driving down a country road outside Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and he pulled the car over to ask some cows the time. He got out of the car and within earshot, carried on a one way conversation with the cows (a la Bob Newhart for those of you old enough to remember Bob) that was riveting and madly funny. Made even more so by my mom silently laughing uncontrollably beside me, smacking me as she does in that state, having her hands do the talking when her voice can't.
My mom is quick to laugh, because she loves to laugh. My father, as I've alluded to, has a different sense of humour, but no less developed. As I was writing this, I remembered in my youth stumbling upon an adult-sized, anatomically correct, male, white fuzzy bunny costume in our front hall closet. Amidst all the winter jackets. When I asked about it, I was told my father would be wearing the costume to an upcoming Halloween party. Nothing more was said about it. After the party, the costume disappeared. I'm glad to say, I never saw him in the bunny costume. (Good parenting decision Mom and Dad!)
That is a different kind of humour. It's louder than my mother's. It's one that takes ... ahem ... gonads. And therein lies the family jewels. (Sorry).
The first time my mother-in-law served me dinner, I'd known her less than a day, she hovered over a pot of rice with an ice cream scoop and asked me if I preferred 'one boob or two'. As I watched the breast shaped mounds of rice land on my plate, I noted that not only did Anne resemble my maternal grandmother, but she shared a similar wicked sense of humour. I felt at home.
Admittedly, I chose my mate, in part, because of this shared sense of humour. As a personality trait, I find humour pretty crucial. Like everything, it can be nurtured, but it helps to have a little in your blood.
Thirty years ago today Expo 86 opened in Vancouver, BC. For those of you who don't know, Expo 86 was the world's fair that came to Vancouver that fateful year of 1986. The scary thing I keep saying in my head is, "I can't believe that was 20 years ago."
Reality check, Crocker, 30 years ago.
A tangible reminder that it was 30 years ago is this photograph of me rocking it in my spandex-lycra, blue, sequinned custom made unitard, performing at the Plaza of Nations (note the flags). I wouldn't have been caught dead in that twenty years ago. Give me some credit.
It was a daytime performance. (I think they charitably opened up the plaza to community groups during the day). I vaguely remember my dance school may have won a lottery to get the chance to perform. Though I do think we had an edge because the song we danced to was, wait for it ... the Expo theme song, "Something's Happening Here".
In case you weren't there, or don't remember, I've imbedded the song below for you. You're going to want to jump to the 1:17 mark on the video to get to where our dance started. It starts softly, the excitement builds and wham! (no 80s pun intended) it's a full on World's Fair sound extravaganza.
Other Scintillating Expo 86 Liz Memories:
Oh yes Expo 86, something did happen and I was there.