So, I hung several strings of lights outside to be all festive and fun-like? It's so damn cold here all but one of the strings of lights stopped working. Now THAT's cold! I'm gonna see if I can fix at least one of the strings today - but one by one they just pooped out on me. I guess 18 degrees doesn't cut it for punkin lights.
|At Russell Orchard on my recent trip to MA!|
|My husband, Mr. Big and Tall|
on his first trip to Russell Orchard.
Annnyywhooo, I recently went to Massachusetts, as you may be aware, and one of the best best best things you can possibly do when in MA in October is go to Russell Orchard (I know it as Gooddale Orchards). I've been going to this place for almost 30 years, so it holds a lot of wonderful, keen memories of the past.
I went there with my first husband, K. We were babies, of course back then. I was all of 23 the first time I met Ken and he was engaged to another person. He broke it off with her (which, I'm so sorry I caused you such pain, N) and then K and I started our torrid fling. It didn't take long for us to get engaged and then get married. We got married right before my 25th birthday. May 12th at the Annisquam Village Church in Gloucester, MA. We lived in a miniscule apartment in Rockport and then in an equally tiny apartment in downtown Gloucester.
Things fell apart quickly as my whale research career took off and K was a fisherman and was gone for long periods of time. We had no business getting married so young, but it seemed like a good idea at the time!
So, we officially divorced when I was 29.
I then hooked up with a boy, E, for 4 years. I adored E and still do to this day. But he was totally immature and cheated on me a bunch. That was a really painful breakup. Especially since I was LIVING in the same house with him and his wonderful Momma at the time. I moved out when he was on vacation. Best thing I ever did.
That's when I came to live in Salem, MA. It was the winter of 1995. I answered a classified ad in the paper for a roommate situation in a cute Victorian house on Carlton Street in Salem. I went for the interview - with the two other women tenants and the landlords. All were great (except the one tenant woman who had a penchant for skulls and vaginas (not even kidding)). And the other tenant woman is one of my best friends to this day! She and I were a constant in that house for 5 years and then we had the revolving roommate on the first floor.
There was skull/vagina lady, then came the vodka/Yankees woman, and then the girl who had "woman problems" and cooked Chinese herbs on the stove that made the whole house smell of death, dirt and poop. IT WAS DISGUSTING! Then there was the recluse who went on blind dates ALL THE TIME in unsafe places and sometimes late at night. My other roommate and I were petrified that she was going to end up being a statistic.
And then I met my second husband. OOOO, did I have it BAD for him! He teased me and made me laugh and his dog and my dog fell instantly in love! There were a bunch of dogs at the park in Salem Common but his dog, Koty and my dog, Lady were instantly besties! Just look at these two:
|Koty helping us with the bait on the boat! The dogs loved boat rides.|
|Best friends until the very end.|
|This was the day Lady died. |
I did this when we took Koty on his first solo walk after she died.
December 7th, 2007. She was one week away from her 14th birthday.
I have her ashes here with me now.
As Lady and Koty aged and then she died, things went sort of awry. Everything was off. Koty was miserable, my husband and I were devastated after losing Lady. We sort of started the long journey of growing apart. We still were best friends and had wonderful times, but he stopped being attracted to me and that was really really hard.
So, after three months of watching Koty mope around and be sad, we decided he needed a new friend to cheer him up. And we were TOTALLY right. We found this pathetic creature on Petfinder.com named Lady, which was weird enough - but she looked like Koty's sister! Look at these two! (We renamed her Sadie because it was too weird to call her Lady...)
|Koty's new friend, Sadie. The world's OLDEST most pathetic creature.|
She had arthritis all through her spine and back legs and was certainly not 6 years old as I had been told! The vet and I think she was probably closer to 10 when we adopted her. She had an emergency splenectomy after a tumor burst in her spleen. So, that was fun. Then Koty got attacked by a fucking out of control American bulldog. The dog ripped his throat out (not exaggerating - I will not show the pictures - it's disgusting). Koty had to go through two extensive surgeries (over 250 stitches) to put him back together.
Then Koty got very sick about a year later with an inexplicable liver infection. We tried everything to get him well, but he had lost his fight. Koty died in September of 2011. He was almost 14.
By this time, Sadie had gotten ancient and had dementia really badly. She had depended on Koty for all of her cues. After he died, she screamed and cried most nights because she didn't know where she was and what was going on. I even slept on the couch in the living room so she could find me, but she still cried all the time. So we had to let her go just 2 weeks after Koty died.
I'm crying right now thinking about that terrible time. I knew that my husband and I were splitting - we had decided to stay together for the dogs' sake.
After Koty and Sadie died, we had to face harsh reality. We went through the motions, had our one last big Halloween bash - and we knew our marriage was over, but none of our party-goers knew except for two of our friends, Tom and Christine. It was a weird secret to carry around, but we didn't want to ruin our one big, last farewell party. It was farewell to everything that had been familiar for 13 years. Not a drop in the bucket.
I still miss my old house and my ex-husband and my beautiful dogs and my life back then. I felt like the luckiest soul on the planet for all of my blessings.
When it was all gone, I just didn't know how I could possibly carry on and start all over again. I was so beaten down by life and loss and both my Grandmas dying and my beloved Grandpa, then my beautiful friends Marilyn and Marcel...I just couldn't take one more shitty thing happening.
And then came N & K...These two ladies basically nursed me back to health. They made sure I was eating (I dropped like 25 pounds from not eating). They made sure I was getting out of bed (sometimes I'd lie and say I was up and N would inevitably call me back and call me out on my lies!!). They listened to me cry and grieve and they saved me from doing something terrible.
My family and a few choice friends were always there for me, too. I'm utterly SO very thankful for such wonderful souls in my life.
|The chickens remembered me!! I had been there about 2 years ago and also have done some projects with the folks at Maitland Mountain Farm who keep the chickens running free in the summer at their farm in Salem! I had met "the girls" on several occasions as they were running about the property as we were in the greenhouses or picking flowers or hanging out on their big porch! The chickens are a hoot! |
Each has her own personality and they love being talked to. So, the girls and I talked for a while when I was at Russell Orchard. This is where they stay for the winter in a big, comfy, warm coop.
|In the foothills of the Chugach Mountains last Sunday.|
Thanks for reading! Have a safe and Happy Halloween!