Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Baltimore's Children

Investigators of the recent Baltimore riots need to speak with Charm City's children. They also need to inventory the childhood activities of both rioters and protestors.

Descriptions of a Baltimore childhood run the full gamut from charming to deadly. One young woman told me she studied ballet for fourteen years. A phalanx of young men told me they spent their childhood setting fires.

Drugs played a significant role in all discussions I witnessed on this subject. Some young Baltimoreans admitted they sold drugs from the age of ten. Others described being on Ritalin for so long that they did not remember their childhood.

Gang membership was a given in some neighborhoods. "Snitches get stitches" was a common saying among gang sympathizers. Gang members may also admit they will NEVER report crimes out of loyalty to their gangs.
In this context, it is worth remembering that gangs fight over turf and drug clientele. The above reports only came to me as I worked in the Baltimore area for five years. More thorough statistics must surely be available from the Community-Organizer-in-Chief.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Dog's Strategy

by Meg Curtis

He left his last bone on my balcony. He licked it a couple of times, and then moved it to the location where he wished it to stay. It remains in that position because I refuse to throw it away.
That dog suffered from canine T cell lymphoma for at least six months. At the end he would not, could not, eat. He turned up his nose at the treats he had begged for as his just reward for filling a hole in the universe the size of Texas at least.
He spent his last two weeks on that balcony. Once I allowed him to go out there by himself, he stretched out flat on the cool concrete. If snow had invaded the concrete, he ate it. If snow filled the air, he greeted it like the best shower on earth.
Steroids kept him alive for six months. For that time, he remained active, although lymphoma was creeping up on him. He began panting heavily, however, and rolled in the snow every chance he got. Walking him got to be a search for the disappearing white stuff.
His passion for my balcony only became clear on Easter morning. Then I stood directly behind him, inside my windows, watching to see what kept his head planted between the protective rails on the balcony. Until I called him regularly, to prevent freezing, he didn't move.
A light snow had descended on Easter morning. Only then did I realize that he wasn't looking at the ground or road nearby. He was pointed across the road, where the snow outlined every branch and bramble. The snow made visible what had been there all along: a rabbit shape.
I kept as still as he did. I waited to see if my imagination was creating fantasies in the snow-lit landscape--until that rabbit took off like a bullet. The dog remained as calm as his breed requires: half cocker and half cavalier, he showed his hunting instincts could never be quelled.
So, I suspect that he dragged that bone out there and planted it exactly where he planned to return--if biology can keep up with the passion of a hunting dog. I told him there are lots of rabbits in heaven. What kind of a place would heaven be without rabbits?
In heaven, of course, a hunting dog doesn't eat rabbits--unless God decides they're overrunning the place. A hunting dog just points them out, waits for his director to decide their fate, and then hands them to God as tenderly as that dog brought me a forgotten slipper.
God speed, my hunter. His breed serves by keeping his eye on essentials. Now, the snow has gone, so the rabbits are still there, along with God-knows-what across the road. The vision he gave me remains: to see through the falderal to the truth, no matter the confusion cleared by Easter.