Saturday, November 11, 2006


***GUEST PET: Okay, I have to be honest about this. Cathy Gillen Thacker is a very close friend of mine but that isn't why I read her wonderful books . . . or why you should read her wonderful books too. She also has a terrific website and if you haven't discovered Cathy yet, it's a great place to start.

See that gorgeous blond bombshell over there? That's Regan Thacker, at age 9, surveying her backyard kingdom.

I'll let Cathy tell you more.

"When our previous golden retriever, Max, died suddenly at age 13, of a stroke, my husband and I were heartbroken. Max was a part of the family.He had helped us bring up the kids, and (happily) stayed after the last one had left for college, the year before. We had known for about four months that Max was sick and did not have long to live--and we had tried to prepare ourselves for what was coming as we kept him as comfortable as possible.

The one thing we were in firm agreement on was that there would be no more pets. The kids were gone, we didn't have time to devote to a pet, this was it for us. Then it happened and we were beside ourselves with grief. The house was so quiet. Too quiet.

By the end of the weekend, I was secretly checking out the ads in the paper. My husband was doing the same thing. Finally, I confronted him, and he admitted he had been "just looking" at the pet ads, he knew our agreement. I told him I wanted a dog. Was I crazy...? If so, I had company.

Anyway, I started making calls, and before the end ofthe day had located a new litter of goldens through our local AKC chapter. We went to see them, and were smitten. I'd like to say, as we visited the puppies over the next seven weeks, that we picked Regan, but the truth was ,she picked us. She was the one who was so shy she couldn't come out from behind the skirt on a chair, the one who was smart enough to figure out how to get to her mother when her mother leaped over a log too tall for her to jump. (She went around, and led the other litter mates in a merry chase.) She was the one who every time we visited somehow ended up on our laps. She was the runt of the litter. She was sweet and shy and afraid of practically everything. And we love her dearly.

She hangs out in my office while I write, takes road trips with us, and watches over the grandkids. Here's a photo of her, surveying her backyard, at age 9...."***

I cast on for a Perfect Pouch and am two rows away from binding off. Next stop: attached I-cord edging and straps. Have I mentioned lately how much I love Noro Kureyon? The color changes are literally mind-altering. I swear to you I zone out when I knit with Kureyon. If you could read my mind when I'm knitting with it you'd hear things like, "Ooooh, I love turquoise . . . look! look! . . . here comes the purple . . . is that fuchsia up ahead . . . come on emerald green . . . don't be shy. . . "

Hey, it's better than searching for the marital records of your late (100 year old) grandfather or trying to explain why your late 84 year old uncle never married and never had children. (Could it be because his father married enough for everyone?) (Could it be because most of the family thought he was gay?) I mean, how do you prove a negative? Not doing something doesn't leave footprints. Not doing something is transparent. My uncle lived with us for most of my childhood. He stayed with us for most of my teens. He was part of my life into my early 50s. And he never once mentioned a woman (or a man, for that matter), received a personal phone call, or introduced us to a friend.

He had an IQ above 160, understood things on a level most of us can't comprehend and had no patience with mere mortals who couldn't grasp what he was trying to convey. (Ever tried to learn to bowl or play chess at the hand of a genius master of the game who was profoundly deaf and highly impatient? Not a happy experience for a 9 year old who loved gutterballs and leading with her knight.)

What does this have to do with knitting? I'm not exactly sure except that my uncle would probably have been good at it. He would have loved the mathematical principles at work beneath the surface and definitely would have loved EZ's theories. Uncle Budd, after all, was the guy who bought 1000 sparkly green plastic straws, spilled them across my mother's kitchen table, then turned them into a six foot wide three-dimensional Christmas chandelier one long ago December weekend. There's no way I can explain the wonder of that to a judge. There's no way I can thank my uncle for bringing magic into my life.

My much-married grandfather Loren McNutt also found time to put his old sailor skills to work designing and making beautiful bags that I cherish. He was in his 80s when he created this one.


Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

I just lost my Max, also a golden, also at age thirteen, so I read about Regan with longing. She's just beautiful and I want another dog too. My husband isn't quite ready.

Barbara, the bag your grandfather made is stunning. I also would love to have seen the six-foot-wide Christmas chandelier. It sounds extraordinary!

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Denise said...

Wow great bag! You must cherish that heirloom so much! My grandfather too was a knitter. Wish there was something left from his knitting.

6:47 PM  
Anonymous KaliAmanda said...

That bag totally rocks! Reminds me of this dainty top that I absolutely cherished and it would have gone so sweetly with that little purse. Put a small in my face early in the morn...

10:07 AM  
Blogger Red Rocket said...

I absolutely love that bag. Kudos to the sailor. It'd be an interesting task to write a pattern for that gorgeous thing.

5:05 PM  

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