Floyd Steven Little was born, along with his fraternal twin Lloyd Sterling Little, on March 7, 1937 in Clovis, New Mexico. The twins were a surprise to their parents and three much older siblings. When they were 12, they learned how to drive a car. When they were 14 they sent away for their driver’s licenses – they didn’t need to take a test for a license back then.
By the time they were 15, all their siblings had migrated to California. Floyd and Lloyd wanted to move there as well. Their mother didn’t want to go so the twins announced that they were moving with or without them. Consequently, their parents helped pack up the car and the twins took turns driving cross-country, settling in Clovis, California. On the way, they were delayed by the 1952 Kern County 7.3 magnitude earthquake. They were ascending the Grapevine on Highway 99 when it occurred. Due to the debris and subsequent mayhem, the family was stranded on the highway for 8 hours, significantly worrying their siblings.
They attended Clovis High School where Floyd joined the track team as a sprinter, a trait he would later pass down to his daughter. They weren’t allowed to graduate until they passed the school’s driver’s training course. Their argument that they had already been driving for years fell on deaf ears and they reluctantly took the class. Floyd graduated from Fresno State College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. While attending college, he worked for Santa Fe Railroad’s engineering department, and for a construction company at the Tioga Pass expansion in Yosemite National Park. After graduation, he landed a job with the City of Sanger where he eventually became Director of Public Works and Planning.
He decided to make a career change and became a realtor for his nephew-in-law’s subdivision. When the subdivision was sold-out, he began working at the California Department of Transportation as a permit engineer issuing permits for encroachments within the state, including special events. This enviable position required that he be on location for events that were on the state right-of-way. He was able to meet famous people such as Daryl Hannah, Rosie Perez, Andy Garcia and even famous artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude when they created the temporary work of art entitled The Umbrellas along Interstate 5 through the California Grapevine.
Upon retirement, he extensively traveled including places like Egypt and Ireland. Throughout his life he was a great lover of dogs. He was never without one, or two, or five of them at his side. The wreath on his door where he lived said ‘Dogs welcome, people tolerated.’ Those who knew him will smile knowingly at this phrase.
He died of a combination of lung cancer, stroke and dementia. He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law Jolene & Robert Polyack, his grandsons RJ and Michael Polyack, his son Jerad Little, and his brother and sister-in-law Lloyd and Nancy Little. He is laid to rest close to his siblings and parents, Oras and Effie Little, at the Clovis Cemetery in Clovis, California. Many of the Little family are also buried at the Clovis Cemetery in Clovis, New Mexico.
When I remember Pogo, I go back to the day all four of his family members took him for a walk around the ponding basin. He had a spring in his step that made his cute little ears flop up and down. His gait looked like a prance, as if he was so proud to be with his peeps.
He left this world on June 30, 2022 peacefully going to sleep in his bed on the floor next to us. He never woke up. Here is his story:
He joined our family when another family decided to take him to the SPCA. Before he was driven there, my dad asked if he could take him instead, which they agreed to. My dad posted a picture of him on Facebook and I called to inquire about the dog. I asked if he could come for a sleepover and my dad agreed. Once he got to our home, that was it. He was an immediate member of our family. He went with us everywhere.
Michael was his Best Friend, RJ was his Bro Bro.
We created a Facebook page for him called ‘Pogo Polyack,’ it’s still up if you would like to visit.
When any of us left and came back, he would first see who was coming in, then he would go to his pile of toys, we all would ask, ‘What you gettin’?’ as he carefully chose one and prance it toward the returning family member while wagging his entire hind quarters and walking around with said toy. Once we saw what he had chosen we would say ‘Oh, (fill in the toy name).’ We always used the same name for the same toy. His selection included big reindeer, little reindeer, puppy, stocking, bear, dog, tiger, and beaver. Regarding tiger, Pogo found him on the road during a walk. He picked him up and carried him all the way back to the house.
He hated to be alone. If we were all gone, he would howl loudly. If we were walking, we could hear his howling from half a block away.
The vet said that he had a rare tail because of the double twirl. When he was relaxed, the tail would unwind. It would re-wind quickly at anything that made him more aware.
We had several nicknames for him including Rare-tailed-Pug, Pugalicious, and Pogohontis.
He loved going for walks. If the word was ever used, he would jump up and begin barking. As he got older, the walks got shorter until he couldn’t walk except for around the house and yard.
He also especially liked the word ‘meat.’ Every night at 5 pm he expected a few pieces of ham. He knew when it was time, but occasionally tried to trick us into thinking it was time when it wasn’t.
Because of his big neck and little face, he had to really work at eating. Consequently, he would get food all over his neck. I had to take a wet paper towel to clean it off after every meal. He got used to this procedure. When I would say, ‘Ladies like a clean bib,’ He would lift his head up and back so that I could wipe him down.
One day when my husband was taking Pogo for a walk a French Bulldog named Cupcake attacked him and bit his eye. By the next morning, the eye had turned blue. We had to go to the emergency pet hospital 30 miles away and wait for several hours to be seen. The vet said that he would have lost the eye if we had waited another day. After several weeks of medication, where I would say, ‘Look up at the sky. See the birds?’ he would lift his head up so that I could put the drops in his eye. He never was able to see out of it again, but he got to at least keep it in the socket. It took some time before he learned his way around without bumping into walls and furniture. We can mark this as the beginning of his slide into old age.
Toward the end, he would stand in front of a wall and stare at it for long periods of time. He would get overheated, so we had to keep the air conditioning on. He had a doggie door and would go outside in the heat and forget how to get back in the house.
When he left, it was interesting to realize how integrated he was in our lives. I could now open the front door in the mornings for fresh air without worrying that he would escape, I could unload groceries without him dashing over to the neighbor’s yard to leave a present, I didn’t have to feed him twice a day, there was more room in the office and master bedroom without his beds. So many memory triggers for each of us.
When he first came to live with us we had a Catahoula Leopard Dog named Catahoula, or Cat. Pogo loved her dearly, as did we all. When Cat passed, all of us were sad and Pogo became even more focused on us. We imagine that he is with her now in heaven, chasing butterflies and waiting for the rest of his family to reunite with him.
There never has, and never will be, a pug that is loved more than Pogo Polyack.
We’ve spent a lifetime enjoying fireworks shows on holidays, at games, and at a variety of events. But what is involved in preparing a fireworks show? Jennifer Waite, local show producer for PyroSpectaculars, jokes that there’s a lot of work in fireworks.
Waite explained the process using the annual Kingsburg Independence Day celebration as an example. The Kingsburg Chamber of Commerce sponsors the event yearly on July 3 at the Kingsburg High School football stadium. Each year, the show is customized taking into account variables such as where the audience is located, what the weather will be like that day, structures that are close by, where the fireworks racks will be located, how long the show will last, what time the show will begin and what the budget will be. No two shows are alike.
Costs range from $15,000-$40,000 depending on the show. Once a deposit is received, the fireworks are ordered from overseas, often China. They’re ordered months, if not years, in advance and are placed in a warehouse. Interestingly, China only has one port that allows for the shipment of fireworks which lengthens how long it takes to arrive. When asked about supply chain issues, Waite said that hers were ordered pre-pandemic, so there haven’t been problems. Her bigger challenge is obtaining rental trucks. She is competing with companies like Amazon and UPS to obtain rental trucks on the dates that she needs them.
As the show date draws nearer arrangements are made to transport the fireworks to the location. A variety of permits and paperwork are required, even a surface road route needs to be submitted for approval. On the day of the event racks are built, strategically placed and cleated in an area that is fenced in so no non-crew member can get too close. By now, all the crew have been qualified and confirmed to be over the age of 18. The fire authorities can inspect at any time. They look for fire extinguishers, the quality of the canisters, the placement of the canisters, the ages of crew members, and the operator’s current license.
The State Fire Marshall issues the operator licenses. Each year, the operator is given a sticker similar to the car registration stickers on license plates. The thickness of those stickers is a matter of pride. It indicates how long the operator has been doing shows.
An operator and his/her crew are assigned to each show. In Kingsburg’s case the same family has produced the shows for decades. When the operator, Ron Fernandez, passed away no other family member wanted to become an operator so Waite’s daughter, Jamie Wright, stepped in to operate with the Fernandez family crew. Wright, and the Fernandez family crew also have full time jobs elsewhere.
According to Waite, “The operator is considered an artist and the show is artistry. They determine the altitude of the fireworks, color combinations, frequency and type of fireworks. The show will include higher fireworks, combined with shorter ones. There will be pauses for the sky to become completely black, because the dark sky is considered the fabric that is being used to paint the sky. Sometimes you want to slow down in anticipation of the buildup. Towards the end there’s usually a 1 to 1 ½ minute finale. It’s all hands-on deck, everyone shoots and gives that final effect that the audience is expecting.
When it’s time to begin the show, everyone is in their assigned place and knows which mortars to set off when. Like a symphony, the operator is the conductor and the crew have the instruments to create the art from a combined effort. Even the music has been choreographed into the production.
After, the crew waits for the racks to cool, then everything is loaded up and transported to the next show. Locally, Waite manages 90 shows per year.
As mentioned earlier, the operator for Kingsburg’s July 3 event is Jamie Wright. At a young age, she worked in a fireworks stand with her parents. They would bring home fireworks and she would create a show in their front yard. Her interest in fireworks continued to blossom. Just days after her 18th birthday she began working on a crew. Just after her 21st birthday she applied and was granted an operator’s license. When the Fernandez family needed a new operator, she was able to slip right into the role and has continued the tradition.
I had the opportunity of observing the show from behind the scenes at this year’s event. It takes about 12 hours to set up, be inspected by the local fire officials, load the canisters with fireworks, launch the show, wait for the fireworks to cool, and load them onto the truck. You are not allowed in the area unless you wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, closed-toe shoes, a hardhat and goggles.
The material for the canisters is delivered separately from the actual fireworks. The canisters get there first and the crew begins lining them up. Once the fireworks are delivered, security becomes tightened. No one under the age of 18 is allowed in the area and there must be someone always guarding them.
The most interesting part of the experience was watching the crew light the fireworks. One member crouches down with a punk and lights the fuse. There is a person behind him/her watching for burning ambers once it’s ignited. The operator is further off telling them how fast or slow to go depending on the choreography of the show. Because of the demanding physicality for the person lighting the fireworks, the lighter is exchanged several times.
The finale canisters are set away from the regular show’s canisters. In our show there were 660 fireworks in total. Of those, 125 were earmarked for the finale. Only one fuse is lit and then the entire set is structured to go off in the order of all the connected fuses.
The perspective from the backstage vantage point is completely different than from the audience’s perspective. But, it’s fireworks so whether you’re in the front or the back of the show, you’ll definitely get a bang for the buck.
Someone asked if I could meet anyone from any time, who would it be? I’ve narrowed it down to five. Here they are:
Jesus – Only one question, “What do I need to know?”
Judas- Also only one question, but with the ability to ask follow-up questions, “After all that you witnessed, what on earth were you thinking?”
Adolf Hitler-I wouldn’t have a specific strategy, it would be more organic depending on how I initially assessed him. Ultimately, the goal would be to figure out his thought process and the ‘why’ for everything he did.
Benjamin Franklin-I would want to shadow him for a day or so, asking questions along the way. Such a diversified and influential person, the goal would be to learn a thing or two from his intellect.
The World Leader of the year 2122-“What should we have done differently? What did we get right? Who are considered the best people of 2022? What should I invest in now? How would you describe the world in your time?”
Who would you want to meet and what would you say?
It seems like there is a cultural push to curtail bullying. At first glance it seems like the right thing to do however, the more I’ve thought about it the more I’m not so sure.
When I was very young a neighbor girl named Tina pulled a fist full of hair from my scalp. I told my parents and they said it was OK for me to do it back if there was a next time. I thought, ‘why wait?’ As soon as I saw her, I walked right up and pulled a fist full of her hair out. She ran home crying and told her mom, who consequently came over to talk to my parents. To the best of my recollection, this is the first time I was bullied and I’m happy to report, the last time either girl had their hair pulled out. Although I can still remember the strange and painful feeling and the sound that it created.
When I was a few years older, I was at the local skating ring where Girl Scouts troops were having a special day. There was a girl from another troop who I didn’t like. I don’t remember why. I badgered her for most of the event until towards the end, she started crying. I was happily satisfied at first, but then felt terrible a bit later. I didn’t get in trouble at all for some reason.
In Junior High a girl by the name of Grace, of all names, decided she wanted to scare me. For weeks she kept threatening me. A casual friend noticed this and said that all I had to do was threaten her back. She also gave me pointers on fighting, just in case the plan didn’t work. The next time Grace threatened me, I threatened her back and offered to fight her after school. Before the end of the school day, I was called into the principal’s office. Grace had turned ME in! To this day I smile at how insightful my friend had been. And no, I didn’t get in trouble that time either. The principal had been aware of the entire situation.
I have many other examples where I was bullied. I am glad that I only bullied someone once and then felt bad. I’m also proud that after Grace, I haven’t backed down when someone’s trying to make me the victim.
The point of this rendition of my childhood is to show that a person can be the bully or the victim at various stages of their lives. I think experiencing both is part of maturing. When we try to buffer our children from bad experiences then they are ill prepared for adulthood where the stakes are much higher. I also suspect that safe rooms and ‘everyone gets a trophy’ are results of our cultural attempt to protect our children. I would argue that it’s better they learn these lessons as children than as adults.
Last year, I heard a sermon by Pastor Wally Mees that has resonated with me. He's been kind enough to allow me to post it here for your reading pleasure. If it's too long for you, skip to the last five paragraphs. I love his insight!
Good morning, friends. Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Heavenly Father and from our Lord and blessed Savior, Jesus the Christ.
I'm Pastor Wally Mees, again joining you on this Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost. Our Gospel lesson is the story of one of Jesus' miracles: the restoration of sight to a man named Bartimaeus. Being blind, Bartimaeus had no way to support himself but to sit on the side of the Jericho Road and beg for alms.
As we dig into this story of the restoration of his sight, we'll look at three characteristics of Bartimaeus that can teach us a thing or two. They are faith, gratitude and loyalty, and cultivating them all will serve every Christian well in our relationship with our Lord Jesus. Let's review the story from Mark 10:46-52:
46 And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” 50 And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.
The first thing we must notice about Bartimaeus is his Faith, which can be seen in his persistence, in his recognition of Jesus as "Son of David," and in his trust that Jesus would heal him. As soon as Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was the reason for the crowd he could hear coming toward him, he began making a fuss and calling out in order to get Jesus' attention. When people tried to shush him, perhaps because he was keeping them from hearing what Jesus was teaching, he shouted all the louder, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"
He was not going to be shushed; instead, he continued to seek Jesus' attention. Whatever he had heard about Jesus, it had led him to two convictions: he believed Jesus was the Son of David, and he believed Jesus could give him back his sight.
And you know what? He was healed! What's that saying? The squeaky wheel gets the grease? Well in Bartimaeus' case, it certainly did. Soon, Jesus stopped his forward progress and said to someone near him in the crowd, "Call him." Someone did just that, relaying the message, saying, "Take heart, get up; he is calling you." Bartimaeus was so excited that he threw off his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Before we go on, let's look again at that cloak. What is the significance of a blind man's cloak? Some commentators write that the cloak was the all-purpose garment of the poor in Jesus' time. It was shelter from sun or rain in a climate much like here in Central California. It was also both bed and covering each night for one who may have had, as Jesus described himself, nowhere to lay his head. It would be something to hang onto, especially for someone who was blind. How would he ever find it again if he tossed it away? Yet Bartimaeus is described as throwing off this necessary and all-purpose garment in his rush to respond to Jesus' invitation to come to him.
Another writer suggests that the fact that Bartimaeus threw off his cloak rather than keeping it with him shows just how confident he was that Jesus would heal him. He could let go of the cloak, because once his sight was restored, he'd be able to look for and find it again. This shows his optimistic trust in Jesus; another sign of his faith in Jesus. But there's more.
Jesus, of course, does heal Bartimaeus, quite easily with just a word, and apparently quite instantly. Then Jesus says, "Go your way. Your faith has made you well." But look what happens next: Bartimaeus does not go away. The Gospels are quite clear that Jesus healed hundreds of people during his ministry, and about 40 of those healings are described in detail. According to another author, of the 40 miracles so described, only Bartimaeus "...followed him on the way."
Well, not to take anything away from Bartimaeus, but let's not forget Mary Magdalene, who certainly followed Jesus and supported his ministry after he delivered her from demon possession. It is true that her deliverance is not described in detail but only mentioned, but in any case, Bartimaeus is so grateful that he becomes a follower of Jesus.
Moved by gratitude, Bartimaeus does not go his way, but follows Jesus and, for all we know, becomes one of the additional followers who make up the five hundred who saw Jesus after his Resurrection, as Paul recounts in I Corinthians 15:6. Another reason for thinking that Bartimaeus became a loyal follower of Jesus is that he is named. Among the few others who are named are Jairus' daughter and Mary and Martha's brother Lazarus. Can you think of anyone else?
What can we learn from this story? Well, we've identified a number of characteristics of Bartimaeus that we might want to cultivate in our own lives. He began with an amazing faith. Whatever he had heard about Jesus had led him to faith that this man, this rabbi, this Jesus could restore his sight. He knew he needed Jesus to help him, and he believed Jesus could do so if only they could meet.
Jesus said to him, "your faith has made you well," and many people miss an unstated truth in what Jesus says. Faith, or faith in faith, as so many people seem to believe, is not what made Bartimaeus well. What made him well was his faith in Jesus. Who made him well was Jesus himself. We must remember to place our faith in the only One who has the power to help us: Jesus our Lord.
In addition to faith, many people claim to believe in prayer. I do not believe in prayer. I believe in the One - Jesus - to whom I pray. Faith in Jesus, prayer to Jesus; trust in Jesus - those are the marks of Christians, among whom we may count Bartimaeus. But he responded to Jesus' healing him with a wonderful response: Gratitude. Much as he believed Jesus could heal him, he clearly did not believe he was entitled to a miracle. We know that because of his gratitude.
Bartimaeus' gratitude is a wonderful example for us to follow. Most people want to be happy, and I bet you are no different, nor am I. And the surest key to happiness is gratitude. For some reason, people ask me if I am proud to be an American. Have you ever been asked that? When I have been asked, I quietly answer no. I did nothing to become an American. I was simply born here.
When asked if I am proud, I reply that rather than proud, I am grateful. I am grateful to be an American. I am grateful for my parents. I am grateful for my wife of 47 plus years, our wonderful son and daughter-in-law and the many great friends and family members with whom I am blessed. I am grateful for so very many blessings, particularly for the blessing of having Jesus as my Savior and Lord, but I don't think I'm entitled to them nor am I proud of them.
Gratitude seems to be in short supply these days, and along with the drop in gratitude is the growth of entitlement. People seem to believe they are entitled to an ever-growing list of rights. "I have a right to this; I have a right to that." And when entitlement replaces gratitude, joy and happiness are the casualties.
This ever-increasing list of rights - you can even find a long United Nations-sponsored list of "human rights" - is in sharp contrast to the three rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence. Those three - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - are conspicuous in not including equality or this strange new use of the word equity. What did our founders know that we do not and why have so many of our contemporaries forgotten what the founders knew?
At any rate, may we in the days and weeks to come make Bartimaeus our example, renewing our own resolve to follow Jesus just like he did. Bartimaeus had faith in Jesus. He was truly grateful, and rather than go about his life as if nothing had happened, he celebrated his blessing of restored sight by loyally following Jesus on the way. May we do the same. Amen
In January, our 12-year-old pug started to become confused. He would walk into furniture, stare at walls and lose his balance. One day it was so bad that we took him to the vet. Anticipating the worst, everyone said their last goodbyes to him.
The veterinarian said that Pogo had the equivalent of Alzheimer’s and his days were probably numbered. He explained that some days would be better and some worse. We could choose to put him down, or just wait until Pogo was more afflicted. We wanted more time with our beloved pug, so we opted to bring him back home and make him as comfortable as possible.
A few days later, I remembered that I had purchased Ruff Greens and never opened the package. It’s a canine supplement that you mix into their regular food. I thought that maybe the commercials claiming, among other things, a ‘vibrant youthful energy’ were true. I let Pogo smell it first. He wasn’t sure how he felt about it. I mixed it in his food and he took a small bite. Then another and another until the bowl was empty. He started licking the bowl to get every piece. Funny that the advertisement says ‘You’ll have him licking the bowl’ turned out to be true.
He's been fed 1 tablespoon of Ruff Greens once a day with his regular food for about two weeks. Each day he is improving and yesterday he actually asked to go for a walk. He hasn’t wanted to walk the neighborhood for months. It used to be his favorite thing to do. During the outing he pranced like a pup, as happy as can be. I’m just amazed at his recovery and thankful that I found something to prolong his sweet life.
For a few years now, I have had a rash. It’s very aloof. It will appear and last for days or even weeks and then disappear only to return later. It travels around my body as if it’s on an exploration mission. It is itchy to the point that I’m scratching it in my sleep and making it bleed. Sometimes it’s so bad that I have to wear baggy clothes that touch my skin minimally.
When it first began, I went to my family physician. He prescribed medicine that didn’t work. After exhausting his non-successful remedies, he referred me to a dermatologist. This dermatologist diagnosed the rash and prescribed medicine. No luck.
I requested a different referral. Same thing.
I requested a different referral. Same thing.
As of now, I’ve been to five doctors regarding the rash. This is over years because I stop remedy pursuit when the rash disappears and begin pursuit when it reappears.
Finally, it was suggested that I go to my original dermatologist, the one I had before we had children and health insurance became so expensive that we had to switch to an HMO. I paid cash because she doesn’t accept my insurance. She asked what previous biopsies had shone. I told her that no one had biopsied the rash. She was visibly shocked. And for a few hundred additional dollars, I could have her do one. I agreed. When the results came in, they showed that it was an allergic reaction. She suggested seeing an allergist. I had to go back to my family physician to get a referral to an allergist.
The allergist tested my skin and the panel showed I was allergic to just about everything. I found that odd as I’ve never had typical allergy problems. I never did see an actual allergist, only nurses who said I could either come in periodically for shots, or take Claritin. I opted for the Claritin.
Over the course of this odyssey, I had been prescribed medicine such as Imiquimod Cream, Triamcinolone Acetonide, Hydroxyzine HCL, Fluocinonide, and Fluorouracil Cream to name a few. Unbelievably, the Claritin worked. Now, every time the rash appears, I simply pop the tiny pill for a few days and voila, it’s gone.
First, I’m grateful that I’m no longer experiencing discomfort. Second, I’m incredulous with our health care system that made me go through all of this nonsense when there was a simple solution all along. And finally, third, I’m less trusting of our healthcare system’s ability to correctly practice medicine. I will be much more diligent on who treats me and for what.
Portillo's Holiday Tails
Rusty was feeling sad. All of his friends were gone. As he rested his head between his paws on the cement slab his eyes darted left and right, wondering who would be his next roommate. As each dog approached he made a quick assessment. The one with spots looked angry. The coffee colored one looked too excited, which would be annoying. After hours of this analysis, Rusty began to think that he wouldn’t have a new roommate. Maybe he would get a cage all to himself. Maybe, just maybe, he would get adopted himself. As soon as the thought entered his head, he pushed it out again. He didn’t want to allow himself the vulnerability of having his feelings hurt again. He ate his bland dinner and had a little drink of water. He didn’t want to drink too much because he didn’t like to do business in the cage; his previous owner would be appalled if she knew he had already done this for weeks. He curled up in the corner and fell asleep. He dreamt that he was running in the grass of his old back yard. The children were with him laughing and jumping, just like he was. He was so happy he thought his heart would burst. He could smell the clean air, and hear his owner’s voice as she called the children and himself back into the house.
He awoke with a start. One of the people at the facility was standing in front of his cage with a man who had a beard the same color as his own fur. The man’s eyes were blue and kind. Rusty couldn’t help himself as his tail began to sway back and forth, slowly at first, but then faster and faster as he realized that this man might actually take him home with him. He forgot to contain his thoughts and began having images of running in the grass with children again, having a cozy bed to sleep in. Getting to sleep through the night without others making noises. His heart pounded. He looked into the man’s eyes and pleaded as best he could to take him home.
The man spoke. Rusty wasn’t sure if he was speaking to him or to the person who took care of him at the facility, but he liked his voice. It was comforting. The man didn’t take his eyes off of Rusty and seemed to be talking directly to him. Then, both men turned and walked away. So forlorn was Rusty that he began to cry. His cry sounded like a howl; it came from deep within him. Based on his previous experience with having his hopes crushed, Rusty knew he would not be able to calm down for quite some time. He went back to his corner and wallowed in his misery. He would not be able to eat or drink today. He would not be able to do much of anything.
Unexpectedly, and therefore startling Rusty, he heard a soft-spoken voice. So laden with sadness he hadn’t noticed that the blue-eyed man had returned. Rusty saw a leash in the man’s hand. He knew what that meant! He was leaving here! He was going to have a new home! There would be grass and clean air and children to run and play with! As quickly as he had been devastated, he now was thrilled to a point that he might pop. He jumped up with his two front paws, swishing his tail back and forth and licking the chain links that had bound him for so long.
On the way to his new home, Rusty breathed in deeply as he hung his head out of the window. He knew his lips and ears were flying as the air hit his face, but he didn’t care at all. He could ride in a car all day. The man’s car began slowing down and then stopped in front of a house. Rusty’s joy turned to apprehension as he realized that there might be others to meet, and they may not like him. He was nervous and resolved to be on his best behavior.
The man scooped Rusty up into his arms and carried him inside the house. As he opened the door, Rusty could hear the sounds of feet running toward them. His heart pounded. In seconds he and the man were surrounded by three children. Their voices were loud and excited, nervous, he tried to nestle in closer to the man’s chest. But the man talked and Rusty felt better hearing his voice. The man gently placed Rusty into the arms of a boy. Rusty remained very still, not sure what to do or how the others would respond. He was slowly handed from one child to another. He was carried to the kitchen where, for the first time, he was placed on the floor. In front of him was a bowl filled with something that smelled really good. He looked up not sure if it was OK for him to eat it. Everyone was sitting at the table and smiling at him. He looked back at his bowl and took a bite. It was the very best meat he had ever tasted! It was a Portillo’s hot dog! He licked the bowl until there was not a morsel left. When everyone was finished, they went into a room that had a big tree with lots of lights around it and a big star on top. Underneath the tree were more wrapped packages than Rusty had ever seen. He looked around for the first time. It was a nice house. And it had a door that let him go outside whenever he wanted, without asking! While he was exploring the boy placed a package in front of him and began opening it. To Rusty’s delight, it was a new bed for him. He stepped in, circled twice and then laid down. It was soft and fuzzy. He loved it. He loved his new family too. It was the merriest of Christmases for Rusty.
It took over a year and a half, but I finally got COVID. It’s a relief, actually. In case you just want the highlights, it’s like having the flu, except I was never nauseous and never vomited. You sleep for most of it. The loss of taste and smell is so weird. After it’s over, you feel invincible and maybe a little sassy.
I did have a few folks ask me about the experience, so I decided to write it in the log format below. The first question most ask is if I had been vaccinated. The answer is yes. I was vaccinated in April 2021. One doctor said that if I hadn’t been vaccinated it would have been worse. Not sure I buy that, but what do I know.
Saturday, November 6, 2021 - Exposed to COVID
Sunday, November 7, 2021 – Ran a half marathon with no problems, actually my personal best time.
Tuesday, November 9, 2021 – The symptoms began to arrive this afternoon. It started with a headache, sore throat, and chills. I couldn’t get warm, yet had a fever. I became very tired and slept on-and-off that afternoon and evening.
Wednesday, November 10, 2121 – In addition to the symptoms from yesterday, my body began to be achy. I stayed on the couch unless to use the restroom all day and night. My body felt like lead. I didn’t want to sit up, I just wanted to lay flat. I knew I had to cancel everything I had planned to do but it was an effort to gather the strength to make the calls. Robert went to Walgreen’s to purchase COVID test kits. Two come in a kit. The store would only sell him one kit. He explained that there were four of us. He was told to purchase one in the store and then go to the drive-through to get the other. I was positive along with our two boys. Robert’s test was negative. I checked for COVID remedies online. The medical article I read gave specific over-the-counter medicines for each symptom. At the end of the article, it said if you can avoid all medicines and just let your body fight the virus, that is the best strategy. Consequently, I didn’t take anything. I decided to go off Keto and add more carbs to my diet but couldn’t eat very much. Food seemed disgusting and I only had a few bites the entire day. I’m having trouble with eye-hand-coordination.
Thursday, November 11, 2021 – Fever, achy, headache, slight cough. Slept most of the day and night. Occasionally opened my eyes, but only for short periods of time. Just ate small amounts of food. My fever reached its highest at 101.8. Still feeling cold.
Friday, November 12, 2021 – Woke up at 5:30 am. No more headache or fever. I felt weak but better. My nose is running constantly. Went through a box of Kleenex today. My first sip of coffee revealed that I had no sense of taste or smell. The warmth of the coffee felt good on my throat, but it might as well have been hot water. I was able to do small tasks in between series binging.
Saturday, November 13, 2021 – Body isn’t achy, and I have more energy. Still can’t taste or smell and my nose is still runny. It’s odd to eat something that you usually like without being able to taste or smell it.
Sunday, November 14, 2021 – Pretty much a mirror of Saturday.
Monday, November 15, 2021 – Caught a whiff of coffee smell. Realized that if I placed items right up to my nose and inhaled deeply, I could get a slight smell of the item. Still no taste. My nose has stopped running but I can feel congestion in the back of my nasal passage, maybe in my sinus cavity. I had a conversation with my doctor via telephone. He said that with my vaccination and actually having COVID that I was at the very top of being immune at this point. He said I didn’t need to get the booster, although if I wanted to, it won’t hurt. I was able to work and attend meetings via phone.
Tuesday, November 16, 2121 – Energy at near-normal levels. Walked 10,000 steps, did 45 minutes of weights and exercise. I had to remember to avoid people on the walk since I’m in isolation. I actually had someone ask why I crossed the street when I saw him. Surprised that I’m up 4 pounds on the scale. Assuming it’s because I added carbs to my diet over the past few days. I decided to reduce the amount to Keto levels. I noticed that I could smell onion powder and Clorox wipes. Cleaned the kitchen and cooked for the family. Up until now we were surviving on take-out (thank you Robert). My nose ran slightly in the morning. The mucus was thin but bright yellow. After blowing, it didn’t appear again.
Wednesday, November 17, 2021 – Was able to add a four-mile run to my workout with no problems. Still no taste. Smell is very sketchy.
Thursday, November 18, 2021 – My ten-day self-isolation ends today. I’ve got a long list of errands I’ll be doing tomorrow. Looking forward to getting back to normal.
I never had breathing problems. We don’t know why Robert didn’t catch it, perhaps his vaccine worked better than mine. Although the boys were not vaccinated, they didn’t have the symptoms as much as I did. Today is December 4, 2021. I still don’t have full taste or smell. Losing 40% of your senses is definitely the strangest part of the experience. Looking up how long I’ll be deprived, it said on average it’s four weeks. Hoping that’s true.
My doctor suggested that the three of us get our antibodies tested. He thinks at some point proof that you have natural antibodies may suffice instead of a vaccine. Also hoping that’s true.
Thoughts that are alien to any of my other projects can be found here.