THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.
In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.
Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.
by Larry Brody
A couple of months ago I wrote about the canine friend I called the Navajo Dog.
About the mystical way she came into my life.
Since then, I’ve heard similar stories of magical human-pet connections from many readers:
The couple in Connecticut who heard a dog howling outside their house and went out to see what was wrong. Who found nothing out there, right or wrong, and went back inside only to discover a bedraggled puppy waiting in their living room.
The little girl in Illinois who accompanied her mother into a mall pet shop for fish food. And came out with a kitten because as soon as it saw her, the little ball of fluff launched itself from the crate it was in and landed squarely on top of the little girl’s head. Where it yowled and cried but never left a scratch, and where it still likes to snuggle up at night to this day.
The teenage boy in Pennsylvania who heard someone—or something—calling to him from the woods and found an injured raccoon. A raccoon that stayed with him as the teen’s pet for the rest of its life. And never once behaved like anything but a friend.
The South African woman who awoke one morning to find a large parrot clinging to the chair before her dressing table. A parrot that called the woman by name, sang what sounded like an aria, and practically lived on her shoulder for over twenty years.
Then there was the California man who’d never been near a horse but had loved reading about them as a kid. “One day, while I was driving along the freeway,” he wrote, “I got a feeling that I should get off at the next exit. I did, and saw a sign for an Arabian Horse ranch. I drove to the ranch, and to make a long story short I saw one of those miniature horses running in a corral.
“The next afternoon that horse was in my backyard. In the years since, he’s been a great friend. He doesn’t eat all that much, my kids love him, and I haven’t had to worry about any of us breaking our necks while learning how to ride.”
My favorite, though, is My Friend the Shark Wrangler. Well, actually, he’s a friend, but I never knew he was a shark wrangler until he called about what I’d written.
“Know how some hotels have dolphin pools that people can swim in?” he said. “And how some people seem to have some kind of special connection to the dolphins so that as soon as these people get into the pool the dolphins race over to them and play like they’re old friends?
“Well, I love to scuba dive, and one day about fifteen years ago that love got me into big trouble. I was in the Navy, taking some R & R in Australia, diving near the Great Barrier Reef. All of a sudden my buddy grabs my arm, and I look up at these two shadows passing over us.”
“Sharks?” I said.
“Black Tip reef sharks,” he said. “My buddy and I froze, but it was too late. They saw us or smelled us or whatever, and circled back our way. One of them came right to my side, and I thought I was dinner for sure. But all it did was nudge me. The other one went a little farther. Started rubbing against me.
“They ignored my buddy and started playing with me. Zipping over my shoulders. Coming up under my legs. It was like finding out that somebody’s big, scary watchdog loved me!
“I stopped being scared and went with it. I even grabbed one by the dorsal fin and let it pull me. My buddy took pictures of me swimming around with these two sharks like they were long lost pets for about half an hour. Until they zoomed off after something else.
“It was so much fun that I was sorry to see them go. And I could swear that they were sorry they had to leave.”
He e-mailed me scans of the pictures, so I know this is true. A man and his two dorsal finny friends.
I should’ve felt, deep inside my soul, that neither the Navajo Dog nor I could really be unique.
I should’ve known it would be everywhere.