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Do You Know the Biscuit Man?

Monday, December 18, 2006

He has a biskit, I know he has a biskit. And it is for me. For me. For wonderful me. Hurry please with the biskit, Gene the mailman.

Of the many things and people I am thankful for, one is our mail carrier, Gene. Gene has delivered our mail for 14 years, and the day he retires will be a happy one for him and a sad one for us. When I got mono two winters ago, and was too weak to get to the mailbox, he delivered the mail to the nightstand by the bed. (Where I was lying, editing the manuscript for Letters from Eden, and deciding what illustrations were needed, and where). But there's more. If I want to mail something and don't know what it will cost, I just stick it in the mailbox, and Gene covers it with his own money and puts an envelope with the cost scribbled on it for me to fill the next day. Same with stamps.
Chet Baker knows Gene as The Biscuit Man. He noses Gene's pockets and stands up on him, wanting that biscuit. And this dog, who will not eat a Milk-Bone for love or money, happily crunches them down as long as they're from Gene. (He's just as eager to get Milk-Bones from the drive-through window at the bank, but he usually buries them somewhere in the car. I think it's because he knows the teller can't really see whether he eats it or not). He likes the ritual, and the fact that Gene was thinking about him, and being an appreciative pooch, he eats them with evident enjoyment right on the spot.krounche krounche krounche. I think I'm looking at too much. I sent them Baker pics months ago and they haven't posted them yet. And yet we all know there is nothing cuter than Baker. Except maybe hamsters, piglets, bunnehs, kittehs and Cats N'Racks.

On this day, Gene and I had a lot to talk about. Gene spends all day every day driving the country roads, and he knows a lot about wildlife. On the day after Thanksgiving 2006, though, he saw something in his backyard in Reno, Ohio, that gave him pause. It was larger than his border collies, tawny tan in color, moved with a fluid motion, and had a long tail that brushed the ground, then curved back up. It was a mountain lion.
He keeps a pair of binoculars in his truck, and he trained them on the cat for a good long look. When it disappeared in the brush, heading downhill, he drove to the end of the street and quietly waited. Sure enough, it emerged, and he got to watch it again. He said it was not the least bit concerned about him. But he was concerned for his dogs. He's going to be watching for it. We discussed the possibilities of its being truly wild or released, and given the venue (a thickly settled neighborhood backed by woods) and the fact that his neighbor had seen it tussling with her dogs, we decided it was of suspect origin. I tried to imagine what I would do if I saw Chet with a mountain lion. I would probably leap on its back and get all torn to pieces. People keep the damnedest things, and when they're tired of them, sometimes they let them loose. But then again, maybe mountain lions are around, like ivory-billed woodpeckers are around. I wouldn't be too surprised if they are. Cats are good at hiding. You never know what's out there, or what might have taken a notion to walk a few hundred miles east.

While we were talking, Baker wheedled three Milk-Bones from Gene, and ate them all. He gives Baker a hard time for being a girlydog.

Now this is your last one, you sorry excuse for a huntin' dog.
Note Baker pawdy prints on dusty car. Wrinkled nose indicates he is woo-woo-wooing at Gene. Note scratches too. He has begged here before, and he will beg here again.
Thank you for all your kind words on my blogiversary. I'm honored, and happy to share this life.


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