Checkers is the new mother of five pups.   This blog is not about dogs; its about REM, bitches, politics, sex and whatever else comes to mind.


In the two weeks Checkers has lived in my home, she has had time to meet all the dogs, cats and humans.    Presently, she is fiercely defending her first and last litter at the expense of her relationship with the black tom kitty.   All the dogs can get over it, tom is deeply offended. He may not tolerate her in the bathroom licking the empty cat food can as he dines.  Louise went to look at the puppies and stood frozen in the doorway at the snarling little dog.   I coaxed Louise out of the doorway.   Checkers was ready to tip the plastic tub over with her babies in a fit of rage.  When the God’s decide to destroy you, they make you angry.

Checkers has trained me well.   A few sharp barks means, I need to go out to pee.   Carry me or I’ll chew up your pit bull as I go through the garage.   A lactating dog needs more food.  Having sat with her as she whelped her pups, she has them pushed to the back and gives me a stern look.  In six weeks, she will bite one for interrupting her nap.  It’s not that I am a dog lover that makes me admires her.   Its the purity of her emotion.  My last year of teaching, I had this pain in the ass mother who came to school with her latest indignation of her child being abused on a too regular basis.   There is a certain admiration you feel for someone snorting and softly stomping their foot as they impatiently wait to give you hell for your transgression.   A transgression deeply rooted in a child’s desire to always get their way and a mother’s lingering memories of being picked on in school.  In the end, the mom was always reasonable, the child really was a good girl, they were just lost in the passion of the moment.  Being an outsider looking in gives you distance.


In a writers workshop, the leader summed up the problem with another writers work.  Too much foreplay, he needed to stop and get to the heart of the story.   I was so impressed.   I had always heard, “Shit or get off the pot.”   Checkers is barking.   Val Kilmer is my topic tomorrow.


Like a guilty conscience, pit bull dog owners defend their dogs. 

Patsy, 2011 copyright Ann Bennett

The dog had been dumped at a vet’s office with a broken leg.  Obviously part black lab which can be some of the gentlest dogs, I named her Louise.  Such a gentle soul who is  the kind of pit bull that is bred by back yard dog fighters.  Louise walks around the house like a pious hillbilly kowtowing to all the mutts.



Her first week at the house, Louise knew the 9 pound, 15 year old poodle was obviously special.  Her best friend is a 20 pound poodle mix and her strawboss is a German Shepherd mix.   I’ve added a pregnant Jack Russell/Chihauhau mix.   Louise has had a hard time accepting Checkers taking over her cage in the bedroom.  All of my pets including the two cats take turns in the cage for serious resting.   Checkers sits like a miserable prisoner.   All that pregnant power has to be contained at times.

Checkers and Louise are probably the same age.   Checkers knows that size and energy can be a problem.   They have a truce that hinges on Louise doing exactly what Checkers wants.   Since it works for them, I don’t interfere.  Louise’s unbridled enthusiasm becomes so gentle and  exudes solicitousness to my  82 year old mother that nothing else in the house enjoys except an elderly cat.  No one talks to the paw.



With the heat of summer, Louise gets a reprieve from the midday sun in the house.  She is usually on the unused twin bed in my mother’s bedroom with my mother’s knowledge instead of her dog bed.  The dog looks longer, lankier and has that certain self satisfied snobbish look of a dowager at a tea party.  The little black dog with a green stick fracture to my house cried when she first came.  Gentle nursing by an elderly yellow lab in the garage slowly gave her confidence.   All that playful energy had to be contained in a cage to give a rest to the injured leg for the first week.  A watchful eye on aggression really never was needed.  Driving into the driveway, a familiar rabbit scurries from the water pool in the front yard.   Louise rises to meet me.


The raw power and jaw of her breed gently she bites my mother’s hand as she pets her.  Dog fighters manipulate fear and insecurity to produce their fighters.  At the vets office when she received her shots and was spayed, the vet told me that there is no truth about pits and pit mixes being dangerous.  They are like people.   They have the personality of the company they keep.  Her best friend is a 20 pound poodle mix I found hitch-hiking along a busy highway.   They gaily spend their days pouncing in the tall grass of my pasture in hunt of the country mouse.

Welcome to the blog of an unintended early retiree. At 56, I have learned the world thinks it can live without a woman of my years input. Retiring to handle the stress of care giving which is the role of many people in my age group.   I’ve had a hard time adjusting to the idea of being a senior citizen.   I’m in my prime.  At least I can go the restroom whenever I want.

I’m not ungrateful.   I’m still the first person in my family to go to college.   Jobs were something to be appreciated and the American work ethic still drives me.   Teaching paid as much in development as a person as monetarily. I had planned to teach at least 40 years.   After 30 years, one year was sick leave, I took my first retirement.   Restless, I took another job as a science coordinator for a non-profit.   Similar to teaching but less lucrative, I quit for a myriad of reasons.  After two years and a half hearted job search, I have accepted my retirement.  Cash-flow and time are always short.

My initial desire to write all whirled around the pursuit of money.    I’m one of those lucky souls who know how to pick professions of little financial pay.    Like teaching, writing offers its rewards.   I never quite “got”  Flannery O’Conner.    While writing about the polarization we have in the United States over politics, I “got” Flannery O’Conner.   Her stories are a reminder of our humanity and the unconditional grace of a patient G_d.  Flannery O’Conner points out the brutal ignorance in us all.

So much is made up about the South.   Southerners are the worst offenders.   Much of what I know about the South I read in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.   The South shares the burden of shame and stigma of slavery and racism more than the rest of the country.   Flannery O’Conner knew we are all flawed.