Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Dog of Flanders and Other Stories

When I arrived at my mother's to take her out to dinner last week, her first words were, "Oh, girl of Flanders, where is your dog?"  I knew instantly that she must have been making a reference to my wearing a new hat that she had not yet seen.  Her memory is remarkable for all sorts of strange accumulation, and I was sure that she was accurate in her illustration recall.  I pealed in laughter at her literary connection to my wardrobe.  My mother has advanced glaucoma, so I am astonished that she can see any detail at all!  Her mind, however is quite sharp.

When I got home, I pulled out my copy of A Dog of Flanders just to see how accurate her memory was.

She was spot-on correct!  Old Jehan Daas has on my hat, or I his, whichever way you want to see it. 


This then inspired me to dress up in my hat, a peasant type blouse, black pants, vest, and the wooden shoe (singular) that I found in the alley last year.  Here I am with Chewbacca, otherwise known as Chewy, surely the cutest dog in the world (Hollywood take note, because he is getting up in years).  He is striking a proud pose as THE Dog of Flanders.  At a strapping 65 pounds, he could surely pull a cart if he was so inclined to do.  Usually, he just pulls on the leash. Like the dog, Pastrache, who was abandoned,  I found Chewy as a puppy at a shelter.  He had been found wandering in an alley.  Oh, I would have adopted all his siblings, too, if I could have!

As my mother and I proceeded down the hall, I told her that I had just bought a new pair of shoes to wear for my third speech with Toastmasters.  She responded, "What good will the shoes be on your feet, if the audience can't see them?  Why not put them on your ears instead?  Then they can see them!"

Again, I knew she must be making a literary reference to a favorite childhood book, Little Black Sambo. I remember being fascinated at how the tigers  ran around the tree so fast that they turned into butter that was then used to make an enormous pile of pancakes, striped orange and black just like the tigers.

 I couldn't wait to see what the new shoes would look like on my ears.  Using a headband that my daughter, Emily, had concocted for some costume or other served as the tiger reference.  I think that the shoes would have to hang on my ears toes down, because my ears don't stick up like tiger ears do.  Charlie Sheen take note! 

My mother and I continued down the hall singing "Here We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder..." She can remember the lyrics to innumerable songs, poems, plays, and prayers.  I treasure every moment with her and marvel at how did I end up being as I am with her as my mother?

Well, I got fixated on dress-ups, never mind that I was no longer a child, but in spirit, YES!  Another recent purchase was a pair of high black leather boots.  What literary connection could that be other than pirates and swashbucklers?  As the only upbeat story of this trilogy, I thought of Puss In Boots, because that way, I could star one of my cats.

I had wanted to have Simon in this photo shoot, but he was prowling the neighborhood.  Howard, in his usual nap at home, was roused, and recruited.

Here we are, my mother and I, celebrating my recent birthday.  We always precede dinner with martinis, straight up, one olive. And may we have many, many more!  There are so many stories to share. 


  1. well, I'm guessing the martinis must have had something to do with the shoes on the ears.

    the hat? yes! the boots? OMG, absolutely!! but try the shoes on the feet [by now you've removed the army boots, right?] and see how they look there. or maybe start your toastmasters gig with a little joke - tell this story and put your shoes on your ears - briefly.

    thanks for sharing. ps: your mom looks like she's a lot of fun. does she have her finger in your ear????

  2. Is that in relation to the little dutch boy who put his finger in the dike? Do you think my mom is trying to prevent my brains running out on the floor?