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Lisa Kelley-Gibbs: Shared time not wasted

Good ol’ dog helps recovery by Lisa Kelley-Gibbs | July 15, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

It started with a scratchy throat and slight headache on Friday. By Saturday morning, I was a walking advertisement for Nyquil –-- sniffling, sneezing, coughing and aching with a stuffy head and slight fever. And I was highly irritated. The weather was going to be beautiful for the weekend. I had a list of tasks I hoped to accomplish; a social event Saturday night; church Sunday morning; and now I was just going to be wasting time lying around snorting into a snowstorm of tissues. That was not what I'd planned.

The sun arose on Sunday, but I didn't. I felt much worse, and did little more than turn from one side to another all morning. Baxter -- my beloved elderly, blind dog -- snuggled into the small of my back and stayed beside me. Old dogs are good that way. I told him how we humans obsess about time management, and how what we were doing was a Stephen Covey sin.

I told him how my mama scolded me one summer afternoon when she came home to find me lounging on a webbed chaise in the back yard while she had been working at the steel factory. I was about 13 years old and had done several chores, but I had stopped to sunbathe, as teenage girls are wont to do. She wasn't having any of it. I was wasting time, and if she couldn't waste time, I couldn't either. Next thing I knew, she had me bussing tables at a local restaurant.

Bax let out a sigh and dug deeper into my backside. Perhaps he didn't hear me. We drifted in and out of sleep. When we awoke again, I turned toward him to talk in his good ear. I sneezed and explained how we needed to get up, how we were being lazy, and how turning from side to side, we weren't much more than a "Lazy Susan."

Baxter pointed out the inconsistency of calling a workhouse at the center of many a mid-century American and British table "lazy," and was perplexed as to why "Susan" was blamed for it. I had no good answer to that, and told him so. I described to him the brown plastic one that graced my grandmother's Formica kitchen table -- how it was weighed down with salt and pepper shakers, scratch pads, calculators, bills, eye glasses, medication and other odds and ends to the point it barely moved. Her whole world revolved around that disc.

Bax announced that he was feeling a bit peckish and would entertain the notion of being weighed down with some vittles. Trapper John fixed us lunch -- homemade kibble for Bax and soup with extra crackers for me -- and we curled up on the sofa to face the afternoon together.

As we started to drift asleep once more, I whispered to Bax that I thanked him for wasting his day with me.

He yawned, smacked his lips, and supposed that if time must be spent on something, he could think of nothing better to spend it on than each other.

Silly old dog.

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