This past week of the Fourth of July, we came through a week of real hot weather in the low 90s, with high humidity. Many people come to Maine for the cool dry weather but found themselves in the same type of weather as they left back home.
One thing we missed was the nice breeze that usually comes up the Damariscotta River each afternoon. This past week, there seemed to be a calm in the flow of fresh air.
Even our birds kept cool in our shade trees and came often to our bird bath, which we keep full of cool well water during the day.
I found myself watering our flowers and vegetable garden early in the morning and again in the late evening, but things in the garden are really growing. The back lawn and the area around the house has all kinds of white clover in blossom and the bees are working all day on the clover. When we had honey bees, they always enjoyed the raspberry and blackberry blossoms when in bloom and it made a real nice clear honey. We notice the strawberries have been real big and very sweet this year. We both enjoy a lot of fresh fruits.
The pole beans are starting to climb up the poles and the cucumbers are starting to climb the wire fence.
Some of our hollyhocks are over five feet tall and are in full bloom. We both truly enjoy this type of flower and the hummingbirds also. The white hydrangea bush is also in full bloom; we call it “Marjorie and Calvin” because it was given to us as a gift from my cousin Geraldine Hanley on our anniversary some 15 years ago and has done very well on the side lawn in front of the barn.
The plants around our church bell are also doing very well and over 10 years old this year, and when in full blossom the butterflies really love the sweet nectar. Sometimes you can see eight or 10 butterflies on one plant. We find most every type of bee; the bee also likes sweet nectar as well.
Friday night, July 6, when the cold front came through, we were both sitting on the sun porch looking out over the back lawn and beautiful meadow. All at once we felt a real cool breeze coming through the open porch window. My wife exclaimed, “What a wonderful change in the air from the past five nights!”
Then all at once my wife changed the subject and said, “Do you remember all the different type cats we have had over the past years?”
“Yes,” I replied, “and even some of their names and their color and their disposition.”
Then she said we had short-haired as well as long-haired cats and the different type foods that they loved. I replied we used to take them to veterinarian Dr. McClure Day from 1961 to 1980. Mack Day had his veterinarian office in his home just before what is now called Mobius.
My wife spoke up and said, “Do you recall that when we used to take our boxer dog, Blondie, to ride with us in the back seat? Every time we passed or rode by Dr. Day’s office she would move to the other side of the car seat.” How we both laughed at those old memories of bygone days.
Mack Day used to clip both the dogs’ as well as the cats’ nails. We also had Dr. Day spay some of our female cats over the years. Also when we had boxer dogs, Dr. Day would crop their ears after so many months old.
My wife’s parents always had a dog and cat at their place on Round Top. They also had a sheep and hens and a pig or two, and used to board a riding horse for a girls camp on Damariscotta Lake for the fall and winter months. The same was true for Marjorie and I and our son, Robert. We had a sheep, which lived to the grand old age of 12 years; a rabbit; cats; and dogs, which Dr. Mack took care of. So we were always seeing Dr. Day for some medical care for our animals over the years. When Dr. Day retired, we started seeing veterinarian Dr. Christine Welch for a number of years. She loved our Belgian Shepherd, Oscar.
Marjorie just reminded me of the time when we had the big German shepherd called Kyling. We let her out for her evening duties just before bedtime and she came in contact with a large porcupine and her nose and mouth were just full of quills. We called Dr. Day and he said to bring her down, and with great care and skill removed all the quills one at a time.
We both have always said Dr. Day was a truly great person who cared for local people and all the wonderful pets of many kinds. We once took our son’s large white rabbit down to Dr. Day to have some wood ticks removed from the rabbit’s ears.
We had another large tomcat that always kept the farm area clear of mice and always went through the cement culvert when he crossed Route 1 in front of our home. He lived to be over 9 years old and survived all the Route 1 traffic that went by our home.
Marjorie just reminded me of her small long-haired cat called Bliss. This cat had a lot of affection for the both of us. She loved to play with Marjorie’s balls of yarn. She used to sit for hours on the arm of a stuffed chair while Marjorie was knitting. No matter where Bliss was resting, upstairs or down, if she heard the refrigerator door open, she would make a fast run to the kitchen. Bliss loved small pieces of cheese we used to feed her from the fridge. She loved to sleep on my chest some evening when I took a so-called catnap. Bliss also loved to lay between the legs of our large German Shepherd; they both got along well together.
Our last dog was a large black Belgian Shepherd. I bought the shepherd from a kennel in Warren, which trained dogs for the Maine State Police. When I was working, Marjorie needed some protection when she was running her shop alone. The Belgian Shepherd did a great job and Marjorie felt real safe with Oscar by her side.
The Belgian Shepherd was named Oscar by the kennel and trainer. He was trained to go into dark rooms and find anyone hiding there. When we brought him home, it took a month and a half before Oscar made a sound or even barked. He was trained to obey hand signals. When we took Oscar to the shop, he would walk beside Marjorie or I on our right side. When he got to the shop, he would go behind the counter and lay there very quietly beside Marjorie or I.
Sometimes when we were walking down to the shop and a car drove in with a barking dog, Oscar would not make a sound and go about his business. When one of us closed the shop and opened the backyard fence, which enclosed our backyard, we would say to Oscar, “You’re off duty.” He would run and jump all over the backyard and play with some of his toys.
Many times in the summer and early fall around 6:30 in the evening, Oscar would be laying beside my chair and I would say Oscar, “Would you like to have an ice cream?” He would jump up and wag his large black tail from side to side and head for the door.
We would drive down to the Round Top ice cream shop when it was in the old location. I would go in and order three ice cream cones — one for Marjorie, one for me, and the other for Oscar. That was his reward for doing a great job looking after Marjorie. So many people would come over to the car when they saw me holding the ice cream cone and Oscar lapping away at his ice cream.
These are just wonderful memories of bygone days and all our pets here on Round Top, Damariscotta.