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April 9, 2014

Down to the Wire

Everywhere it's greening-up.  Temperatures are warm so grass is on an all out burst of spring growth that says, finely, it's spring.  Thank the shelled god.  I don't know if I can take it anymore.

Oh, it's green all up and down our street but not yet in Frankie's yard.  Everyday, every single day, I have to take Frankie on "grazing walks" through our neighborhood so he can graze on fresh green spring grass.

Every single day Frankie reminds me there is no grass in his yard.  Several times. Loudly.  Frankinator style.

If it's cold I get in the car and drive to places where grass and weeds and clover grow abundantly.  There I am, little old lady, hunched over, picking grass next to busy city streets.  I try very hard not to wave my derriere too high at passing cars but I just know everyone is getting an eye full of my rear.  As always I wonder if they think I am homeless. Or mentally unstable.  Well, at least I am not homeless.  

On warmer days Frankie get's walked instead.  Down the driveway, turn East, take a pick of the next two yards.  The first is green with winter rye grass with tiny clovers budding underneath.  Next yard down, the house for sale, is abundant with weeds.

Once we are headed East I give Frankie his pick of yards.  I hold vigil while Frankie munches away.  Occasionally I have to turn him back to the yard or drag him out of the bushes.  Monday was a great day so I really didn't mind spending an hour tidying up the yard (my offering/trade for Frankie's graze time).

Frankie seemed a little extra restless so after the hour is up I led him East down the street so we could walk the cul-de-sac before going home.

Frankie resisted the Eastward direction to the point where I just let him turn around and head home.  He wanted to walk so I let him walk.  Until we got to our driveway.

At our driveway I gave him the turn toward home cue by putting myself between him and the direction West he is walking.  He proceeded to walk over my feet to continue West.

I don't care if he wants to walk a bit more but West is not where we are going because that is a busy throughway street and not a friendly neighborhood.  I grab Frankie by the shell and turn him back toward the drive.

The walk up the drive turns into a battle of wits, strength and guile.  I got in front of him, turned him about and otherwise pushed him up the drive.  Frankie was going West regardless.  There wasn't two steps taken that wasn't part of the battle of direction.

Finely I win because there is a short fence between my house and my neighbor's house and Frankie can no longer turn West.  I can tell he is pissed.

We proceed up the drive all along Frankie is pushing his shell against the fence as he walks.  At the end of the house we will take a left to Frankie's yard.  I jog ahead so I can prop open his gate which only takes a moment.

It only takes a moment.

Frankie is gone.  Holy shells.  I race back and look down the drive.  No Frankie.  About this time Frankie re-appears at the back end of our driveway and his headed into the wooded area behind our house.  Sneaky shelled monster.

Okay, so he wants to walk a bit more.  He won't get far in the wooded area.  It's thick with trees, vines, discarded yard debris, fallen branches:  last time we went there Frankie got stuck between two tree trucks and a very pokey vine.

So I dash to the yard to get a clipper in case I have to cut Frankie free.  Big mistake.  By the time I get back (20 seconds!) Frankie is headed West toward the road.  The good news is that is the most densely planted area and Frankie will never get through.

Thinking that was another error.  When I catch up with him, running into vines and branches I usually have time to avoid, Frankie has found a very steep washed out area about fifteen feet sloping down to the street's grassy area.

Frankie is afraid of heights so he wouldn't dare slide down the slope.

Apparently West trumps all fear and indeed Frankie is going down the slope.  I can't stop him so I look left and right for a quick way out so I can run around and grab Frankie before he get to the bottom.

There is no quick way.  I would have to run back to my driveway, run around the neighbors yard and then down the street where Frankie will have already emerged from the wooded area.

It's one of those moments when sense and sensibility just don't come into play.  It's like I turn in to a complete reckless, non-thinking, adrenaline junkie.  Frankie is halfway down the slope and I drop on my butt to slide after him.

The slope is much more soft than expected being covered with wet pine needles so I just surrender my weight to a forward downward free-fall slide.  Frankie, being a little more cautious than me is easing himself down slowly.  I am catching up with him.

And then I see it.   Three feet in front of Frankie and five feed in front of me is barb wire.

I am an old country girl grown up with horses and critters, and barb wire, as crazy as it sounds, is just a part of that world.   As a slight bit of a girl I could nimble myself though two strands of barb wire without scraping anything.  That's because I'd learned the hard lessons of getting caught up in barb wire and been the victim one to many times.

Frankie is two feet from the wire and I am four feet from the wire.

I think to myself that it's good that I recently got a tetnus shot.  Very fortunate.  Maybe a bit of luck in what is looking really soon to be a tragedy.  

Frankie is one foot from the barb wire and I visually ascertain that he is short enough that he is going to safely slide right under that bottom wire.  What a bit of luck. 

Unfortunately for me, I am moving fast enough on some really slick pine needles that manipulating myself to my feet is going to be impossible.  Maybe a fifteen year old could spring up and dive though the second and third sting of barb wire but I know for a fact that I am not physically capable of such an athletic feat.

Frankie slides effortless under the wire without any notion that he is real lucky that he didn't end up with barb wire up his nose. 

One foot in front of me is the barb wire and I have not come up with a suitable plan of action.  All I can think is Frankie is a few feet away from flat ground and ten feet from the road and he is an idiot around cars and if one gets close he will close up and stay there regardless if he is one foot from the road or three feet into the road.  Really, my job is to be there and get him back to safety.

I don't know where it came from, but the urgency to get to Frankie before he got to the road trumped all common sense.  I laid flat on my back and willed myself under that barb wire.

Momentum moved me forward and really I can't remember the exact moment it happen or what it looked like but I slid right under that barb wire without a scratch.

That's right, this fifty-four year old woman slid down a fifteen foot embankment thick with wet pine straw, under three strands of barb wire and emerged unscathed.  My backside was a bit wet but I lived.

I headed straight to Frankie and turned him North because we were going home and since I don't drink alcohol I deserve chocolate.

I had to withhold all emotions because the very next thing that happen on this busy street is someone came to a screeching halt in the middle of the street, hung out the window, and asked "Is that a turtle?"

I don't know what I looked like:  hair, shirt, shoes, pants all lately sliding down a dirty embankment.  Frankie looks fine.  Really he could care less.  He won!  He got to go West.

Twelve cars full of people, camera phones, Frankie questions, and family photos with Frankie and the trip down the embankment is already forgotten. 

All this because there is no grass in Frankie's backyard.

Yesterday I took all the compost out of our two composters and threw all around Frankie's yard.

Grow grass!  Grow!  Please!