Dog Spelled Backwards

Today was the annual Blessing of the Animals at Church. Shay, being a regular at church, jumped right in the car when I mentioned the blessing. As the mascot member of the Finance, Ways and Means and New Building Committees she feels right at home at Westminster.

About two dozen dogs and one hedge hog came for the blessing. There were big and small dogs, one ones and puppies, well behaved and wild. All children of God.

Today’s blessing was a chance for some youth to practice their blessing skills. Shay was blessed by Shannon as well as getting blessed by Alex the official new youth pastor.

Shay acted as if she were the one doing the blessing. Perhaps her familiarity with Westminster makes her feel like she is on staff, or maybe it has something to do with Dog spelled backwards.

Whatever the reason our family is blessed to be loved by Shay, even if she loves in uneven ways. We all take what we can.

A Habit We Should Have Broken

When Shay was a wee one and we adopted her into our family we wanted to train her right. Carter and I took her to Pet Behavior Classes and we learned to “treat her” to train her. This involved carrying around a small baggies of “treats” like small bits of turkey or cheese. We could get Shay to walk right beside us and not pull on her leash as long as we were giving her a treat every once in a while.

The big thing I was concerned with was potty training her to go outside. The last thing I needed was a dog who went inside the house. So we used the “treat” method. Every time she went potty outside we would bring her inside and she would stand or sit on her green bed and get a treat.

Shay, being a brilliant dog, learned quickly that the whole outside was her toilet and never had an accident inside, so she got used to having her treat. Even after she was certified in potty training she continued to get the treat. We just kept giving it to her.

Today she goes outside and she runs in and flys onto her bed and stands at attention awaiting her small freeze dried liver cube. Yes, she considers that her favorite treat. It has been eight years and we still treat her.

I know we should have given this up as soon as she was trained, but none of us could deny those eyes that liver. Now in her defense, she never asks to go outside just to turn around and come back in and get a treat. She always uses the potty and then comes in. I hate to stop treating her now and have her give up going outside, not that I think that would happen. I just don’t want to be the mean one and stop giving it to her.

Here is my justification. Shay has weighed exactly, almost to the ounce, the same weight for the last seven years. I think the treats are not hurting her so as long as she is good I am going to keep giving them to her.

I promise I will do better on future dogs. I also add this caveat, that I may not remember this promise when I get a future dog.

Clap Back Vs. Slap Back

Today I went to play duplicate bridge. For the most part, most of the people who play where I do are kind, generous and polite people, but not all. For the record the issue I am bringing up here had absolutely nothing to do with anything that happened today at Bridge.

After my kind and patient partner and I finished playing our two boards against another team fairly quickly we had a few minutes before we had to move to the next table. One of our opponents brought up an issue of a player who she has faced who feels compelled to give her unsolicited advice and not in the most constructive way.

My kind partner suggested, “You can just say ‘thanks for your superior wisdom’ as a clap back.”

I replied “Or you can say, ‘I not interested in your opinion,’ as a slap back.”

That got me thinking about those who slap back and those who clap back and if any of it registers with people who make unwanted comments. Clap backs make the clapper not feel as bad because they aren’t so overt in their rebuke to the original offender, but they might not get it. Slap backs may get to the person being rebuked, but make the slapper look equally mean, thus perhaps giving the original offender justification for their original rudeness.

I used to tend to the slap side, although I have always loved a sideways dig, that makes the person have to wonder, “Was that a compliment or a condemnation?” One of my favorite sideways comments for those who like to puff themselves up over nothing was to say, “First among idiots is no prize.” My father used to say, “You are all you will ever be.” Both of those are really big slaps, but it takes a minute to get them, if ever.

Southerners are particularly good at the clap back. Although now the whole world knows that “Bless her heart,” is usually mean spirited.

There is an old joke that goes:

There are two Yankee women sitting in a cafe in the south, talking smack about southerners. A local woman does not recognize them as locals and approaches their table with a friendly smile and says, “Hi. Welcome to our town. Where are y’all from?” One of the Yankees responds, “I am unaccustomed to answering a question that ends in a preposition.” Smiling, the Southern lady responds without missing a beat, “Where are y’all from, bitch?”

Please don’t take the portrayal of Yankee’s in this joke as a commentary on Yankees, it’s just an illustration of the southern clap back that has been around a long time.

If you clap back or slap back you probably are never going to change the actions of the original offender. So what are we to do?

I wish I knew the answer. Clapping back gives you some satisfaction, slapping back may blow back on you, doing nothing may make you fume and grit your teeth in your sleep. For now, since I can’t control other people I am going to do my best to just not be one of those offenders and pray that I can hold my tongue when someone offends me. Ha, I might as well pray to win the lottery without ever buying a ticket.

Too Hot!

ONE HUNDRED DEGREES! That’s how hot it was on my car thermometer when I got in it after lunch with my friend Hannah and it was parked in the shade. If I hadn’t just celebrated Russ’ birthday yesterday I would have sworn it was August 3, not October 3.

We have had 72 over ninety degrees this year and the average is 42. For all you climate deniers I would like to take your air conditioning away September 1 and not give it back until June 1 and see how long to cling to the anti-science view that the planet is not changing and fast.

Also we have been without rain for two months. This is the more serious issue. I am wondering if we need to invest in cisterns for our roof. Not that I water anything in my yard, I gave that up years ago. I am worried about flushing the toilet.

I face timed with Carter in Boston and she had on a sweater and long coat. It made me so jealous.

My replacement watch came back today. I was able to verify how hot it is, still 95° at 5:55. My watch may be mocking me, but at least it is alerting me that it is Holly Schmidt’s birthday tomorrow. It will be seven degrees cooler, but no rain. Happy birthday Holly. Hope you get a new bathing suit for your birthday suit. You may still need it.

Happy Birthday Russ

It’s Russ’ big day

Double nickels for him

He’s hardly aged at all

He’s still tall and slim.

I met him when he

Was just a young pup

Who knew that smart guy

Was such a cutup.

He works and he works

At CMG all the day

And wakes in the night

Thanks to his dog Shay.

Generous would be

The word to describe

How he treats every person

Who are all his tribe.

As a father he rocks

As he advises his daughter

She knows she is lucky

And is always his Carter.

No cake for this boy

He’d rather have pie

And if you tell him it’s Apple

He’d vote with an “Aye”.

To this birthday boy

I’d just like to say

You are the best husband

And this is your day.

Private Party Shakedown

A few weeks ago I was invited to a private party at a private club. As I was a guest at a party I didn’t think to bring any cash. The host was generously providing the food and drink at the very nice event.

Everything about the party was lavish. The passed hors d’oeuvre were extravagant, from the jumbo shrimp, to the mini crab cakes. The dinner was delicious, and no one had trouble finding something to their pleasure from the beef tenderloin, lobster tail pasta or the chicken Provençal.

It was apparent the host had thought of everything and was generous, with one exception. When I went to the bar to get a club soda the bartender had a big glass tip jar on the bar full of ones and fives. At first I was embarrassed to ask for a drink and not give a tip, even if it was just club soda. I slinked away from the bar after apologizing for not having money on me.

Then I got to thinking. I bet the host had no idea that the bartender was practically soliciting tips, even though I am certain that the host was paying for service, including a tip on their catering bill. The bartender was taking advantage of guests at a private party because a tip jar is usual at a bar where you are paying for drinks.

I was not going to bring this to my host’s attention, but it made me aware that when having a private party with a bar tender you need to be explicit that they should not have a tip jar. Imagine if you had hired a bartender to work a party at your house and they put out a tip jar. This is the same idea when you are having a private party at a public place. It might be different if it were a fund raiser and the bar tenders were volunteers, but even that scenario troubles me.

If you ever come to a party I am throwing and see a tip jar on the bar, let me know right away. Those ones and fives will go nicely towards paying the catering bill and the tip that is already worked into my bill. I will tip the bartenders, guests should not be expected to do so.


Last month Peter Werbicki, the President and CEO of the Food Bank of CENC, called to tell me I was chosen as the recipient of the Hunt-Morgridge award. This is a beyond humbling honor for me. The award is given in November at the Evening of Appreciation, the Food Bank’s big recognition event.

Apparently a number of my friends received a “Save the Date” e-mail from Amy Beros that I did not know was going out, since neither Russ nor I received one. My friend Suzanne forwarded it to me with a note of congratulations, which was very sweet and an apology she can’t make it. Since she lives in NYC I told her that it would have been way over the stop for her to come, even though I would take any visit from her anytime. Today I got a note saying that my friend Kelly, from Atlanta, had sent a donation to the Food Bank in my honor.

I want to thank all of my friends who have supported the Food Bank over the twenty years I have been working with them. You all never complain to me about how often I share news or information about the need and the good work the Food Bank is doing in one third of North Carolina.

If you got this save the date, please do save it and come to Raleigh on November 14 if you can. The party is a good one and I would love to show you the Food Bank if you have never seen our new head quarters. If you didn’t get the save the date and want to come, please let me know. I am allowed to invite anyone I want, at least that is what I’m told. The actual invitations will be sent in October.

Good Afternoon,

Please save the date for our annual Evening of Appreciation on November 14, 2019 from 5:30pm-7:30pm at our Raleigh branch. We hope you are able to join us, so we can say thank you for making our work possible. We will also be recognizing this year’s Governor James B. Hunt and John Morgridge Service Award Winner, Dana Lange. Dana’s dedication to our work over the past two decades has been integral to serving our neighbors.

Additionally, as an important member of our Food Bank family we want you to be the first to hear about an exciting new chapter in the history of the Food Bank!

Because of you, the Food Bank can nourish our neighbors and build solutions to hunger in our community. Thank you for being part of our Food Bank family!

A formal invitation will follow. You can rsvp to

Amy Beros

Vice President of Development

Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina

1924 Capital Blvd. Raleigh NC 27604

OFFICE 919.865.3073

CELL 919.608.9884

Mission: No One Goes Hungry

@FoodBankCENC #NoOneGoesHungry