Friday, November 30, 2012

Destination YS - Nov. 30 - Dec. 2

Arts & Culture    
Meme: Culture in Transmission; 11/30-2/13/2013
The work of 12 regional artists; Opening Reception, 11/30, 7-9p

Eddie Eckenrode Gallery Sam & Eddies Open Books, Kings Yard
937.767.1966; The Work of Eddie Eckenrode

Emporium Wines 233 Xenia Ave., 937.767.7077
The Work of Kelly Lecko
Glen Helen Atrium Gallery 405 Corry St., 937.769.1902
Dance of the Happy Shades: Photographs by Dennie Eagleson; 11/4-1/9
John Bryan Community Pottery 100 Dayton St. rear, 937.767.9022  
Gallery & Studio open Weekends 1-4p

Village Artisans 100 Corry St., 937.767.1209
Winter Wonderland:  A Holiday Gift Gallery
The Winds Cafe 215 Xenia Ave. 937.767.1144
The Storyteller's Landscape: Paula Womacks; through 12/31

"would you, could you" In A Frame 113 Corry St. 937.767.2962
The Work of Lee Funderburg featuring flora & fauna.  

Yellow Springs Arts Council Gallery 111 Corry St., 679.9722
Reincarnated: The New Forever Life of Plastic Trash, Sondy Kai
11/16-12/9; Gallery open Wed-Sun, 1/4p
Experience Saturday "Trash Art Fashion" 12/9, 5-6:30
Nature & Recreation
Glen Helen Nature Preserve 405 Corry St.; 937.769.1902
Public Reptile Feeding - 12/1, 11a-12p, Trailside Museum
Be a Glen Helen Volunteer!  769.1902 x 103
Antioch Farm Work Project - 12/1, 3-5p; Antioch College Farm
Check out our calendar for more!

Crucible auditions, Dec. 15

Auditions for the Yellow Springs Center Stage production of The Crucible by Arthur Miller will be held December 15th between 2:00 to 4:00 in the Mills Lawn Gym.  The dates of the production are: March 8th and 9th and March 15th and 16th.  All roles are open. The play needs a large cast with a variety of ages and acting experiences available.  For more details check out Yellow Springs Center Stage on Facebook or call Kay Reimers at 767-8401.

At the Herndon Gallery - starts today

Click on image to enlarge.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Clifton Winterfest

The Clifton United Presbyterian Church is once again home to the Clifton Winter Fest.  The lower level of the church is set up with numerous vendors featuring everything  from hand crafted items to beautiful alpaca outerwear.  Handmade soaps, handbags and yummy treats RC be found at the Winter Fest.

The Rue farms cafe is serving lunch and dinner.  Check out the daily specials. We opened on Nov. 24, runs thru Christmas Eve.   11 - 8 Wed. - Sat, 12 - 8pm on Sun.

Holiday Fest in Yellow Springs - Dec. 8

Kids holiday events, shopping, carriage rides, santa
Saturday, December 8
Downtown Yellow Springs
Shopping, Dining and Entertainment

Plan a holiday of new traditions in Yellow Springs on December 8 where the annual Holiday Fest once again offers something for people of all ages.   
Shopping is always the star in Yellow Springs with over 65 locally-owned shops, galleries and boutiques offering truly special gifts for friends and family.  With two toy stores, clothing for women of all ages, books, jewelry and a bounty of art and handmade items, you can find something wonderful for everyone on your gift list.  Shops begin opening at 10 but come early for breakfast, brunch or coffee.
The kid’s fun starts at noon with a Treasure Hunt where kids can find surprises around town until 2 pm.  Free horse-drawn wagon rides will start in front of the Little Art Theatre at 1 pm and run until 4 pm.  Also from 1-4 pm, artist Sondy Kai will be helping folks make free “upcycled” plastic ornaments at the YS Arts Council Gallery at 111 Corry St .   Decorate Yellow Springs by leaving them in the holiday tree in front of Dino’s Cappuccinos.  And to top it off, Santa is making a special visit from the North Pole from 2-5 pm.   
You won’t want to miss the Holiday Pottery Show & Sale at John Bryan Community Pottery located at 100 Dayton St. on December 8 and 9 from 11 am to 5 pm.  A consortium of local potters, you can find a wide variety of beautiful and affordable art to give this holiday along with wonderful seasonal items.   And for a very special treat, if you stop by Friday night at 6, you can enjoy their wood kiln lighting ceremony.  Then head over to Emporium for wine tasting and live music or to Corner Cone, Peach’s, Ye Olde Trail Tavern, The Wind’s Café or Sunrise Café for dinner.
The best end to a trip to Yellow Springs during the holidays is a visit to the Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill.  More than 3.5 million lights adorn the mill, gorge, falls and bridge along with a miniature village and Santa Museum.  Gates open at 5, lights come on at 6 and all this for only $10 each with children 6 and under free.  Open every day but Christmas Day.
Finally, Young’s Choose and Cut Christmas Trees is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm where you can undoubtedly find the perfect tree.
Remember Yellow Springs throughout the holiday season as a place for incomparable gifts, a warm atmosphere and great holiday parties.  For more information, please contact the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce at 937-767-2686 or visit

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Jumble Donation Drop-Off Day

December 1, 2012, 1-4 p.m.
YS Arts Council Gallery, 111 Corry Street

The Yellow Springs Arts Council is holding its first Holiday Art Jumble fundraiser to support local artists and the YSAC Community Gallery.

“Jumble Sale Donation Drop-Off Day” is Saturday, December 1 (1-4pm) – bring your gently-used “arty” items to the YSAC Gallery and join the YSAC Team in celebrating the season with festive cookies, hot cider and holiday cheer! Our featured artist, Sondy Kai, will help you to create a colorful ornament with ‘upcycled’ plastic to decorate downtown YS.

We invite you to donate anything fascinating, lovable, crafty or vintage that you are ready to pass on or no longer have a place for. We would love your Out-of-the-Closet Art, Grandma’s Arty Knickknacks, Hand-Crafted Whimsy and Under-the-Bed Collectibles. If you have an item that screams “ART!!!” and is being neglected & collecting dust, donate it to the Art Jumble!

If you cannot make it on December 1, drop off your “art treasure” donations from Wednesday to Sunday (1-4pm) through January 18 at the YSAC Gallery at 111 Corry Street. Or, if these times do not work for you, call Nancy Mellon at 937-767-1366 to work out another time.

The Holiday Art Jumble Sale & Exhibit opens on December 15 (1-4pm) and continues through January 20 (Wednesday to Sunday, 1-4pm). You will find unique gifts at “can’t-resist” prices and you will be supporting the arts in Yellow Springs.

Experience Holidays with the Yellow Springs Arts Council! Go to for more details.

Santa Breakfast this Saturday

It’s time for the annual Santa Breakfast at the United Methodist Church (corner of Winter & Dayton Sts.).  This coming Saturday (Dec 1st) the church will open from 9:00 am to 11:00am to host a community pancake breakfast and offer a range of games & take-home crafts for children.  Mid-morning there will be a Christmas play and singing in the sanctuary. Of course the jolly old man himself will be on hand – might be the first Santa sighting in the Village this year.  The church will provide photos for children who visit with Santa.  Suggested donation for adults is $5 and children attend free. For additional information call the church office at 767-7560.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Saturday night at Clifton Opera House

The Clifton Opera House will be humming and strumming on Saturday, December 1st when Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers return.  They are back by popular demand and will be giving fans a huge treat of old time bluegrass and gospel tunes.  Joe and the boys have stayed busy this year and we are thrilled that they could keep Clifton Opera House on their performance list.  This is the third year that Joe and the boys have scheduled a December show, let's call it a tradition!  Please bring a non perishable item for the food bank! 

Come out and support the Clifton Opera House, your participation helps keep these doors open and Americana music on it's stage.  The Clifton Opera House is owned and operated by the Village of Clifton as a fund raiser.  The doors open at 6:30pm, show starts at 7:30pm.  Contact 937-767-2343 or 937-342-2175 for more information or visit the website Tickets are $10.00

Monday, November 26, 2012

One week left to apply for WYSO training

What is Community Voices?
Community Voices is all about getting local voices on the air. We help local people record essays, poems and commentaries. We work with public school teachers who want to bring radio into their classrooms. We collect oral histories. In the spring of 2011 we launched a training program to teach listeners how to produce radio stories.

The Training
WYSO is now accepting applications for the 2013 Community Voices Training Course. Click here to download the application form.
The course meets for a Saturday seminar once a month for six months, from January to June. Participants learn to record and edit audio, conduct interviews, write for radio, and ultimately produce a feature story.
The fee for this course is $250 and includes a software license. Recording kits are available to checkout.
Click here to download a sample syllabus (subject to change).
Click here to download the application form.
Click here to listen to stories produced in past trainings.

How can I get involved?
For information on upcoming training opportunities, sign up for WYSO’s Email Newsletter - and select the "Community Voices" list.
If you have questions, get in touch with WYSO Community Voices Coordinator Sarah Buckingham by email or at (937) 769-1334.

Friday night at Clifton Opera House

On Friday, November 30th an  Opera House favorite will take the stage.   Glen Parks Banjo Entertainment will be bringing his charming stories and music back  to Clifton.  The show starts at 7:30pm, box office opens at 6:30pm.  Glen provides a treasure trove of entertainment with his funny jokes and banjo music.   Banjo music is happy music, join us!   Suggested door donation $7.00.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Holiday Band Concert announced

Yellow Springs Community Band
Saturday, Dec. 15, 3:30  p.m. 

The Yellow Springs Community Band will give its annual Holiday Season concert on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 at 3:30 p.m. in the gym at the Mills Lawn School. The program will consist mostly of the usual seasonal favorites with the addition of a few new tunes

Friday, November 23, 2012

Community Solutions has new documentary

The Power of Community was our first film
Passive House: A Building Revolution is Next!
Please Join Us In Getting Out Our New Film!

Dear Friends,

This film, the second in the series, tells how to cut CO2 from buildings by 80 to 90%!

Today 48% of all US energy used and CO2 generated is from our buildings, 85% of that is in heating and cooling them. Our new film on the Passive House addresses this issue.

I am reaching out to you again, most of whom have copies of our first film, The Power of Community. If you found it inspiring and valuable, please help fund our new film. I am working on final professional editing, sound, color, and graphics - all cost money.

There are two ways to help. First, send a donation through our Kickstarter campaign at or through our website at and note it is for the new film. Either place you can donate at whatever level you can - every dollar makes a difference. Second, and this is Very Important, even if you can't help financially, share what we are doing with others and encourage them to join us on Kickstarter and in getting Passive House: A Building Revolution out!

It is a film that is very timely.

Thank you very much!


PS. Powell Smith wrote up a great support page for our Kickstarter Campaign:

Passive House is a method of building and retrofitting that reduces heating and cooling energy use.

This film is nearing completion and we need your help Now!
We have 20 days to finish our funding on Kickstarter!

Phone: 937-767-2161

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Harry's simple turkey recipe (repost)

I repost this every year, mostly for my own reference. The important part for me is the temperature and roasting time for the turkey. -vh

(Based on Thanksgiving 2008)

12 lb. Turkey at 325 degs. for 3.5 hours

Wash turkey, clean cavity with salt. Stuff cavity with apples and onions. Add a cup of water to bottom of roasting pan. Use a pan that will keep the turkey raised.

Baste with mixture of melted butter, basil, and white wine, then cover turkey with aluminum foil for first 2 hours. Brown for last 1 ½ hours.

Baste every 20 mins. Use fresh mixture for first hour, then continue to baste with drippings from pan. Add water if needed.

Basting Mixture: Melt ¼ lb of butter and add dried basil flakes and a couple dashes of dry white wine.

Substitute freely. Adjust cooking times for size of turkey approximately 20 min. per lb.

The rest:
  • Dice giblets, brown in butter and add to two jars of Heinz turkey gravy. Stir in drippings from pan and simmer for a few minutes.
  • Stove Top Turkey Dressing (follow directions on box)
  • Instant mashed potatoes (ditto)
  • Wrap sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and place on rack with turkey for last 1 ½ hours.
  • Get someone else to make the green beans.

Thanksgiving in Bushwick

There was no river; there were no woods.

My mother grew up the daughter of poor Italian immigrants in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. When there was work, my grandfather was a laborer and my grandmother did piece work in a sweatshop. My mother, always a good student, had to quit school at sixteen and get a job to contribute to the family income. There was a depression and then a war. It probably didn’t seem like there was much to be thankful for.

My mother married my father when she was eighteen. He was a young Marine officer who had just graduated from college. Shortly after the wedding, he was shipped off to the South Pacific where he was when I was born in the hospital at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. After my birth, my mother found a rent controlled apartment in an elevator building in Woodhaven, Queens and moved away from her parents, about a 20-minute ride on the Jamaica Avenue El. There were just the two of us, until my father returned from the war and things started looking up.

Dad worked as an insurance adjuster and went to law school at night. Soon I had two sisters. Fortunately, when he graduated, he landed a job in the Brooklyn DA’s office. We moved into a bigger rent controlled apartment in the same building. We weren’t exactly the Nelsons, but I didn’t know that.

On Thanksgiving day, the old man would pack us into the ’37 Plymouth and we’d head off down Eastern Parkway to Bushwick for dinner at my grandparent’s. Once we left Queens, there were barely any trees.

Grandma and Grandpa and my young uncle lived in a coldwater flat on the second story of a four story brownstone walk-up on Himrod Street. The neighborhood’s claim to fame was favorite son Jackie Gleason, a symbol of hope on a bleak landscape of rows of identical buildings. The Irish were there before the Italians took over. Later, it would be the Puerto Ricans.

The apartment was called a coldwater flat, because tenants had to make their own heat and hot water. There was a potbelly stove and a manually operated gas water heater. Each resident had a coal bin in the basement. It was also called a railroad flat, because there was no hallway. To get from one end of the apartment to the other, one had to walk through each of the rooms.

My old man would drop us in front of the building and look for a place to park the Plymouth. We had to climb a long flight of stairs to get to their apartment door. All the way up we were lured by the aroma of garlic and olive oil, homemade tomato sauce, a turkey roasting in the oven, and handmade spinach and cheese ravioli drying all over the kitchen.

Our dinner was a feast by anyone’s standards. The ravioli was just a first course, during which I would enter into mortal combat with my uncle over mushrooms sautéed in garlic and olive oil. By the time the turkey and vegetables were served, we were all pretty much stuffed. After dinner there were Italian pastries from the local bakery. I remember my mother letting me have only half a cannoli. She knew my eyes were bigger than my stomach.

My grandfather, who spoke no English, had a giant multiband international radio that look like a Wurlitzer juke box. I don’t remember ever hearing it work, but I do remember getting yelled at for poking at the many different colored buttons. Shortly after Thanksgiving, he would start setting up his antique Lionel train set for Christmas. Every year, at the base of the Christmas tree, he would create a mountain village reminiscent of the village where he was born. The train would run in and out of a tunnel and, although it was only a simple loop, it created the impression of a whole other world; the world of my grandfather that I would never know. When I think of him now, I think of him cracking walnuts for his grandchildren and offering us roasted chestnuts that we always declined, or teasing us, telling us through my mother that there were mice in the walls.

Eventually, the males would gravitate to the black and white TV in the living room to watch football while the women did the dishes. Soon there would be a chorus of snores as the tryptophan kicked in. It was warm in that coldwater flat in Bushwick. And, while I’m sure the adults still had plenty of worries, we kids felt safe and secure in the that Thanksgiving routine.

The last Thanksgiving we celebrated in Bushwick, I arrived on my own on the el. It must have been 1957 and I would have been thirteen. I had been to a football game at one of the city high schools. That winter we would move to the suburbs on Long Island and, thereafter, dinner would be at our house. We still had the ravioli and the mushrooms, but it was never quite the same without that long climb up the stairs to Grandma’s place.

I went on to a small college in New England and returned to Brooklyn for law school. Years later, in a notorious case, I defended a drug dealer who was charged with killing a woman in a drive-by shooting in Bushwick in a building like the one where my grandparents lived.

Today, Kalson is in Chicago with his girlfriend Rhianon's family. May and Chris and Rhesus will be over late for a small turkey. No extra chairs at the table this year.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Parking lot takes shape

The recently purchased lot on the corner of Railroad Street and Dayton has been graded and resurfaced and is just about ready for the badly needed parking spaces for the area. This photo was taken today as village workers put the finishing touches on the lot. In the interest of full disclosure, your blogger has an office right next door in 108 Dayton, and can't wait to get his old parking space back.


            How many thousands of us have appreciated the sights, sounds, and smells of Glen Helen?  The wild flowers, raptors, tree frogs, the great blue heron…  Almost all poets have nature poems—and any poet who has spent any time at all following the forested trails in Glen Helen, Antioch College’s 967-acre nature preserve, has many Glen poems. During this holiday/solstice season those works will be shared, at a poetry reading, “in the spirit of the glen,” on Friday, December 14, from 7-9:00 p.m
            As many as twenty area poets will read original work inspired by Glen Helen, or places similar in physical or spiritual geography.   The reading will take place at the newly refurbished and ecologically state-of-the-art Vernet Ecological Center (formerly the Glen Helen Building ) at 405 Corry Street near the Antioch College campus.
Co-sponsored by Glen Helen Ecology Institute and Tecumseh Land Trust, the evening will include short readings by many well-known poets from Yellow Springs, Xenia , Oakwood and Greenville , Ohio . A brief open mic period following the announced readings will provide an opportunity for audience members to share a Glen poem. There will be a wine and cheese reception and book-signing afterward in the atrium. The event is free and open to the public.   Contact krista@tecumsehlandtrust or call 767-9490 for more information.

Destination YS

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's back!

Yellow Springs Community Thanksgiving Dinner

Thursday, November 22, 2012, 2-4 p.m.
A the First Presbyterian Church

Everyone Welcome!

Traditional – Vegetarian – Vegan
A dish to share is appreciated but not required.
For info or to volunteer, contact or 937-408-1391

Sponsored by Yellow Springs Interspiritual Council

Yellow Friday & Small Business Saturday

Plan a holiday of new traditions! For a new after Thanksgiving shopping tradition, how about Yellow Friday as well as Small Business Saturday in Yellow Springs where locally-owned shop owners are ready to help you make your very special purchases.   An easily walk-able downtown where you can find 65 shops and galleries inviting you to Shop Small-Buy Big-Give Unique.
An eclectic collection of shops feature gift ideas for everyone on your list.  Hand-made pottery from local artisans, a wide variety of books and beautiful handcrafted jewelry, these are just a few of the special gift items you can find in Yellow Springs.   In addition, there are two toy stores and a bike shop with gifts for kids of all ages, a glass studio with stained and art glass and collectible glass ornaments, and several shops with affordable imported goods from around the world.  You will find several shops with women’s clothing and accessories, including the grand opening of our newest shop, Iona , to round out a truly unique shopping experience.

Round out your local shopping experience by taking in a night of local entertainment.  Peach’s will be featuring live music from Yellow Springs’ own Village Fam and The Emporium  will showcase local favorite Wheels at their weekly Friday night Wine Tasting.
Miami Valley Pottery’s Annual Holiday Kiln Opening Sale starts this Friday and lasts through Sunday from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and with the same times the following week.   The show this year is titled “White Slip Firing” this firing showcases pieces with depth, texture, and enhanced color.  A short drive from downtown at 145 Hyde Rd. , the Holiday Kiln Opening Sale is yet another unique opportunity to plan a new tradition.
For a true taste of the holidays, Young’s Dairy opens their Choose and Cut Tree Farm on Friday running daily through December 16th from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.   And nothing says “holiday” more than The Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill.   Just three miles east of Yellow Springs you’ll find a spectacular display of 3.5 million lights on the gorge and mill, a miniature village and Santa Museum.    It starts Friday and runs every evening except Christmas through January 1.  Admission is $10 per person with children 6 and under free.
Remember Yellow Springs throughout the holiday season as a place for incomparable gifts, a warm atmosphere and great holiday parties.  For more information, please contact the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce at 937-767-2686 or visit

Monday, November 19, 2012

Meme: Culture in Transmission

Antioch College at the Herndon Gallery

Antioch College is pleased to announce the opening MEME: Culture in Transmission, a multimedia exhibition that invites investigation of the concept and the phenomenon of memes, considering their origin, evolution, mechanisms, and role in contemporary society. An opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Friday, November 30, at 7:00 p.m. in the Herndon Gallery in South Hall on the Antioch College campus.

The word “meme” originated as a term coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in the 1976 book The Selfish Gene. Dawkins’ term derives its concept from the behavior of genes, which replicate from an organism to its offspring to ensure the duplication and transmission of genetic code. Similarly, Dawkins’ “meme” is defined as a “unit of cultural transmission,” such as an idea, tune, catch phrase, style, fashion, symbol, practice, etc. that spreads from one person to another through imitation.

Since its introduction, there has been a great deal of scholarly study of the concept of memes. In the late 1990s, the term became used, and is now commonly known to define a style of internet-based image/text posting shared broadly on the web via blogs and social media. These Internet memes have proliferated as the influence of the Internet has grown.

What constitutes a meme? How do we observe the influence and evolution of memes? How do artists affect the transmission of their own ideas? Work in the exhibition explores archetypes, prevailing ethical mores, cultural icons, environments and institutions through a broad range of media including photography, sound, video, painting, sculpture, mixed media, and performance. 

Visitors to the exhibition will encounter artwork ranging from Jeanne Philippe and Judith Huacuja’s “Unseen Rain” an installation that includes a deerskin canoe modeled after those made by Kutenai women in British Columbia, to Will Davis’s audio piece appropriating an impassioned YouTube plea to “Leave Britney Alone.”  Chris Shea and Charmaine Renee trace the path of phrases from Shakespeare to their usage in contemporary culture, while Glenna Jennings mines the National Cash Register archives to create images of laborers in her wallpaper piece called “Right To Work.”

Each artist featured in the exhibition is engaged with the generation and transmission of contemporary culture on multiple levels, also playing roles as curator, teacher, choreographer, dancer, actor, director, comedian, program director, audio producer, gallery director, etc. All artists reside in Ohio.

Exhibition events also include a night of performance featuring Will Davis, Rodney Veal, and Free Shakespeare! on Thursday, January 24, at 7:00 p.m., and a community roundtable discussion on Thursday, February 7, at 7:00 p.m. 

For more information, contact Dennie Eagleson, creative director of the Herndon Gallery at or 937-768-6462.

Saturday night at Clifton Opera House

Ralph Kettering and the Impossibles will play the Clifton Opera House on Saturday, November 24th.  The show starts at 7:30pm, box office opens at 6:30pm.  The historic Opera House is looking forward to the return of this band.  This group of talented musicians have become one of the Opera House staples playing every spring and fall.  Ralph and the band will have your toes tapping with old time favorites  featuring big band, 40's, polkas, and country.    They truly give a big band event.  The Clifton Opera House is owned and operated by the Village of Clifton and is a fund raiser.  Call 937-767-2343 for more information or

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Short Story

I put on my hat and sunglasses. The dog looks up from where she is sitting on the couch.
“Woof!” she says, and goes for her leash.
“That’s okay, girl,” I say. “I don’t think we’re gonna need that today.”
We leave the leash where it’s hanging on the coat closet doorknob. I bend over and lace up my hiking boots. I feel as good as when I was running marathons. Suki’s acting like she’s two.
Outside, the world is a rainbow of vivid HD-3D images. The flowers reach out to touch us; the lawns are golf course perfect – almost too perfect.
“What a day, Suki,” I say. “Let’s go for a walk!”
“Woof!” she says, and rears up, putting her paws on my chest for me to lean down so she can lick my face.
We turn left when we reach the sidewalk. Suki is close by my side, just like they taught her in obedience school. Lou is out on his lawn next door. 
“Hi, neighbor,” Lou says, waving. “The pooch is looking good, today.”
“And so are you,” I say. I really mean it - I think I remember him having been ill.
We are headed down Allen Street toward the Antioch Golf Course. It’s not really a golf course – the name is a kind of local joke. It’s a 70 acre meadow next to the college, where they used to play Frisbee® golf. Now, they harvest the hay and have a small organic farm at the end nearest the campus.
A few houses down, Suki stops to poop on my friend Mike’s lawn. Normally, I would bag it and carry it until we get home. But, today, I don’t bother. The dog sits waiting for me to follow my usual routine.
“That’s okay girl,” I tell her. “We’ll get it on the way home.”
“Hey, look, Suki! Here comes Goldie.”
It’s the Carsons, mother, father and two daughters with their golden retriever, rounding the corner of Spillan. Everyone looks so good in this light. I wave.
Suki goes “Woof!”
Goldie woofs back. We all smile and move on. I stop to tell Bill to keep an eye out for Lou. But, when I turn, the Carsons are gone. So is Lou.
When we get to the Albrights' house, a man and his wife in a red pick-up pull up alongside us. The man is smiling. He looks like he wants to ask me something. We stop.
“Is that a red heeler?” he says.
“Yes it is.”
“See, I told you it was a heeler,” he says, turning to his wife.
“We’re thinking of getting one,” he says to me.
“They’re a handful,” I say.
He laughs as they drive off.
Debbie is in front of her house. Debbie always looks good, but, today, there is something different about her – fewer wrinkles, tanner. She smiles and waves. Her dog, a black lab, is in the driveway. His range is usually restricted by an electronic fence. Today, he comes all the way to the sidewalk, and he and Suki sniff each other all around, touching noses before they part.
A garbage truck is working near the corner of Allen and Livermore. I know the driver; he has picked up at our house for years. He always laughs when Suki barks at him. He understands; he has a heeler, too. This time, she stands quietly and watches.
“No bark, today?” he says, smiling. “She’s getting better.”
Suki gives him a “woof!”
At the corner, I tease her, pretending I am turning left on Livermore. This is a game we often play when we get here. She’s not buying it – heads straight across the street and waits on the other side. They say that dogs smile when they are happy. I believe that. She is smiling as I fake a double take and come back to her.
We are almost to the field. There is a squirrel in front of the Scotts’ house. She ignores it and we move on to where we turn left at the west end of the field. It is cooler on the grass where the path passes through an overgrown thicket. As we come out into the clearing, I notice a herd of deer on the east end of the field. Suki stops and points, raising one front paw like a bird dog. Then she turns to me in expectation of what usually happens next. I pull the tennis ball out of one of the large pockets of my cargo shorts. The excitement level is rising, eyes bright, ears pointed straight up, hopping around.
“Get ready!” I say, cocking my arm.
She takes off down the western edge of the field, anticipating my throw. She catches it on one hop and brings it back. We continue this game of fetch as we head across the field toward the spires of the old college.
The Boyles are sitting in front of their house where Kurt Street dead-ends at the field. “Yay, Suki!” they yell and clap, as she performs for them. Their own dogs, two blue heelers, are barking behind the house.
I launch a long one toward the center of the field. She grabs it on two hops, stops, turns and looks at me. With the ball still in her mouth, she turns away and runs off. I lose sight of her when she goes into a stand of trees at the edge of the field a couple hundred yards away. Something tells me to wait where I am, she will be back.
As I wait, I think I hear the sound of distant thunder. I look to the sky, but there is not a dark cloud in any direction. I wonder if the dog will be afraid. But, again, something tells me not to worry.
After about 15 minutes, I think I see her emerging from the trees. Yes, it’s her. As she gets closer, I can see she has something in her mouth. It’s not the green tennis ball; it’s large and pink. She brings it to me and drops it at my feet. It’s her old Frisbee, her favorite one that has been missing for years. It is all worn out and dirty, just as I remember it.
“I always wondered where that went,” I say. “I thought it was lost forever.”
She barks, and nudges it closer to my feet. I pick it up and toss it. She takes off and catches it before it can hit the ground. We play like this for what seems like hours.
I look back to see if the Boyles are watching, but they are gone and their dogs have stopped barking.
When Suki has finally had enough, she heels me all the way to where Herman Street dead-ends against the field. This is a common trait in Australian cattle dogs, the nipping at their owner’s heels. I have never been able to break her of it. I tell myself she does it because she loves me.
“That’s okay – that’s what you were born to do,” I tell her. “It can’t be any other way.”
From there, we angle toward Corry Street at the northeast corner of the meadow. We walk along in front of the college awhile, then cross the road at the entrance to the glen.  She wades across the stream at the bottom of the stone steps while I take the footbridge. She stops midstream and looks up smiling, as if to say, “Isn’t this a great walk?” From there we follow the trail to the Yellow Spring. I sit on a boulder, while she drinks.
“Come here, old girl,” I tell her, when she starts plowing the water with her nose. She comes over and sits on my foot.
There is no one else in the glen, today. The silence is making me uneasy. It seems I only hear the birds when I look up to find them. We take the trail to the cascades. I let Suki play in the water. It’s so quiet I can hear my watch ticking. I tell her we must be on our way.
We head back to the old bathing hole where, in another century, the spa and hotel used to be, then work our way back up the ridge to the edge of the glen. We come out on the bike path behind the firehouse and continue northward. When we get to Route 68, Suki turns right and starts up the road.
The cell phone in my pocket rings. I pull it out and answer it.
“Call her back to you,” a woman’s voice says.
“She just wants to visit Nick’s dogs up at the animal rescue,” I say.
“Call her back!” she says. “They’re not there.”
“Come on, Suk!” I call to her.
She comes and sits leaning against my leg.
“Where do we go from here?” I ask into the phone.
“Take the bike path to Ellis Pond!”
“Oh, yes, the pond... I forgot,” I say and hang up.
We follow the bike path north toward Springfield. It’s almost deserted and Suki pays no attention to the few cyclists there are, even when they greet us. We stop to watch the ducks on DeWine Pond. A border collie has chased them into the center where they float, scolding him from a safe distance.
“Silly dog,” I say to Suki.
She gives me a puzzled look, then realizes I’m not talking about her. She looks back at the kerfuffle on the water, her tail making large, looping circles.
We take the spur that runs between a cornfield and a patch of woods to where it crosses Polecat Road to Ellis Park. We cross over the spillway where the pond runs into a stream and follow it to where a herd of cows is lazing about. I expect the usual frenzied barking and running up and down the fence line as Suki’s instincts kick in and she tries to work the cows. But, on this day, she walks silently to the fence and touches noses with a curious calf.
We walk all the way around the pond and sit on the bench where I used to fish when we first moved here, before Suki was born. It seems so long ago, and yet, it seems like just yesterday. We are on the east side, looking across the pond to where the sun is making its way down across the fields, soon to disappear behind a barn and a pair of silos.
Suki is very tired, now. It has been a long walk. She lies at my feet, rolls over on her back, and waits for me to rub her belly.
“You’re still just a silly pup,” I tell her. “You’ll never change, not to me.”
She rolls back onto her side and starts to doze, as if she’s an old cattle dog at the end of a hard day of working a herd in the Outback.
Off in the distance to the west, I see a figure crossing the field toward the pond. As it gets closer, I can see it is a woman. She is wearing a white coat. She walks across the shimmering surface of the pond to reach us.
“It’s time,” she says.
“Can’t we stay a little longer?” I ask her.
She looks at her watch.
“If you want to say goodbye, you have to do it now.”
I get down on my knees next to my sleeping dog.
“Goodbye, old girl,” I tell her. “I wish I'd had a farm and a few cows for you. I know that playing fetch was a poor substitute. But, you always did your best.”
Suki sighs and goes still.
“Help me lift her onto the table,” the doctor says.
Together, we lay her on the park bench.
The doctor reaches toward me and removes my hat and sunglasses.


In the operating room at the animal clinic, an old man gently unstrapped a VR helmet from a dog that had just died and patted its head. The veterinarian’s assistant unhooked an IV, turned off a video monitor, and unzipped a new body bag.
“I wish I could do it again,” the man said to the vet.
She touched his hand. “You can – as often as you want. Take a copy of the VR recording with you. It’s a highlight reel of all the great walks you and Suki have had together over the last 13 years.” She handed him a VR helmet and a flash drive.
He wiped under his eyes with a dirty handkerchief.
            “What do I do now?” he asked.
“Come back next week to pick up Suki’s urn.”
There was a flash of lightning as he started for the door, followed in a few seconds by a loud boom. He turned and looked back at the dog on the table.
“One last question,” he said. “Could she hear the thunder when she ran off from the field?”
“No, in the real world, your dog was deaf and almost blind. She was never aware of anything happening outside the dreamscape. She had a great time alone in the woods, looking for her lost Frisbee. That and the heeling were the parts of the experience she added on her own. And all those dogs… Dogs are great. They’re perfect for all their imperfections, all the heeling, hole-digging, barking at bicyclists, not-coming when called...”
“Yes, my dog was perfect,” he said.
The man drove home in the rain. He sat alone in his computer chair with the VR recording playing in the gear on his head and experienced the dreamscape, again. He would play it a thousand times over the next few years and, but for one occasion, it would be exactly the same each time. It always ended with his dog and him watching the sunset over the pond.


I put on my hat and sunglasses. The dog looks up from where she is sitting on the couch.
“Woof!” she says, and goes for her leash.
“That’s okay girl,” I say. “I don’t think we’re gonna need that today.
The doorbell rings and I go to the window and look out. It’s my son at the door. He is ten years old. He is wearing the plastic batting helmet with the Yankees logo I bought him at the stadium.
“It’s Matty!” I say.
Suki runs to the door. She is dancing around, her butt just inches off the floor. I open it and watch as my boy kneels down and pets my dog. He looks up at me and smiles. A feeling of unmitigated wellbeing and joy floods my senses.
“Hi, Dad,” he says. “Let’s go for a walk!”

Copyright © 2012 by Virgil Hervey, all rights reserved.