Category Archives: Memories

My Heartbeat: Obadiah



One of the pets that I currently have is my dog, Obadiah. He is, of all the pets I have had, the one that is completely attached to me and I to him. Not to say I haven’t loved all my pets, I have. But there is something about Obadiah.




For starters, to all those die-hard “get your pets from a shelter” people, I am sorry. I have had many pets from shelters and I really am a fan of the idea, but Obadiah is a pet store kid. I had been visiting that store for years just to play with the dogs as I never had the money for a dog. And over the years I had built a report with the manager of the store. I think we both knew that I was never going to have the opportunity to have a dog again and the visits helped when I was having a bad day.




This one day I was having one of my days and I needed a puppy fix. I happened to be right at the store so I popped in. This was the one time in my life that I happened to have money in my account as I had just gotten back pay from Social Security. I should never have gone in, but I wouldn’t change it now for anything. I went in and my eye caught sight of a little white and honey colored puppy that was just a teeny bit of a thing. He had the biggest eyes. He was what they called a chineranian, in other words a Japanese Chin and a Pomeranian mix.


The Pomeranian started out as a large, sled-ty...
The Pomeranian started out as a large, sled-type dog and was downbred to become the small companion dog it is today. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


English: Japanese Chin (Neru)
English: Japanese Chin (Neru) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I chose him to play with and it was perfect. He had a great attitude. Not hyper, but not overly laid back. He played without being more than I could handle, I tire easily sometimes. He chased the toy he was repeatedly given, then curled up on my lap after enough playtime had been achieved. Then I picked him up and went to look for the manager so that she could put him away. This was the moment. He just kept looking at me with those big dark eyes and I could just see all the love in the canine world peering out at me. I had found the manager and we proceeded to discuss all the reasons I could not take this little guy home with me. And she was really good at it too. We talked about vet visits and cost. We talked about food and toys and grooming. We talked about my bad days when taking him for a walk would be too much for me. Finally after 10 or 15 minutes or so I let her pry him from my hands. I knew with reason that I should not have a dog. Mostly for those unexpected costs. After she took him back to his pen I wandered around the store. I looked at everything! I tried at least three times to leave the store, but I couldn’t. Occasionally I would walk back by the dog pens and see him, I couldn’t help it, I was drawn back to him over and over again. Each time I would look at the price, being a pet store it was a ridiculous price and I knew it. I suppose another 20 to 30 minutes went by and I still had not managed to leave, and I really was trying. Finally I found the manager again, I told her that I was struggling and asked if anything could be done about the price. As it happened the owner was in the store that afternoon and so she said she would go back and talk to her. I started praying that very moment. I prayed just let them bring it down to x amount and I am sold. I wish now I had prayed for something lower because my prayer was answered. The manager came back with the exact amount I had prayed for. All hope was lost at that point of me not having that pup. Out he came to be carried around as I chose leash, collar, bowls, toys, food, treats, etc. I remember I had a dentist appointment that day so I loaded up the car with everything but my new puppy and went home and arranged things. I went to my dental appointment and then straight back to the pet store. The name Obadiah was chosen, everyone in my house gets a Bible name these days, and off we headed for home. He moved into my heart within moments of my meeting him, and he hasn’t left since. He is incredibly intuitive, knowing my good days from my bad days. And he has no qualms making me get out of the house and exercise with him if my health allows. But he never pushes me out of bed or off the couch if I’m not up to it either. Despite his Pomeranian background, he has learned to bark under his breath at things rather than at a full yap, except when someone knocks on the door. He is gentle and laid back in nature, loves everyone, but me most of all. With his semi-smooshed in nose he snorts a lot which has led to one of his many nicknames, snort. He can count to ten in Portuguese and knows a few commands in Portuguese as well. We’ve been together for 5 years now, I’m hoping for another 10, but I try not to think about it. He is my best furry friend, and I am his best friend too. I hope I live up to that as well as he does.







Pepe le Pew-Stewart

A friend of mine asked to hear about people’s pets. In my case I thought that could be a long post, I don’t even know how many pets I have had in my life. So I thought I would share some of the most special friends I have had in my life here for any who are interested.

The first I will tell you about is Pepe le Pew-Stewart. Daddy always said that he couldn’t have the last name Stewart because he already had the last name Pew. But when you are 8 years old that just isn’t the way you think. Now, over 30 years later, I am standing by that name. He was after all part of the family.

Pepe was by far the most exotic pet I ever had. Yes, as the name suggests, he was a skunk. Mind you he was a de-scented skunk so no fear of startling a cloud of stink out of him. I remember he liked mashed up bananas when we first got him, what he was fed later I don’t remember. I do remember him being mostly patient with me. I had the horrible habit of dressing him in my doll’s clothes, putting him in a stroller, and then walking along the neighborhood sidewalks with him. I am sure that this is probably why when he heard me coming he had a habit of hiding.

One of the things about Pepe though was that he was blind or very near to it. You couldn’t come near him with the smell of food on your hands or he would try to take a bite. Not his fault, he just couldn’t see to tell if it was a finger or nice bit of meat wagging around in front of his nose.

Another thing I remember about Pepe was that he had kind of a funny scent. And no we are not talking about the kind of smell where you have to get out cases full of tomato juice, just a musky smell. A lot like a ferret smells. His fur was course, not soft the way a cat’s or maybe some dogs’ furs are. He had beady little eyes, just black dots. He had puffy fat pads on the bottom of his paws, and little black nails. I used to like to softly squish his paw pads for some reason, and he never seemed to mind. I also remember bringing friends to see him. He had his own little area in the laundry room with boards stacked up to keep him from escaping into the rest of the house. He was definitely a novelty to anyone that visited.

When it came time for us to move though, Pepe couldn’t come with us. And that is the sad part of the story. We gave Pepe to a teenage boy and his family. He, the boy, evidently had several exotic pets and was considered to be responsible. I’m sure he was. We, my parents that is, passed on the warning of always washing your hands thoroughly before handling Pepe. A neighbor came by to see the latest addition to the young mans menagerie and didn’t wash her hands. She had been making meat loaf before visiting. Pepe bit her, go figure. He probably thought he was being given a banquet. The neighbor insisted on Pepe being tested for rabies, unfortunately to test for rabies in an animal you have to kill them. So Pepe got put down. I still remember coming home from school one day and mom giving me the news. I was devastated. He was a really neat pet, and not once did he bite or scratch me while I humiliated him with baby doll clothes, dresses no less. I still miss him when I tell this story, and I still get a bit teary eyed. Though I don’t think I blame the boy anymore, I probably do still hold some bit of a grudge for the lady. But who knows what happened, and I guess now it really doesn’t matter. Although I am thinking the young man probably learned a tough lesson.

So here he is, Pepe le Pew-Stewart:

pepe le pew stewart

Home Cookin’ Restaurant!

Around 21 years ago, I was stationed with the Navy in Jacksonville, N.C. For a few months of my tour I worked at the medical clinic at Camp Geiger. One of my favorite parts of working in that clinic was Friday lunches. Every Friday we would go to this itty-bitty little hole in the wall restaurant. To tell the truth I’m not even sure it had a name, at least I never knew what it was. Anyway, this little gem offered lunch for $5. For that you got a main dish, two side items, a bread and a drink. You ordered off of a chalk board that hung on a wall, no menus. Each day they offered 3 or 4 main dishes and 10-12 sides. It was all “home” cooked, not frozen, not canned just delicious and all for just the $5. Well, that was more than alright for real food!

So today I was running errands and was passing another hole in the wall restaurant, O’Henry BBQ, here’s a map. I hadn’t eaten my  lunch and it was past 2 so I pulled in. My mind was on finding some good N.C. BBQ until I walked in the door. At that moment I traveled back in time, or at least I was hoping I had. The “wood-paneled walls, the chalkboard replaced by a white board. Oh but it felt the same. The same combo idea, choose your meat, choose you veggies, have a drink and your bread, $7.25. You heard that right, $7.25! And good. I had country fried steak with the best gravy. Fried okra that tasted like my grandmothers. Though they tell me (even showed me) it is frozen I have a hard time swallowing it. Though no problem swallowing the okra! The roll was soft and tasty and the sweet tea was sweet southern. Now I have to be honest I wasn’t crazy about the corn. It’s canned and I can taste that in corn. But there were so many other options that I can’t wait to try: green beans (with requisite bacon grease), stewed apples with cinnamon and butter, mashed “taters”, squash, slaw, pintos, black-eyed peas. And some things I’m not all that into, but others might like: Apple sauce, beets, peaches, potato salad, cottage cheese, mixed fruits.

As I originally wrote this, pen on napkin , still sipping my sweet southern iced tea, I could remember those lunches all those years ago. It’s a good memory of good food and good co-workers, happy taste buds, happy stomach, smiles and laughter. I’m glad now I can make new memories in the same vein in a restaurant that is different and yet the same. And since I have managed (unintentionally) to use this sentence in every post, I won’t slack off now. Here’s what I think. It is a wonderful thing to have good memories of the past, and the opportunity to savor them in the present, so as to have even more good memories in the future!

And as a final note, if anyone remembers that nameless restaurant, it was out Hwy. 17 towards Wilmington in Jacksonville, N.C. I’d  love to hear your remembrances  Or maybe it still stands and serves good “home” cooked meals for a really good price. I would love to know that too.

30+ Year Old Recipe – Part 2

So today I made some more progress on the elusive tostada recipe from so long ago. I spoke to some very lovely people who were really eager to help. I mean it is such an unusual thing I am doing. How many people go around calling a quarter of the way around the world just for a tostada! First I spoke to Kathy at the Chamber of Commerce. She knew the restaurant I was speaking of but had nothing beyond that to offer me. So she recommended that I call the Visitors Bureau, something else I never would have considered! At the Visitor’s Bureau I spoke to Terry, again very nice, who came up with another idea I hadn’t thought of. She recommended I call the current Mexican restaurant hot spot and speak to the owner there.  Before leaving off with Terry we talked about when I used to live in Juneau and where. How the city has grown, but is still small. One of my favorite things about living there when I did was that I could bike to so many places. To the pool, the museum, Fernando’s Restaurant! where I would sometimes surprise my mother and meet her for a “drink” before business meetings, and even to the glacier where I would hike the mountain and then go home again. In fact, except for the rain, Juneau was one of my favorite places that I lived. I really loved it there. But onward on my journey! So I next called a restaurant named El Sombrero. The owner wasn’t in but I spoke with a manager. He seemed to know just what I was talking about in regards the tostada and the old restaurant. He didn’t have contact information but he was more than willing to tell me how to build that tostada.  I have already e-mailed my mother with the instructions, the very simple instructions, and so now we await part 3 of the story. How will it turn out? Will I need to continue my search? The trail is not cold yet so we will just have to wait and see what my mom thinks!


30+ Year Old Recipe – Part 1

A little over thirty years ago I lived in Juneau, Alaska. I was 9 almost 10 when we moved there, 11 almost 12 when we left.  While we were living there we often frequented a Mexican restaurant called Fernando’s.  My mother’s favorite dish was a tostada. Of course dad retired, we moved, but mom never forgot that tostada. Now, over 30 years later, she still craves it and has been unsuccessful at recreating it. Of course now with the internet and cell phones and being able to bridge the distance of thousands of miles with ease I have been set off on a quest. I found a phone number for the restaurant, but it is disconnected.  Hoping this was a typo or an out of date phone number I decided to call another business in the area. The one place that I could think of that I knew the name of and thought would still be there was the hotel we lived in for the first 30 days we were in Juneau. The Prospector Hotel, I can still see the sign in my mind and can still see the room, with its little kitchenette. I remember a lady that worked there all those years ago, she was the housekeeper. And each day when she would come to clean our room and the others she would talk to me and listen to me. I remember whenever she would move floors we would race, she on the elevator and I on the stairs. Today I spoke to Patrick, a very helpful young man. I imagine him telling this story to his friends or family, the strangest call he ever got. As it turns out Fernando’s closed just a couple of years ago. He said it was an old family and that they had closed up shop. The building is boarded up now, empty. That makes me sad. I stayed on the phone with him, explaining my dilemma, thinking this would be the end of the road. I am glad that sometimes what I think is wrong. I never would have thought about it, but Patrick suggested the Chamber of Commerce. I have a call in to them now. Waiting for either a call back or an e-mail. That will be part 2 of my tale.  And what a wonderful tale this will be if it ends up with a tostada my mom can enjoy.