Two weeks ago, when my little sister came from Pennslyvania to visit, I had joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart; down in my heart … tooooo stay.
Well, not really to stay, since Joy and husband John only stayed five days. It wasn't “Joy to the World…” just Joy to Park County.
Oh, how I love song lyrics; unfortunately I can't think of any for her husband John. Few ditties were written with references to a name that's a euphemism for “toilet.”
But as long as Joy has John, John, John, John down in her heart, I'm happy. He's a chatty, jovial chap, but after roughly 3,500 hot miles together in a small car (they're currently tailgating brother Jess and his wife, Marti, on the way to New Mexico), Joy's probably thinking, “Will ya please shut up and quit being so dang jovial?”
There wasn't enough time during her rare visit, but I'd always hoped to introduce her to some Cody women I've known over the years. Joy would en-joy meeting Hope Sheets, Love Murray, Faith Holler, and Grace Weaver, who worked with my older sister Wanda when she spent a summer here 25 years ago.
Any time you can get Love, Hope, Faith, Grace and Joy gathered together, it's a blessed union. No chance of a cat-fight there!
Sadly, I'm rapidly losing Blough women these past few years. Two sisters and Mom left me, leaving only two special “Bloughs gals” in my life: little sister Joy and little dog Trina. Per my dog/human calculations, Trina's a little older; Joy is 52 and Trina is about 9, making her 63. But as we know, today's 63 in dog years is yesterday's 49 in dog years.
Like myself, Joy confounds the aging process — she doesn't look too far removed from her class of '75 homecoming queen photos. My high school girlfriend Diane was runner-up, and since she sent me a Dear John (“Dear Toilet”) letter while I was in Cody that summer, it serves her right being only a lowly attendant to my sister.
Joy looks healthy as a horse; I just wish I could say the same for my other Blough gal. Until two weeks ago, my sweet little Trina dog was the runningest, jumpingest, hole-diggingest little Spaniel that ever lived life to its fullest. But on the horrible afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 11, a perfect storm of fluke, sickening events converged to rock my world.
I lack space to relate how each led directly to the next, but it ended with a carpenter on a job I drove to after changing my Saturday plans, backing over precious little Trina in full view of her doting, lovesick, constant 8-year companion, Trinity.
Her smashed foot would heal eventually, but the tail — cleanly broken at the base where all the nerves control functions — has left her totally incontinent. We're loving her up as best we can at home, but when I try tell her the messes she leaves aren't her fault and everything's OK, her sad eyes say it's not OK. Trinity and I will probably have to say our goodbyes later today.
It will be back to how it was eight years ago with just me and old stud Trinity in the truck now. And with blood, female family, it's only Joy now. As long as John doesn't back over her in some motel parking lot during their trip, Joy and I need to stick together. More phone calls and less negative childhood memories that I'm pretty sure never happened. She still claims that walking up our dirt road to the school bus, I made her lick dirt.
That just doesn't sound like me. I vividly remember always sticking up for her when sister Wanda would tease her. I secretly, but vigilantly watched over Joy when she reached seventh grade. She tearfully told me a bully girl named Sandy Richards picked on her and said her thigh-length hair was “witch hair.” It was I — skinny, peaceful, pimpled sophomore “UnderDoug” — who approached her two older, really tough brothers and made them an offer they chose not to refuse. They called off their little sister, who never bothered Joy again.
So I clearly was more of a hero than a tyrant who would suggest anyone lick dirt off a road. This column is a tribute to Joy and her husband named after a commode, so the next time I get home, I darn well better see this column framed and hanging on their living room wall. If not, as God is my witness, I'll force Joy to drink from the toilet!