Chapter 4

February 12th, 2010

"Mrs Mutt" Is Now My Jenny

During the two-day "Blizzard of 2010", I decided to visit my The Cabin, do some reading and get away from it all. It was far enough north of the storm, at least I thought, that I'd have no problems getting there and back by Sunday morning, when Arthur and I planned to plow-out the GC&N Complex. I packed a change of clothes, left plenty of food and water for my two condo cats, and left at 3:45pm, ahead of the storm. Up here, we got 34" of snow, but a Conservative Friend had plowed me out.

I arrived within minutes, slid the Jeep under the lean-to at the side kitchen door. On my previous visit, I had stocked-up the cabin with food, water and

ammo. I drew my Kimber .45ACP, chambered a round, checked for broken or jimmied windows, entered the Cabin and checked all rooms & closets with my drawn Kimber 1911 .45cal; all was quiet, to make sure it was "unoccupied" and safe for me. The LPG-powered generator kicked-on with the flick of a switch. Within minutes, the temperature was up to a comfortable 75°F, and I brought a couple of armloads of split wood inside from the back porch, and started a fire in the oversized hearth. It was good to be back. And the snow was starting to come down heavily.

I fired-up the kitchen grille, made a 10oz Allen Bros filet mignon, with porcini mushroom sauce, salad, garlic bread and a cold Rolling Rock beer. Then I settled back into my favorite, overstuffed leather comfy chair, and began reading and sipping my favorite 50-yr old Cognac, and smoking a Cuban Cigar. The wind howled and I walked over to the front bay window, to see the "2010 Blizzard" outside. No dishwasher yet, so I did dishes by-hand, and put them in the drying rack in the double sink. I kept looking around the front porch to see if Mrs Mutt had returned, but she hadn't. I hoped she was well in this storm. Then, I heard a yelp and bark at the side kitchen door, dropped my book, and ran to the door. There she was; wet, cold, half-frozen, fir stiff with ice and very hungry/ thirsty. How she found her way here is still a mystery to me, after dropping her off at her "owners", last weekend.

I brought her inside, grabbed one of my lush, Turkish Towels, toweled-her-off by the massive hearth fire, grabbed some Iam's® Wet & Dry Dogfood, which I'd brought along, and let her eat and drink fresh water, until she was satiated. I put out two bowls of dry Iams and fresh, 1 bowl of cold water, for which she was grateful. She curled-up on my bearskin by the fire, and went to sleep. While I was reading "Unintended Consequences", by John Ross, I was thinking that maybe she needs to go home with me.

This time, I brought my cellphone along, since Mom's continuing medical problems might require me to come back, suddenly.

Mrs Mutt was comfortable on her bearskin rug; meanwhile I'd taken a shower, lowered the Cabin lights and was ready to sleep. After crawling-in the King-Sized bed, Mrs Mutt joined me, at the bottom of the bed, after coming-up to lick my face and say "good night". She obviously hadn't been well-cared-for by her current owners, and was more happy with my affection. Last visit, I'd installed a commercially-available, temperature-activated, mechanical device which slowly closed the chimney's flu as the fire died down and the heat/ smoke lessened, keeping the warm air inside the cabin. No sense in trying to heat the outside.

I woke-up at 3am to Mrs Mutt's growling at the door. Peering out the large triple-glass-insulated (all cabin windows are triple-insulated, BTW) bay window, I saw two large black bears and two cubs passing through the front yard. Since bears are nocturnal, it was unusual to the see the entire family outside the den, in this Winter weather. The large male was carrying a dead deer in his mouth, presumably headed back to the den to feast with his family. Not only was Mrs Mutt a

good companion, she was also an efficient and attentive watchdog; a keeper, I thought. When suddenly a large mountain lion sprang from the thicket and went after the deer. It must have been trailing the scent of the drops of blood in the snow. Papa bear dropped the deer, wheeled-around, stood-up on his hind legs, and backhand-smacked the lion across the yard. I ran for my Beowulf® .50cal and two 11-round mags, just in case. As soon as I turned on the front porch light, it fixed the gaze of the bear family, while the lion dusted himself off for another try at the fresh kill. Momma bear high tailed it through the yard with the cubs and the deer, while Papa readied himself for another assault. I stepped out onto the porch, fired two shots toward the nearest tree (love those infra-red night-sights) and both the bear and lion quickly bailed.

I turned-off the light, triple-bolted the front door, went through all the rooms and looked out the windows to see if any critters were still lurking about. Apparently, the .50cal scared them off to their respective territories, and all was well, once again. I clicked-on the safety on the rifle, dropped the mag, put the extra cartridge back into the mag, with nine shots still in the mag, laid the two extra mags on the dresser, stood the .50cal next to the dresser. Mrs Mutt and I climbed back into bed to finish out the night's sleep. As I was drifting-off to sleep, I decided to go into town, and make an offer (for starters) to her owners, up the ante if need be, and take her home with me. She wouldn't be much use in a fight with wild critters, but she sure could alert me to take action with my considerable firepower, for all concerned.

As I made gourmet coffee & breakfast the next morning, Mrs Mutt looked quizzically at me: "Where's MY steak & eggs?" I explained to her that Iams dog food had what she truly needed, and that an occasional "steak & egg treat" would be forthcoming, especially after last night's episode. She understood and licked her chops. I've always believed that animals are smarter, more affectionate and have deeper souls than many so-called humans I've met over the years. Pickle was just one of the many strays I took-in and cared for in my 60 years. I know you can easily relate to what I'm saying here.

I "broke silence" and use my cell to call Becky in York, to check on 2010 Blizzard II's progress. It was quickly approaching York County, and I needed to get back. So I refilled Mrs Mutt's plastic "litter pans with a combination of cat litter and wood shavings, a ton of which I have in the barn for feeding raspberry and blueberry plants in the Spring. I told her I'd only be gone for a short while, and that she should relax, eat hardy with all the food and water I'd left her in bowl in the "mud room", next to the kitchen, where the washer & dryer live. I left the furnace set at 62°F, and she'd be just fine curled-up upon that deep, warm bearskin rug.

In a "virtual moment", I was back at my condo, scanning weather maps, checking latest forecasts and preparing for the worst: 12-18" of wet, heavy snow, which would might wreak havoc with power, telephone and CATV-Net. Luckily, it didn't.

By Wednesday at 6:20pm, "I'd had the shits" of this 2010 Blizzard II, and decided to go to my "virtual cabin" for a while. Within minutes, I was there. I didn't even have to check the cabin; Mrs Mutt was well-guarding the joint, and as soon as she heard my voice, her growling turned to wimpering and welcoming.

As as soon as I stomped-in the door shaking-off the snow from my 12" LLBean Maine Hunting Boots, she jumped up and ran to meet me. I greeted her, got my Winter garb off, turned-up the reliable generator heat, and went out the back door to get several armloads of split firewood, and got the massive hearth going. I fed Mrs Mutt, lit a Cuban cigar, poured a snifter of 50-yr old Brandy, and sank into my "comfy chair", to relax. It would be days until my condo and GC&N Complex would be dug-out, so I planned to stay here and catch-up on some much overdue reading.

I was tired after thrice shoveling-out my condo's ventstacks, which were now drifted-over so bad that they were unusable, so I decided to check my accompanying weapons, and get some quality sack-time. By now, the fire was roaring and Mrs Mutt was fast asleep on the Kodiak bearskin. I fell asleep in the oversized and overstuffed leather chair, until the fire died down. Then it was time to turn off the lights and head for the BR. Mrs Mutt was not to be disturbed, so I went to sleep at 7:30pm. She joined me later. It was good to be away from PA and all its Blizzard troubles, and my own problems plowing/shoveling-out the GC&N Complex, for the second time in a week. And another storm is coming at week's end, I'm told.

I decided to stay here until I heard from the contracted plowing service called me; my condo cats had plenty of wet, dry food and water for 2-3 days, and the condo's contractor had their work cut out for them in clearing the driveways and walks. I'd have to get Arthur to help me clear the rear ventstacks, as they were drifted-in by 7-8ft this time, and unusable. Yes, I have the cell along.

I awoke from a bad dream at around 1:30am, put on my Turkish Bathrobe and went into the LR to relight the fireplace and reflect upon my situation. Mrs Mutt came out after 15-20mins, licked my hand and done some she'd never done before: jumped-up into my lap on her own and curled-up to sleep. I'd lit a Marlboro and was thinking about my Parents' futures, my Sister's future, Mrs Mutt's future, my own future, my condo cats' future et al; way too much for this time of the wee-early morning. But nonetheless, the thoughts came pouring out and I had to deal with them. I was now 60 and had to consider many, many, many "options" for the immediate and mid-future.

Wait a sec: dogs don't purr, do they? They snore, so maybe that's what I was hearing. Okay; no auditory hallucinations tonite.

The fire was dying down, the auto-closing device would soon be working, and I was ready to go back to sleep, without the bad dreams. I lifted Mrs Mutt off my lap onto the bearskin, and she re-curled to sleep, and I headed to the BR, leaving the temp at 70°F, for both of us. I had plans of a huge breakfast in the morning and a visit into Adam's Junction, since I knew my contractor wasn't going to get the condo plowed-out until perhaps Friday, or later.

I slept late, made brunch for me and Mrs Mutt, and I decided to leave her at the Cabin, and go to town to find her owners and make them an "offer" for her ownership. I stopped at the General Store and inquired; they pointed me to the house 323 Main St. It was Matt Smith, AJ's Mayor, whom I'd rescused the previous week with a dead battery. I knocked, introduced myself and explained my position with Mrs Mutt. They invited me in, and we began bargaining: I offered $75; no deal. $100; no deal. $150; YES! With a personal check and a handshake, I asked for her registration and veterinarian records, and they produced them. I thanked them, assured Mrs Mutt — her name was now "Jenny" — a fine home, affection and good care and set out for the small courthouse to change the registration from them to me, for another fee. She was now mine.

Time to pack-up and leave. I began the Cabin shut-down "process", left Jenny plenty of water and food until my return, loaded my weapons and gear into the Jeep, armed The Cabin and headed back on that long road to I-83 south, to York.

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