Newcomers (no visitor is a stranger, certainly not by the time of departure) may notice one rather strange addition to the decor in what is otherwise a fairly immaculate home. (OK, I'll settle for neat. More or less.)
Next to the doors to the deck stands a broom enrobed in a terry cloth towel. (Doesn't everybody have one? I think they should at least if they have pets.)
I, you see, have dogs whose primary exercise seems to be going out, waiting momentarily (or longer) and then coming back in. Odds are too high that they will return either soaked (in season) or white with snow. The towel is pretty necessary.
In fact, Quillow knew the trick before he even arrived for he automatically enters and stops with a wayward glance at me should I try to tarry to finish a stitch or a sentence before rising to meet his need. Minor might be or was a bit more lackadaisical but quickly learned to appreciate the service. A good rubdown might even make a return trip outdoors worth while.
Beauty doesn't object to a good cat rub herself if I can catch her (she's willing) before she spots Quillow and tears off. He's harmless but she's aging and getting strange(r) in her ways. Forgetful. Suddenly either dog can be seen as a menace. Still I must say she telegraphs her position noisily so I'm not sure what she expects.
And the broom? you might ask. Well, for starters it's the perfect place to keep the towel. It won't dry folded up on the floor and, draped over the nearest chair well, why subject a nice wood chair to a water torture?
However, I discovered this purpose slowly and totally by accident. (I am so grateful for those helpful little touches of serendipity.)
The broom has become a winter necessity. The doors open straight onto the deck. It snows. The wind blows and I can open to half a foot of white stuff just waiting to tumble inside. Not if I can get there with the broom first!
It is also useful when the snows are exceptionally heavy. Then I sweep the dogs who, I assure you, have no objections.
In between (and there are "in betweens," days when it neither rains nor snows), why a broom is always handy. I can sweep the crumbs beneath the table, get ambitious and sweep the entire room (it always needs it) or, more to my liking, step outside and sweep the deck. I like that much better than shoveling though at times that's a good idea and can feel pretty good, too. If I don't use the warming spells to clear the snow while I can, I have to really climb (really, really climb) to get out to measure the snowfall by season's end. I slipped once so prefer to eliminate the treacherous spots when I can. And who said a little bit of exercise doesn't make one feel really great? "Little bit" gotcha.
On a long ago trip to New England, I purchased the kind of decorative broom one might hang near the hearth. For a couple of years it hung near the back door, a perfect brush for ridding boots (remember galoshes?) of snow. I'll have to look for it.
Not only pets appreciate those extra touches.
Susan Crossett is a Cassadaga resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org