EPISODE 480 PETS CONTINUED— TARA THE COONHOUND and GEORGE the female cat whose name did not fool Tom Cats, etc.
Note: I INITIALLY SENT THIS NOTE TO A FEW PEOPLE…I.E. THOSE WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED. QUITE A RESPONSE SO
I AM SENDING IT TO USUAL GROUP…A REPEAT FOR SOME OF YOU. TRIGGERED BY RESPONSE FROM KENT
Just a note about our Castlefield Institute…and our free swinging discussions of world affairs
EPISODE 480 THE CASTLEFIELD INSTITUTE… WHERE OLD FRIENDS MEET NOV. 29,2021alan skeochNov. 2021The Castlefield Institute has been in session for several years now. It has even survived the Covid 19 shutdownthanks to this daily Institute news letter which circulates to members. (and some non members) John Wardle founded the institute to honour JohnRicker now well into his nineties and sharp as a tack. Usually we meet in person once a month.John Ricker once said “I have come to like dogs better than humans.” …. which is not true . The dog we all knew was namedMontesquieu one of the leading forces in the French Revolution. A John Ricker hero. A painting done by Paul underscores how close John Rickerwas to this little white dog who often stole sandwiches and cake when members of the institute were distracted.Wilf started us off on the right foot with a bottle of champagne to loosen our tongues.John Wardle read letters of greeting from Phil Sharp and Bill Saywell and Bryce Taylor and verbal regrets from Sam Markou.Then the toasts began and the laughter…and the stories some of which might actually be true.The Institute members spent time discussing the impact of Covid 19, the state of the American nation, the local political scenein Toronto and the future of our world. Jumped around a bit.Milton really warmed us all up with tales of the University of Toronto history department some years ago. Seems most of the profshad a weakness for Scotch Whisky. Milton’s comments were spell binding at times when he got serious. At other times howeverhe let his natural humour surface.The kitchen cabinet meeting before the formal meeting began.John Ricker…musing.We have all walked our way through our slice of history…and wondered at the meaning of it all. We can lament some things and rejoicein others. And laugh at those who puff themselves up. And cry for those who cannot do so.In a serious moment, one of the Institute members asked John Ricker “John, I would be interested to know how your mind workedin 1945 when you returned to Canada after the terror a a tail gunner in a Lancaster bomber…after knowing that many of yourfriends had been killed…what was on your mind after the war was over You were still a kid really. You had career choices. Why did you decide to becomea history scholar?”“I wanted to understand the forces that allowed so many people to fall into crucible of war.” (paraphrase)And when all was done…a case of wine appeared with a bottle for each of us. Merry Christmas. “If you do not take a bottle thenJohn will have to drink it all.”I tried to grab a bottle for Sam Markou and Phit Sharp but was stopped.. Not trusted.Paul did the painting of John Ricker and his dog. He is also the author this year of a major book on aboriginal history. (title?)
Sent: 02 October 2017 01:13
To: Marjorie Skeoch
Subject: DON’T PULL MY LEG! …”I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN”
On Sat, Nov 20, 2021 at 2:23 PM ALAN SKEOCH <email@example.com> wrote:EPISODE 476 WHY SHOULD ANYONE BE INTERESTED IN OTHER PEOPLE’S PETS? TWO REASONS…TARANGA AND TARAalan skeochNov. 2021Look closely….centre of the wintry scene is (was) our cat Taranga. She was more like a dog than a cat because she lovedto follow us whenever she could … even in deep snow. Why should you care about our pet cat? Many of you who read these episodesprobably do care because you have a cat or a dog…or a duck or kangaroo….or a guppy; Most people have pets that they love. Names?Naming pets makes them very personal. We named Taranga after a mountain in New Zealand where Marjorie, Andrew and I nearly gotswept out to sea on a fast incoming tide. She was named after an adventure.WE have always had pets around our house. As close as the breath we breathed. So it is with a lotof people. When the Mississauga Train disaster happened and the prospect of chlorine gas flowingdown upon us happened we loaded the car. First in went the pets, then the kids and I suppose laterthe spare underwear.Now here is a closeup picture of Taranga. Like pin-up movie stars, Taranga knew she was pretty. She also could climb trees….roll over…purr…and get attentionfrom people passing by. W do not know how or why she died. Andrew found her body down by Mary Fix Creek.My brother and I had lots of cats as pets. Marjorie had rabbits and dogs.When we got married we were given a cat by Faye Nichols. She named her “Presque Neige” because she was white with justa dusting of gray on her head. We kept the name even though we had re=naming rights. “Presque Neige” was a rather looselady and got herself knocked up if I might use that crude but clear term. When she reached term she knew things were not goingright and one night she got into bed with us…between us….and began the birthing process. But the kittenswere not coming out like water mellons in the summertime (poor image). So “pressure” asked Marjorie topull the first one out as it seemed to be stuck. Marjorie became a midwife that night.Years later, when we bought our home, we got our first dog. “Tara” was name chosen… after the southern estate in Gone With the Wind.She was a great dong. A hunting dog who never got the chance to hunt. She did not resent the fact that we do not worshipguns and settled right in. There were times when the wind blew in sudden gusts that she picked up the smell of raccoonsand looped down the back field. But she always came back almost immediately. We got Tara when Marjorie got pregnant by some strange process and as her stomachexpanded she got the notion that if we were going to have children we damn well better get a dog. Did I say dog! Slip of the tongue.Marjorie located a coonhound stud..a couple of them really. In one year Tara had a load of puppies.. I tried to feince in the first litter bybuilding a wall around their corner of our lot. It was a failure. Coonhound pups climbed walls just like TAranga climbed apple trees.Our pups were loved by our two boys. There were so many little creatures on our lot that year that the Mississauga News sent outa reporter and photographer. Tara became famous for her 15 minutes…just like all of us.Next problem was finding homes for all these pups. Marjorie put up a sign. “Coonhound pups need good homes”The term ‘good home’ had a special meaning to Marjorie. A lot of men came around lured by the coonhounds.Marjorie asked them a simple question …”Do you hunt?”“Yes…just love hunting season…would be even better with a coonhound”“Sorrry, no pups to hunters.”“Why not? Coonhounds are hunting dogs….hounds!”“Never sure dogs will be cared for…we had an abandoned houndarrive at the farm once…alone..no owner. And another hound waschained up most of the year near our farm.”So all of Tara’s pups went to what Marjorie thought were good homes.All except for one which we named Shadow. We kept him. Lovely dog whowas just too obedient and also prone to wander. One day he wandered awayfollowing a scent. Not far. When called he turned and began to run back to us.A car hit him…killed him. We were devastated as was his mother, Tara.This is Tara. She is taking a moment to think about something. Perhaps to worry about her pups.Tara is up the hill with her nose picking up information that none of us can detect. Pete, mom and dad’s dog, is watching mewhile everyone else if tinkering with my 1953 model of a W6 Internaionals. Note the fine plowing job.
I think Marjorie is carrying Tara’s pup Shadow in this picture. If he had lived we would have had lots of coonhounds. I remember one
of the hunters asking if Tara had a good tongue. Odd term. Ar least I thought the term odd until Tara smelled a raccoon. Then she hollered
What is our coonhound thinking here at a campground somewhere in Canada?