FLD Gus is glad to be back home in the north-country woods after a trip downstate, but it isn't all playtime--a trip to town is not something to miss. Andy is adding a ceiling light to our dark basement hallway and of course, this necessitates an outing to the hardware store. We are becoming regulars at the Green Ace Hardware in Rose City.
Today FLD Gus jumps out of the van (with some encouragement), parks, and waits patiently for me to clip on his blue working jacket. Maybe he's getting over his reluctance.
"They don't have what I need," Andy announces when he finds FLD Gus and I walking the aisles practicing RIGHT and LEFT turns. What? I find it hard to believe that Green Ace doesn't have something. "They are just out of stock right now," he says. "I should have went with my instinct and gone to Hale first."
Off we go to Hale, 12 miles past our house in the other direction. Quick trips to the hardware during a project are a bit different up here. In the city, Lowe's was less than one mile away, Home Depot less than five miles.
Still, it is a pretty drive, even today with the eeriness of fog shrouding the stark branches of the trees. The temperature lingers around 50 degrees and it is hard to tell if the air is foggy from the melting snowpack, or if the cloud cover is low. The windshield mists over enough that we need the wipers on.
|Fog in the trees|
In Hale, we head to the Bernard Building Center. Andy is confident they'll have what he needs; we checked out Bernard's last week and were impressed with their selection.
As is typical in businesses up here, FLD Gus is warmly welcomed. A Bernard's worker stops to admire Gus. "He's a fine looking Lab," the man says. "I have one of those. Is he from Leader Dogs in Rochester?"
Yes, I answer, not too surprised--we heard about another puppy frequenting Glen's Grocery in Rose City.
"My wife and I are raising our 13th dog for Leader Dogs, a female black Lab. Where are you from?"
We just moved up here from the Detroit area. We're out on Brady Road.
"Ah!" He nods. "My wife drives the school bus for Rose City."
Then she's seen us. The day we moved in, the school bus slowed past the neighbor's house down the hill from us and let the kids off at the top of the hill instead. I waved at all the faces pressed against the windows.
"Well," he says, "she's heard about you."
Small town life, word gets out. But it is nice meeting Ed, and knowing that his wife Lori is the one driving the school bus down our road. Ed and Lori raised Labs and Golden Retrievers for Leader Dogs for the Blind; one of their puppies was pulled for breeding, and only one was career-changed. A very successful record!
On the drive home, electrical supplies in hand and FLD Gus curled up at my feet, I remark to Andy, Puppy-raisers. We're our own sub-culture! He smiles, more than one reason we're feeling so at home here.