Before I tell you about my 1600+ mile adventure last week, let me first offer some background.
There was so much good news brewing that I could not wait to announce on my blog at the beginning of July. On July 1st, I was awarded a children's book project, illustrating an "ABC's of yoga" book. Less than 48 hours later, the book project was shelved (no pun intended). Then on July 4th, I was involved in an auto accident which flung me around my vehicle like a rag doll. The other motorist was not looking at all where he was going, all the while accelerating at a moderate speed through a parking lot and into the side of my vehicle. I was taken to the emergency room, and my red Honda CR-V was towed to a lot full of crumpled metal carcasses. I suffered no broken bones, but a broken spirit. My weekend was spent at home with ice packs and Advil. The only fireworks I saw were over the tree tops outside of my second story bedroom window. And my car was totaled.
The next 2 weeks were spent making trips to the chiropractor's office and on the phone with 2 insurance companies. It was 6 days before I could even get a rental car!
My friend Pam, whom I met in Sophmore year English class in high school and always manages to keep me laughing, invited me to ride along with her and her 2 kids to visit family in Alabama. She has invited me to tag along with them in the past, but since I average one vacation a decade (literally), a vacation with kids has never really appealed to me. Greece or the south of France sounded a bit more appealing, but Alabama was calling, and this time I answered. After lots of advice from my chiropractor, who agreed some time away would be good for my mind, I packed my suitcase and 24 hours later Pam was throwing it in the back of a rental car and we were heading south.
The landscape is vastly different from the cornfields and farmlands we drove through in Illinois. The roads are cut right into the mountain rock.
Fresh air and a fresh perspective.
Happiness = Pam and her son Matthew, and me in the middle. Matthew is 7 and into all venemous creatures. He will tell you all you ever wanted to know about scorpions and black widow spiders. Pam's daughter Jordan (not pictured) is 8, and into being "rich and famous" one day, and loves Miley Sirus.
I do wish I had captured more of this day in the country. I had forgotten my camera most of the day.
We drove up to Lookout Mountain for the view and to look at all of the beautiful homes built into the rock.
A dramatic sunset...
Now onto the "other" part of our vacation, one I find horribly sad.
Pam's sister Peggy found these puppies near a cardboard box, abandoned on the side of the road near the woods. I am not a member of PETA, nor do I think animals should receive the same rights as humans, but please people, be responsible and spay or neuter your pets! And if you do not want to shell out the money to do that, don't get a pet and then throw out the offspring when you don't want them. Animals are intelligent and do have feelings. These puppies were covered with ticks and fleas, were weak and hungry and dehydrated. The stray population is enormous in Alabama, where many people do not want to spend the nominal fee to have a simple procedure done to ensure their pets will not reproduce and overpopulate.
"Cookie" was the strongest, and 2 days after we rescued her, she acted like a normal little puppy.
"Shadow" looks sad in this picture. But she also is doing well now and is still recovering from the ticks and fleas...you can see the scars on her chest and face and tummy.
"Sweetie".....did not make it. You can see the bites all over her body. She suffered mange, and likely anemia due to blood loss from the parasites. Animal Control took her from us and euthanised her. I still wonder if we could have saved her after seeing how well her sisters bounced back. It makes me cry, really.
We spent much of trip caring for the puppies and emailing and phoning friends back in Illinois to see if anyone wanted a puppy. I am happy to say that Cookie and Shadow were both placed in happy homes with nice families.
One of the best parts of the whole trip was actually the driving. While flying seems so much more convenient, I loved seeing parts of the country I have never seen before, stopping off for ice cream and coffee and sodas in small towns I will probably never see again. It was a very good trip.