www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Digital distractions -10/23/2014, 10:01 AM

Orman for Senate -10/23/2014, 10:01 AM

Federal persecutors -10/23/2014, 10:00 AM

Kids do count -10/22/2014, 10:31 AM

Needing the past in the future? -10/22/2014, 10:31 AM

In praise of hunting -10/22/2014, 10:30 AM

What is a CID? Will it work for mall? -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Judging importance on the ballot -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Kansas Speaks -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Paying for schools -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Joining forces for Orman -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Research before voting -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Davis is moderate? -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

The most important election in your lifetime -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Huelskamp stands out -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Kansas farm interests -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Keeping unfounded reports from 'going viral' -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

The age of cynicism -10/18/2014, 9:02 AM

Preventable diseases -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Second term needed -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Kansans deserve better -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Officially killing Americans -10/17/2014, 10:27 AM

New era at FHSU -10/16/2014, 10:01 AM

Roberts is right choice -10/16/2014, 10:01 AM

Crumbling Constitution -10/16/2014, 9:52 AM

Redbelly's future -10/16/2014, 9:52 AM

Kansas deserves better -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

Remember to vote on Nov. 4 -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

You almost feel sorry for Sean Groubert -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

Register to vote -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Living on that 70 percent -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

New bullying problem for schools: parents -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Cheerios, marriage equality, the Supreme Court -10/13/2014, 9:49 AM

Wedded bliss -10/12/2014, 5:54 PM

Who is the real fraud? -10/12/2014, 5:08 PM

Teenagers 'make some noise' -10/12/2014, 5:08 PM

Not so private property -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Federal funding -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Teacher indoctrination -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Vote Republican -10/9/2014, 9:49 AM

Non-partisan politics -10/9/2014, 9:49 AM

Teen driver safety week Oct. 19 to 25 -10/9/2014, 9:04 AM

FHSU party -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Poverty in America -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Let the women serve -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Time for new direction -10/8/2014, 9:49 AM

Improving Kansas economically -10/8/2014, 9:35 AM

Water abusers -10/8/2014, 9:35 AM

Play safe on the farm -10/8/2014, 9:34 AM

Where the money comes from -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

The president's security -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

Marriage equality -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

The sins of the father are visited -10/6/2014, 9:02 AM

Cannabis in America: The bottom line -10/6/2014, 9:20 AM

A reason to celebrate -10/6/2014, 9:20 AM

Gov. shields wealthy from paying for schools -10/5/2014, 2:07 PM

Passionate protest in defense of civil disorder -10/5/2014, 2:07 PM

October is time for baseball and, of course, film premieres -10/4/2014, 2:16 PM

Alley cleanup -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

Will the West defend itself? -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

Find another school -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

It's better now -10/2/2014, 9:17 AM

The answer is to bomb Mexico? -10/2/2014, 9:17 AM

Falling revenue -10/2/2014, 9:17 AM

School facilities -10/1/2014, 9:27 AM

Look ahead, not back -10/1/2014, 9:27 AM

Secret Service needs to step up its game -10/1/2014, 9:27 AM

Roosevelts were true leaders -9/30/2014, 9:18 AM

Moral bankruptcy -9/30/2014, 9:18 AM

Expect some sort of change in Topeka -9/30/2014, 9:18 AM

'A tale of two countries' -9/29/2014, 9:59 AM

The last of the Willie Horton ads? -9/29/2014, 9:59 AM

Finding answers to the future of Kansas -9/28/2014, 2:20 PM

College: Where religious freedom goes to die -9/28/2014, 2:20 PM

Honoring Hammond -9/28/2014, 2:20 PM

Do statistical disparities mean injustice? -9/26/2014, 9:53 AM

World university rankings -9/26/2014, 9:52 AM

Kansas experiment -9/26/2014, 9:52 AM

Two anti-choice parties -9/25/2014, 10:03 AM

Not in the same old Kansas anymore -9/25/2014, 10:03 AM

Domestic violence -9/25/2014, 10:03 AM

Back to war we go -9/24/2014, 9:55 AM

Piling on the NFL -9/24/2014, 9:54 AM

Emma Watson looking for a few good men -9/24/2014, 9:54 AM

Renter runaround -9/23/2014, 7:32 PM

Enough is enough -9/23/2014, 9:02 AM

Life of politics in the state -9/23/2014, 9:02 AM

What is and is not child abuse -9/22/2014, 9:30 AM

Cannabis politics and research -9/22/2014, 9:30 AM

Future of The Mall -9/21/2014, 6:14 PM

Multiculturalism is a failure -9/19/2014, 9:52 AM

State education rankings -9/19/2014, 9:52 AM

Kobach gone wild -9/19/2014, 9:52 AM

Bias prevents civil discussion of education issues -9/18/2014, 9:35 AM

Immigration is American -9/18/2014, 9:35 AM

Costs to states not expanding Medicaid -9/17/2014, 10:14 AM

Medicare threats -9/17/2014, 10:12 AM

Green fields in northwest Kansas -9/17/2014, 10:12 AM

Consolidation by starvation -9/16/2014, 9:54 AM

School mergers tricky -9/16/2014, 9:54 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Dogging it around the campfire

Published on -10/17/2013, 10:18 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

I stopped by Greta's house on the way home, and found her enjoying the cool, calm evening by a small fire behind her house. Her campfire has seats of stone posts and a nice view.

Greta Grunshoh lives on the plains, a mile away from her nearest neighbors, still spry enough to manage the country life. She noticed my arrival and put another log on the fire.

"It's about time I see your face," she said. "It's been a while." Always one for a big hug, she squeezed me with a chuckle. "You're looking good!"

"Are you surprised?" I asked her, and we fell into conversation with our usual ease.

"It's your favorite weather," she commented. It was damp and cloudy, with a bit of fog. "And you can have it." I laughed. Granny Greta holds nothing back.

"I heard about your dog, and I thought we might have a toast to the old girl," I said, pulling out a small bottle of tequila. Her eyes lit up.

"Why not?" she laughed, and we each took a hit from the bottle. "To Rowdy!"

Rowdy was her spotty dog, a vigorous prairie hunter. "I tried and tried to train that dog and it never took," she said. "Eventually, I just accepted that this was the way all car-chasing dogs were going to go and waited for it." She took another pull, and started to chuckle again. "She was 9 years old!"

That's a wait, huh?

"Well, owing to the kindness of strangers, really. Any one of the drivers she pulled up could have done it, she's held down her corner for a long time. Once, I was in the garden trimming iris when I heard a truck pull up and stop and the driver yelled at her, and all I could think was, yes, sir, I caused your pain, that's my dog."

Not so much pain, is it? An inconvenience at most. "Well," she said, "a pain in the neck. I hated that. But she was a good dog otherwise, she had a bright personality and she was good company. She was a hunter by nature. You can't fight nature, you know. She was a loving dog." She sighed. "The traffic has been high out here the last couple of years, and she's seen her share of tires. That's the way it goes.

"Not that I haven't had an uncharitable thought or two," she continued. The updraft from the fire set her white hair in motion as she stared into the pit. "I am kind of hoping she left some crumpled fiberglass. And I was tired of the flying trucks. Some of those fellas needed to slow down."

I asked if she knew who ran the dog under, and she said no. "I don't expect that kind of civility, ever. It doesn't matter; everybody that drives this road knows that dog. I'm thankful for all the people that dodged her. Nine is a ripe age for a car-chasing dog."

Did anybody ever cuss you out for your dog? She laughed again. "No, and by golly, I don't know what I would have done but throw myself on their mercy. I'm glad nobody made a fuss. That's nice. There's too much fuss in the world."

I asked if she'd been keeping up with the headlines, and she nodded. "I still get all my papers and internet news. I feel bad about it all. No matter what issue, everybody is in survival mode for their egos. Both right and left have taken the country holler to new levels. They're the same animal to me."

I was surprised. This is my most bleeding heart liberal friend. "Surely, you agree with the Democrats. You're always about feeding the poor and such. You must be leaning toward Obama's message."

"The Democrats let the Republicans gut the farm bill so the GOP could run SNAP into the ground. Doesn't sound like a family value to me, does it to you? Worse yet, they called it a negotiation. It raises the question whether an ethical thing like feeding the poor will meet its demise." She poked at the logs, breaking them down to coals.

I had to remind her that there were other services for the poor, what George called 'faith-based organizations."

"Yes, there are, and now they're having trouble keeping the lights on and the doors open. People that argue to decrease funding for WIC and food stamps don't stop to think, poor people go to non-profits when they can't feed themselves. These faith based organizations rose from a need. There are hungry people. It's even sadder to think that all this is happening right before the holidays."

She looked square at me, with a wisp of a smile, said, "Give what you can to the shelter and the community centers and the food pantries. There are going to be a lot of hungry kids this season."

Then she nestled into the blankets on her stone chair and sighed, staring into the low fire.

"I miss my dog," she said.

Mary Hart-Detrixhe is a lifelong resident of the prairie and Ellis county. Her work can be found at www.janeQaverage.com.

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos

AP Breaking News