www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Dress for safety -4/16/2014, 10:09 AM

Does losing due process create inadequacies? -4/16/2014, 10:09 AM

Hate crimes -4/16/2014, 10:09 AM

On with the prom -4/15/2014, 8:57 AM

Newman proud to be in western Kansas -4/14/2014, 8:57 AM

Waiting on revenue estimates -4/13/2014, 8:57 AM

Wake up, people, and see the danger we’re in -4/13/2014, 12:03 PM

Patronizing paychecks -4/13/2014, 12:03 PM

Stripping of teachers’ due process worrisome -4/13/2014, 6:11 AM

The Kansas Ministry of Truth -4/13/2014, 6:14 AM

Letterman, Hillary and Jeb: 21st Century symbols -4/13/2014, 6:10 AM

Expensive school bill -4/13/2014, 6:12 AM

How to assist evil -4/11/2014, 9:15 AM

Taxing life away -4/11/2014, 9:12 AM

Lying about Obamacare -4/11/2014, 9:17 AM

The talk radio party? -4/10/2014, 11:04 AM

Term limits -4/10/2014, 11:06 AM

Let's do what we do best -4/10/2014, 11:05 AM

Satisfying the court -4/9/2014, 10:45 AM

Late-night funding fight -4/9/2014, 10:44 AM

‘Farmland’ — art is life on screen -4/9/2014, 10:45 AM

Tradition not changing -4/8/2014, 12:02 PM

Flat as a pancake -4/8/2014, 11:22 AM

Willing to take a bet -4/8/2014, 11:24 AM

Exposure to violence threatens children’s future -4/8/2014, 11:23 AM

Battling MS -4/7/2014, 8:58 AM

Why Renewable Fuel Standard matters -4/7/2014, 9:23 AM

Rites and wrongs of spring -4/7/2014, 9:23 AM

Coming to terms with Brownback -4/6/2014, 2:11 PM

Are 'religious viewpoint' laws needed in schools? -4/6/2014, 2:11 PM

School non-funding -4/6/2014, 2:11 PM

Sex and race equality -4/4/2014, 8:08 AM

Rest of the story -4/4/2014, 8:08 AM

Bank on USPS to save 'bank deserts' -4/4/2014, 8:08 AM

Gambling and government -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

Not merely water under the bridge -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

Federal fine -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

Twister time is here again -4/2/2014, 9:59 AM

School funding battle continues -4/2/2014, 9:59 AM

Watching for the flip-floppers -4/1/2014, 10:09 AM

Will Hays enter the 21st century? -4/1/2014, 10:09 AM

Tax breaks -4/1/2014, 10:09 AM

Hobby Lobby case a slippery slope -3/31/2014, 9:16 AM

Happy birthday, Gloria -3/31/2014, 9:16 AM

Unequal voting -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

Protecting the pollinators -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

Parties, politicians and seeking an advantage -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

Healthy aging -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

Threatened chicken -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

As temperatures rise, pay attention to stored grain -3/30/2014, 3:49 PM

Bizarre arguments and behavior -3/28/2014, 10:06 AM

In your dreams -3/28/2014, 10:06 AM

Against the wind -3/28/2014, 10:05 AM

Discovering the salt of the earth -3/28/2014, 10:05 AM

Entrepreneurship key to economic growth -3/27/2014, 8:36 AM

Kansas goes Kremlin with arrests, secrecy -3/27/2014, 8:36 AM

Get ready for Arbor Day -3/26/2014, 2:03 PM

Reading between the lines -3/26/2014, 2:02 PM

Switching parties -3/26/2014, 1:53 PM

Putting a price tag on damages -3/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Privately piercing, serious sacrifice -3/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Autism bill passes House -3/25/2014, 10:13 AM

United stance -3/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Legislative session getting down to the end -3/25/2014, 10:12 AM

Taxation bill involving livestock successful -3/25/2014, 10:12 AM

STARBASE Day hits Topeka -3/24/2014, 10:13 AM

Judging based on accomplishments -3/24/2014, 10:14 AM

Who speaks for the voiceless? -3/24/2014, 10:14 AM

Fly Hays -3/23/2014, 1:12 PM

Learning from the candidates -3/23/2014, 1:12 PM

hedy -3/21/2014, 1:12 PM

-3/20/2014, 9:59 AM

Fred Phelps -3/20/2014, 9:59 AM

Is There Wage Stagnation? -3/20/2014, 9:58 AM

Cost of living, wages don't add up -3/20/2014, 4:01 PM

Legislative proposal raises questions -3/20/2014, 4:01 PM

No vote on war -3/19/2014, 3:32 PM

Wonder of St. Fidelis -3/19/2014, 4:01 PM

Protein for breakfast -3/19/2014, 2:58 PM

A pointed comment on guns -3/19/2014, 8:57 AM

Campaign madness -3/19/2014, 2:58 PM

Counting the cost of Kansas' Medicaid expansion -3/18/2014, 9:26 AM

Tax-relief spells a sure vote -3/18/2014, 9:26 AM

Tourney madness -3/18/2014, 9:25 AM

St. Patrick's Day -- The value of Irish humor -3/16/2014, 5:44 PM

Not all things are bad -3/16/2014, 5:44 PM

Supreme Court takes Legislature to school -3/16/2014, 5:43 PM

Parochial education -3/16/2014, 5:43 PM

Governed by rules, not men -3/14/2014, 10:00 AM

More guns: Merrier or scarier? -3/14/2014, 10:00 AM

The war on women -3/13/2014, 9:51 AM

Labeling the education can -3/13/2014, 9:51 AM

Taking exception -3/12/2014, 2:03 PM

Choose wisely in today's society -3/12/2014, 2:02 PM

Budget concerns -3/12/2014, 2:01 PM

Courting judicial changes -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

House now on home stretch -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

Value of bitcoins -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

Medicare trouble brewing -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

Kansas must change direction to lead -3/11/2014, 10:33 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