There is nothing in this world like walking into a dark room and getting a face full of cobweb.  Arms flap about in a most ridiculous fashion, the back becomes a hump, and legs kick outwardly connecting shinbones with nearby sharp objects all accompanied by outcries of:

“Hablahabble hablahab!” (with or without modifiers)

Gestures and speech might resemble  (if you let your imagination completely off the leash) auditioning for the part of some prehistoric bird long extinct due to ineptitude.

It is an unnerving experience even for the best of us.  Intelligence does not diminish the impact.  Knowing exactly what it is does not ease the huge sense of dread even for adrenalin junkies like me.  But imagine getting a face full when you have no idea what cobwebs are.

I have not cleaned the garage in a while.  Cobwebs are all over the place, but for some reason there is not a cob in sight.  It makes you wonder.  Spiderwebs are more honest in that their presence indicates spiders on duty.  The cobs must sneak in and out during the night.  I think they lay their eggs in a cornfield nearby.

I went into the back yard by way of the rear door from the garage.  As soon as I opened it, Sir Benson Zipper De Doo Dah charged inside that cobweb-laced rummage sale bonanza junk stacked on stacks of junk-barn of mine we call the garage.  The mice have quit the place: too dangerous for them!

It is amazing just how much cobweb will fit onto the face of a Boston Terrier even though they as a breed do not resemble a dust mop.  There are other breeds, however, that resemble nothing else.  Further, it is amazing he didn’t lose his ever-loving mind what with his never having had any previous experience with webs of that sort in any venue whether well lighted or in total darkness.  He has no fear of the dark, but did not seem to care for having his face wrapped with unseen sticky fiber.

Lila Bea did not go in there: she suffers from arachnophobia.  She is also afraid of thunder, and would be no threat to burglars or other intruders, either.  She wilfully stays clear of anything she doesn’t fully understand which of course makes her ineligible to run for congress.

She established early in her residency here that the prefix “guard” did not suit her.  I guess that’s why they call her a “Yellow” lab.  It certainly is not from her coat which is mostly white with some streaks of tan.  Besides, even if she had gone in, you wouldn’t notice cobwebs on her: they’d be perfectly camouflaged.

I’m not calling her out to be a total coward.  She will face up to snakes, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, and bedroom slippers with an honorable level of assertiveness.  But not spiders.  I think she somehow associates spiders with lightning, thunder and rain.  Do you think it could be because of that little “Itsy Bitsy Spider” song?  Nah!

Zipper, on the other hand, did go into the garage and came out looking like he’d lost a battle with a cotton candy machine.  What a mess!  It looked like a frosted Christmas wreath was wrapped around his head.  But he cleaned up easily enough, and was grateful–he thought I was petting him, and my attentiveness was rewarded.  For a moment I thought he was going to lick me to death.

I had gone out into the yard in the first place to confirm my suspicion that it was too hot to mow the lawn, and it was.  Since Zipper had cleaned the cobwebs out of the garage, the dawgs and I could now in good conscience go into the air conditioned part of the house for some rest and refreshment.  Inside the comfort of the living quarters there would be no shortage of refreshment, and webs would be no obstacle.

In the summertime, we give the dawgs ice cubes instead of a bucket of water while they are in the house.  They crunch and chew the ice haphazardly taking most of the pieces to carpeted areas to melt.  Finding a wet spot on the rug with your bare feet is almost as unnerving as walking into cobwebs.

But that is far less inconvenient than the kinds of hazards too much drinking water can cause for an animal that cannot operate a door knob.  A thirsty dawg when quenched will soon have other needs.  It is not necessary to be overly graphic, but suffice it to say the dawgs are no longer allowed on the bed.

This rule will remain in place for awhile.  Out in the garage there are toys and tools that seemed so important only a few short years ago, but now collect dust and cobwebs.  They just don’t have the same sense of urgent need and utility of earlier days.

How quickly the time passes!  Only a figurative yesterday ago a great sacrifice of energy, time and money was spent to get possession of tools I thought I just had to have–couldn’t live without.  But never did the collection include a crystal ball.  If it had, I would’ve probably drilled three holes in it and gone bowling anyway.

The same is true about some of the things that take up space in my head.  I don’t use algebra as much now as I used to, and factoring methods are stacked up in a corner of my mind covered in cobwebs.  Sentence diagramming procedures also show no signs of recent use, and may have dry-rotted by now.  Looking back, I never spent much time using either of those tools very often, and even when I did, it may have not been the way they were intended to be used.

There are also remnants of brilliant plans that never fully developed.  Those now dusty ideas would require enormous amounts of energy to implement, yet they are still unworn from any practicum and scattered about in corners of my mind.  It’s funny sometimes to think about them, but they will never be employed again.  Those plans were designed by a younger me at a time when dreams could become goals, but never did.  They are so much like the tools in the garage that were once so important to have, but now I simply pray that I should never actually need to use them anymore.  But I keep them just the same in case I do.

So in a way, the garage is a garden of memories.  A lot was planted there, but a good bit of it will have to be harvested by some other gardener, or just plowed under.  Now and then I pick up other fruits from the memory gardens cultivated by my father and my grandfathers, but quickly move on back to today.  After all, yesterday is gone, isn’t it?

And so it will be for rules set down today to govern today.  Tomorrow some of them will just not seem so important.  Certainly if I live long enough it will be an entirely different light that shines on who wets the bed.  But in the meantime, since dawgs won’t change the sheets or buy a new mattress, they can stay on the floor, thank you very much!

12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by EBW on August 21, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    (From e-mail) LOL!! You have a garage….we have a warehouse!!


  2. Posted by betty on August 22, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    I saw Smokie as the dust mop!


  3. Posted by Stan DeHart on August 22, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    You used Algebra? Ever? YOU DIAGRAM SENTENCES? Damn, I never saw you sneak out of VSC and into Harvard. “When dreams could become goals but never did.” WOW! a fitting epitaph for almost all of us. Since we have indoor cats, wet spots on the rug are never ice cubes.
    Nice writing, good thoughts.


  4. Posted by Wayne Casasanta on August 22, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Van, as I sink, deeper and deeper, into senility, I see that a lot of time and money were spent on material things, which may have seemed important at the time, but now have outlived their attraction and/or usefulness. Learning of more and more friends, who are no longer here or who are experiencing serious health problems, all of which reminds me of my own mortality, also causes me to realize, more than ever, the importance of using our time and talents to invest in the lives of others. I wonder if I am a “cobweb” to others, or do they consider me to be an encourager, supporter and faithful friend? Recently, while I was at the YMCA, at gentleman, who has a disability, began telling me of his loneliness and feeling of rejection by family members and “friends.” It would have been easy to nod and to basically ignore his comments, but I realized that this was an opportunity to tell him that no matter how others may treat him, God loves and cares for him. I did not solve his problems, but he seemed to appreciate that someone was willing to listen to him. When I saw him a few days later, he told me how much he appreciated for me to talk with him and that he felt better. There may be people all around us, who feel “trapped in cobwebs,” thinking that they are not loved or appreciated. Tools and other material possessions may be set aside for lack of use, but each of us can make a difference in someone’s life by just listening and being available.

    Van, if you have a bag or box of Depends in your garage, don’t throw them away. I have a feeling both of us may need them, sooner than later.


  5. Posted by Del on August 22, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    (from e-mail) Excellent! Since I have retired and spent too much time away from home, I have the problem of cobwebs just getting in the house and to my bed when I return.


  6. Posted by little d on August 22, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Hey Van, have you heard about any yard sales where we could cash out on our old dreams, big ideas, good intentions, lost fortunes, partial completions ? If ya do, let me know, we might hit it big after all !!!!!!


  7. This is a reminder to move my big ideas out of the garage and into a the world. Thanks for writing this one. Always an inspiration. much love!


  8. Posted by Bonnie on August 23, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Once again, many good thoughts put down in writing to be shared. You can’t make up the stuff about the dogs, and to turn it all into something to actually reflect upon is just plain awesome.


  9. Posted by Robin on August 28, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    “We spend the first half of our lives acquiring stuff, and the second half trying to get someone else to take it all off our hands.”


  10. Posted by Sam on September 7, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    (from e-mail) OMG Van, your stuff is sooooooooooooooo funny! lol I have a min pin who can so relate to your Zipper. lol


  11. Posted by Gary on September 12, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    (from e-mail) Your blog is a joy to read, I love the way your mind works.


  12. Posted by Marlene Humberd on January 17, 2012 at 2:32 am

    It’s nice to end the day with a good read and a laugh ..or two …or three ..from you , Van . Giggled all the way through this one . ; ) Never thought about them “cobs ” before… I’ll have to watch for them in the wheat field .Then again , it might be better just to avoid the wheat field altogether ,unless cotton candy hair is the new trendy style ! As I ‘ve said before … love your darlin dawgs! I think they were made ” special order “just for you!


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