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FROM THE VALLEY: Our Garbage Disposal Has A TailUntitled

Updated: Jan 27

By Tom Valley

My dog, Maggie, slowly strolled in from the cold as I patiently held the door open. “Yeah,” I said sarcastically, “take your time, girl, let me chip in with that global-warming thing.” She looked at me with her 'I-couldn't-care-less' eyes and ambled over to her empty dog-food bowl to take a look-'n-see … just in case.

The older Maggie gets, the more often she forgets if she ate or not. Her memory isn't as sharp as it used to be. We got her as a pup from a local shelter over a decade ago. I'm not saying she's starting to show her age but just, yesterday, she asked me the same thing three times.

“Hey,” she said “do they make pork-chop dog biscuits?” No, I explained, “at least, not since the last time you asked me ... twelve minutes ago.”

But I must confess, it's probably not just forgetfulness that makes her check out the dish. I occasionally drop the last bite of something I can't finish in there. I know, I know, already: dog-training manuals say that that's a no-no ... or something like that. I'm not quite sure what it completely says - nor what they recommend I should feed her. She ate the manual right after we brought her home.

But yes, admittedly, I occasionally give her leftovers – more nutritious than manuals - because it's been ingrained in me, since I was a little kid, to never waste food. My mother would always preach, “There are children on the other side of the world starving, so finish your Spam.”

I was never quite able to grasp that concept, of why - or how - gluttony on one side of the planet could stave off starvation on the other side. But figuring Mom knew best, I listened and did what she said. Why, I thought, risk a life of remorse if it was ever proven that I was responsible for world hunger?! I was going to do whatever it took to prevent decades of guilt. And, now, Maggie has become the beneficiary of that maternally-instilled paranoia.

Note: Hunger is not a joke. Nor is it just in faraway places. It's everywhere, even right here in our area. I realize that. And it is certainly not my intention to downplay or whitewash it in any manner. I encourage everyone to make a donation to their local food pantry as soon - and as possible. Thanks.

Tell them Maggie sent you.

Anyhow, Maggie sauntered over to her lush pillow-bed by the TV and

circled it like a sink full of slow draining dish-water. She finally settled in after

three or four attempts at landing, in an effort to face out and look back my way.

(Her hearing has also fallen victim to Father-Time and because of that, has

adapted by reading lips. Smart dog.)

After the obligatory ritual of sucking the snow from between her toes, she

picked up her head, shook off some phantom fleas and spoke.

“What's up with memes?”

“Say what?” Frankly, Scarlett ... I was baffled. I had no idea what she was

talking about.

“Are you talking about a 'meme'? Those, whatever things, images, visual

ginkuses ... that are now the latest rage and trending? Whatever 'trending'


“Yeah, a meme.” She chuckled, “I was wondering if maybe, the last

president made up that word?! You know, the way it's spelled and all ...?”

“Whoa, don't go there, pal. I'm going to use this conversation in the very

column I'm writing now - and I certainly don't need that guy's no-sense-of-

humor comrades taking their sore loser attitudes out on me with their own

fantasy version of reality.”

“That happens?” Maggie asked.

“Oh yeah. One guy wrote that he was so upset with me, he swore he'd never

read the column again.”


“Yup. He wrote the same thing after every column for the next three


“Amazing. Hey, not to change the subject, but have you got any munchies

around? Dog biscuits? Anything?”


“Alrighty then. Hey, that looks like a new laptop you're working on. Just get


“Yes, I did, Maggie. Why?”

“Well, I was just wondering, did you happen to leave the manual lying

around anywhere? Huh, did ya?”

Um-m, yes, but not where she could get it. The 'once bitten ...' thing.

And that's the way it looks from the Valley.

Author Tom Valley with Maggie

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