(that poor tree hanging over the studio is mostly gone now, due to the ice storm)
Bill arrived for good, two months later. Those two months were challenging. A very young man arrived to install a land line after about three weeks. Oh! phone and Internet!
"Bless his heart," as we say here, he worked from 8 AM to 5 PM. Then he knocked on the door. "I feel really bad," he shared. "I know they charge you $80 an hour, but I just couldn't figure how to get this to work. I called my boss and they're going to send someone who's done it before. Might be a couple of days."
I loaded the dogs into the van and drove out to the county where my cell phone would work. I needed to tell Bill "never mind"; I wouldn't have a phone after all.
I walked and walked and walked the dogs. And I picked up mountains of poop. Not many people in my new town knew to pick up after their dogs. So, I figured while I was at it... I would end up with grocery bags full of the stuff. It was my own Neighborhood Beautification Program. One time a fellow in a pick up truck pulled over to ask if the dogs were rescued Greyhounds. "Man," he said, looking at my huge bulging bags of community crap. "Them skinny dogs sure do produce a lot of ****!"
I was appointed by the Mayor to serve on a Dog Ordinance Committee. When we were thinking about moving here, we met with the Mayor and two City Council members, and were guaranteed that there were no ordinances limiting the number of dogs in Paducah. Two weeks before we arrived, an emergency measure had passed, limiting the number of dogs per household to three. Of course there was a huge public outcry so the City Council decided to appoint a committee to work it all out.
I met good people on that committee. Wonderful people.
And that's the thing about Paducah. It is full of warm, friendly, supportive, energetic, socially responsible, bright people. Getting to know them has been a joy. A privilege. More artists did move to the Lowertown Arts District, as part of the city's Artist Relocation Program. The city won many national awards as the neighborhood transformed.
And then local people, non artists, started rehabbing homes and building in Lowertown. The good folks who had lived in the neighborhood all along were genuinely happy with the miracle that was happening all around them. The slumlords who wouldn't get their buildings up to code - not so much. Although even they didn't mind the increase in their property's value.
When I was alone here, feeling so out of place and so far from everyone I loved, someone knocked on the gallery's glass door. It was one of those good people who had been living in Lowertown in a gorgeous home they had rehabbed long before there was any Artist Relocation Program
"Hi," she said, handing me a Gerber daisy in a pot. Her smile was so warm. And honest. "Welcome to the neighborhood. We're so glad you are here. If you ever need anything, you just ask. I live in that white house, in the middle of the next block."
And that is how we've been treated, warmly, with a genuine mutual respect and mutual gratitude. So the Blog Shark comment took me aback.
I have since heard by email from the man who made the original statement on the conservative website. He assured me that someone else copied his words and posted them here anonymously.
It was very gracious of him to reach out and let me know that.
The conservative website is one where insults and name-calling are the rule, rather than the exception, so the comments weren't unusual, there.
I am so grateful for my wonderful dear readers and my talented fellow dog bloggers. A civilized discourse, a caring community, a laugh or a tear. A safe place.