Hi. I am a writer, visual artist, and professor. I write and publish poetry and book reviews. I take photos and create photo art. I teach literature and English at Polk State College, Lakeland, Florida.
Hurricane Irma slammed into Lakeland, Florida, last Sunday night. I heard the wind howl and the rain beat like a drum.
No matter. I am a staff writer for Cultural Weekly magazine, and I had an article to write. I hand wrote the article in a spiral notebook, then typed it into Messenger on my phone. The editor took it from there.
The hurricane arrives, and it is loud. The over-hundred-miles-an-hour wind howls like a freight train.
The hurricane is coming, the hurricane is coming! I live in Central Florida, right smack in Hurricane Irma”s path. When we find out the storm is headed straight for us, we stock up on flashlights, water, and gasoline.
The winds have picked up by 5 o’clock Sunday when our guests arrive, two young men and their dog, cat, and four kittens. They rent a mobile home, unsafe in a hurricane. Our house is solid concrete block.
The hurricane arrives, and it is loud. The over-hundred-miles-an-hour wind howls like a freight train. The electric power surges periodically. We hold our breaths, expecting the electricity to go out. It finally does at 1:30 a.m.
Mish is my email screenname (firstname.lastname@example.org). Mish is also the name of my favorite dog who passed away of old age.
Mishie is the name of my favorite dog who passed away of old age in 2009–not that I don’t love my current canine companions York, Savane, and Cookie. But I used “Mish” as my screen name for many years, so it was natural for me to want to continue using that name.
I got Mishie at the Chicago Humane Society in 1998. They said Mishie had recently given birth, but didn’t have any puppies with her when she was found in an alley in Chicago, a stray.
She was a cross between a German Shepherd and a husky. She weighed about 55 pounds. Her fur was mostly white, with black and tan on her back. Her eyes looked like she used black eyeliner and mascara.
At the Chicago Humane Society, an Australian sheep dog with a blue tongue attracted me. I took him out for a walk. Then I looked at a few more dogs, soon returning for the Australian dog with adoption in mind. But he was gone, adopted by someone else from under my nose. I shed tears and pleaded with shelter volunteers, but I didn’t get that Australian sheep dog.
So I adopted Mishie as my second choice dog.
The Humane Society’s policy was to spay or neuter adopted pets before finalizing an adoption. So I picked Mish up at the Human Society after her surgery two days later when the dog was still woozy. She needed me to help her find a place to lie down. And I had to coax her to eat. She was friendly, but subdued.
Almost immediately, I forgot the other dog and fell in love with Mishie.