The Carpet Bagger's Journal — moving from NYC to Mississippi

April 25, 2010


Me with yet another pet -- okay, really Donna Douglas, but hey, it could happen!

In the beginning, there was me, just me, an apartment dweller.  I was accountable to no one.

Then, an older lady where I lived in Queens, around the corner from me, asked me if I knew anyone who wanted a kitten who had wandered onto her stoop.  The kitten came home with me.

I moved to Mississippi.  There was a man with a dog.  His little dog, a daschund, seemed easy enough to handle along with my cat.

Then my step-daughter told me her mother was going to put her dog to sleep if she didn’t find another home for it.  That dog lives here, too.

Then that dog brought home a live tortoise.

I remember watching The Beverly Hillbillies as a child and thinking how nice it would be to have a way with animals, with “critturs” the way that Ellie Mae Clampett did.  I heard her Southern accent, but I did not understand that her hillbilliness and her crittur skills were linked.  I only knew that when I asked my mother for a pet chimp, she told me that was not a practical choice for suburban dwellers.

Now, however, while neither having a pet chimp nor being truly in the back woods where my husband might shoot up some bubbling crude (alas!), I see a certain link between more rural life and pet life.

I find myself, like the lady in the unicorn tapestry, chosen by critturs for my extraordinary sweetness and purity — or maybe they are just looking for any chump who can fry up some bacon and let them lick something covered with the resulting grease.

I was not trained for this — I have cocktail party social skills, not hillbilly crittur skills.  However, I can adapt — if I imagine myself organizing a soiree with games, and the pets are my guests, here are the activities we seem to have planned:

Crudites and cocktails — more like crudities than crudites.

Parlor games with the following names:

  • Fetch the stick
  • What are you chewing on?
  • Whose poop is this? ( suggested by my friend Inna)
  • bath round up (like a conga line with barking)
  • Eat this, not that
  • The cat is not a_____ (Chew toy, enemy of the state, or other construct of indeterminate origin)
  • Musical bowls
  • Come back here!  Come back here NOW!

Personally, I would like to plunge us all in the cement pond and get us clean with chlorinated blue water three times a day.

I don’t have a pet chimp, but I might as well have one for all the mayhem in my life.  I used to have something like style.

I caught the new dog chewing the stuffing out of one of my duvets.  Recently, I was wiping up the food spill messes in the kitchen with a rag.  I left the rag in the laundry hamper.  The dog reached her head in and ate the rag — the whole rag — then vomited it up on the kitchen floor.  This resulted in the use of another rag to wipe up messes, one that I have hidden from dog reach.

My nails are gritty.  My pink bathrobe is covered with muddy paw prints.  My hair looks less like Ellie Mae’s and more like — choosing a mid-century TV reference — Phyllis Diller’s.

I remember that apartment dweller.  She looked nice, but she was lonely.

I have always wanted (secretly) a cloying entourage.  I now have one.  Wherever I go, I hear thundering hoof beats behind me.  I might decide, after all, to fry up some bacon, and none of these critturs, with the possible exception of the tortoise, would want to miss that.


  1. This is a article on dog barking. I was looking for different information but I did stop and read this and might have a look round at other stuff on The Carpet Bagger’s Journal — moving from NYC to Mississippi aswell.

    Comment by control bark — April 25, 2010 @ 2:47 pm | Reply

    • My goodness! What would possess you to make such a cultural leap? For me it was true love — the only imaginable excuse.

      Anne the Carpetbagger

      Comment by annebabson — April 25, 2010 @ 9:40 pm | Reply

  2. You’re going native on us. to be really Ellie May you gotta wear those cut off shorts.

    how about a horse instead of a chimp? will come in handy in case the Yankees try to invade again.

    Comment by Ganesh W. — April 25, 2010 @ 6:42 pm | Reply

  3. My sympathies, Cinderella of the South, we only have 8 paws folllowing us around.

    Comment by Maurice Sklar — April 27, 2010 @ 6:59 pm | Reply

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