2010-09-02 / The Walrus Says

The Walrus Says

By Jim Munro
On the morning of Aug. 13, Dr. Dragos Cucu and his associates in the emergency room at Newport Hospital saved my life.

In addition to my obvious appreciation for the extra time allotted me, I’d also like to pass on thanks from a close friend who is unable to do so himself.

Joshua and I have been best friends for some 10 years now. A rescue dog from a kennel in Florida, he came to Jamestown with his daughter and another Vallhund. He joined our household as head of security, but we soon discovered that his voicebox had been removed as a pup. Oh, well, we thought…perhaps he growls loudly.

We have never heard him growl at anything or anyone, including the cats he keeps off the deck to protect the song birds. Our early friendship was cemented when I learned he was of Swedish ancestry and that Vallhunds are native to that country. When I was a kid, I had white hair and my uncle’s brother, Reggie Crowell, who lived in Jamestown, called me Swede. So, Josh and I had something in common.

Because of his short legs – evolved for herding – Joshua sometimes gets amusing glances from passersby when Mim takes him on his twice-daily walks. Those people should have his lineage. He was born Genesis Joshua/Troika, sired by Madre Liath Soliloquy with dam Maryster Bianca from a long and distinguished pedigree. How many people can say that?

Dr. Cucu, in saving a human life, prevented the ending of another life – that special companionship between a man and his dog. Last Sunday, Josh was 14. In dog years, that makes him older than me. We both exhibit the signs of advancing years. His hind legs sway from time to time, and he occasionally misses the top step up from the deck. If he sleeps too long on a paw, he limps for a while until the stiffness is worked out.

He also sometimes startles me with a cough, though I suspect often, he’s just imitating me. Our hearing is going, which makes us both more alert to what is happening around us.

For his birthday, I acquired a couple of his favorite treat – pig ears – and very loudly sang him the birthday song.

During the 10 days I was away, family members, when visiting, told me that Josh seemed sad and out of sorts. So at night, when it was quiet, I talked to him. I knew he could hear me. There’s a special dimension out there reserved for just that purpose, communications between creatures.

In a day or so, Josh began eating better. On the day I came home, his face literally lit up as I stepped into the kitchen and my lower legs were quickly bathed by his warm tongue. His tail is seldom an indicator of his emotions, but this time, he outdid himself.

So, Dr. Cucu, thanks to you, Josh and I will pick up and continue our journey together as man and his best friend for as long as we are permitted.

Happy birthday, Josh. “WOOF!”

*** If you can’t get to the show, then we’ll bring the show to you. Patti Vandal writes with a “big thank you” to Kathy Brownell and the other “Follies Ladies” for their special road trip to Patti’s house.

“I’m housebound and wouldn’t have been able to go to the talent show, so they came to my house and performed their skit ‘Clean Dancing’ on my front lawn. It gave me a much-needed laugh and I appreciate that they took the time and effort to do it for me. I wonder what my neighbors thought was going on!”

Kudus to the “Follies Ladies!”


Dogs walking up and down Narragansett Avenue this summer during the enduring heat have had a place of their own to refresh and hangout. The kind people at the Cathryn Jamieson Salon have put together a dog bar consisting of a pail of water and a container of bite-sized biscuits in the shade in front of the business at number 16. A welcoming sign reads, “Stop! Biscuits Are Here! We Love Dogs – Small and Tall.”



Paula Florentino reports that the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum had a special visitor on Aug. 17. “Bruce Springsteen did not introduce himself and wasn’t recognized during his visit, but docents the next day saw his signature in the guestbook, along with a compliment for the beauty of Beavertail. Springsteen wrote: ‘Worthy of a song!’ We’ll be watching for it, Bruce!”


Elizabeth A. Mancini is slowly catching up with us by noting that the poser in the Aug. 5 column is “Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran.


Tom Bembenek gives a thumbs up and a “Way to go B.J. – now there’s a summer classic” for the poser in the Aug. 12 column. “Most people will remember the tune when they hear it, but the words are rarely heard. It is the theme, composed by Max Steiner and recorded by Percy Faith for the 1959 movie ‘Summer Place.’ The film starred Richard Egan, Dorothy McGuire, Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue. Believe it or not, the following words were right on the movie poster:

“There’s a summer place Where it may rain or storm Yet I’m safe and warm For within that summer place

Your arms reach out to me

And my heart is free from all care

For it knows There are no gloomy skies

When seen through the eyes

Of those who are blessed with love

“There were a few vocal versions, but the one with lyrics by Mack Discant was a hit for The Lettermen in 1965.”

Thanks, Tom.


Jan Tabit writes, “While house cleaning, I found some old pictures of East Ferry Landing almost destroyed by Hurricane Carol, I think it was 1954, does anyone remember?”


Town Councilman Michael White responds to Charles DiLuglio’s query in the Aug. 12 column about antenna installations on the North End: “These antennas are used to assist cell phone reception in what are called ‘dead areas’ throughout the island. We have approved these a number of times. The last time a couple of new poles were approved was in our council meeting of June 21.”

Mike said a letter requesting approval, with lists of all the “nodes,” can be accessed on the town website.


B.J.’s last poser for the summer: “High summer holds the earth. Hearts all whole.”

Big fat kudos to B.J. for providing the summer lyrics.


On Aug. 27, John A. Murphy sent in an interesting fact about that month. He said August had five Sundays, five Mondays and five Tuesdays He said it happens once every 823 years. “I wanted to let you know now because I’ll probably miss it next time!”

John, you almost missed it this time.


John also has a musical trivia question that he said only Larry Lewis will be able to answer – Which came first, Edith Piaf singing “Les Trois Cloches,” or The Browns singing “The Three Bells?”


Help Jamestown sailors become the best they can be and at the same time, cool yourselves off in the pool and bid in a silent auction at 45 Walcott Ave. Saturday, Sept. 4, from 5 to 7 p.m. The Conanicut Island Sailing Foundation plans to distribute funds to sailors, based on individual needs, with the goal of achieving sailing excellence among Conanicut Islanders. The entry fee is a fully deductible $35.


The “Queen Mary 2” of the Cunard Line will be anchored off Newport Saturday and on Tuesday, “Eurodam” of the Holland America Line will be in the East Passage.


Monday is Labor Day. Go to the beach – it’s a long way to Memorial Day.

*** Be true!


Call in your stuff to 829-2760, 423-0383, or email us at jtnwalrus@ hotmail.com.

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