The Charlie Bravo Story

Damaged Goods, part II

Dad woke this morning to the smell of Marco’s funky breath demanding to be let outside. I’m not saying that he has “bad” breath, per se, just “different”, different enough that it causes one to wonder which pole of Marco one has discovered, the north or the south. The result is the same, with mom mumbling at dad to go let the inmates out before accidents start occurring, and dad trudging down the hall like a martyr heading for the gallows followed by a jeering, prancing mob. As soon as the door opens, the mob rushes into the inky darkness only to discover:

Cold rain.

We hurriedly do our business and rush back in, that is, all of us except Marco. Dad has no choice but to stand outside waiting impatiently like an expectant father as Marco circles endlessly to find the perfect place and position to give birth to his own little bundle of joy(Marco’s, not dad’s).

Of course, the sound of falling rain has the same effect on dad as it does on the dogs, and age and urgency combine to create an impending “situation”, and dad starts doing a little prancing of his own. Just as the river is reaching flood stage and levee is starting to crumble, Marco decides that he doesn’t like the great outdoors after all, and would rather make use of the facilities indoors, namely the closet. This usually results in a wonderful surprise left for dad to discover with his bare foot later in the morning, but for now, we all traipse back inside, we to the bed and dad to the, well, you know.

Dad’s grandad was a salty old-time preacher man with a plethora of hickory-smoked proverbs in his arsenal. One of his favorites was “I would rather sleep with a wet dog than a guilty conscience”; well, dad now has both, multiplied by four, and now we’re all feeling frisky, and the games begin. Mom grumbles that she could plant a garden in the dirt the dogs leave on the bed, and heads north the uninhabited territories of the Casa, leaving dad to fend for himself as the bed becomes a battlefield.

We at the Casa have a “thing” for the underdog: the abandoned dog, the misfit person, the old car, the untrendy motorcycle(dad’s excuse), the abandoned town bypassed by the interstate, but sometimes we even take it to ridiculous extremes, if you can imagine anyone at the Casa EVER doing anything over the top.

When we hit the grocery store, we usually find ourselves at the “damaged goods” bin; not necessarily as a cost saving measure, but as some sort of reminder that we all are damaged but still good. Although the can may be dented and the label torn, the peaches inside are still as good as the day they were born.

Like me, many readers of this page could be considered by some to be damaged goods; the farther the package travels and the more it is handled, the more apt there is to be superficial damage, but the key word here is not “damaged” but “good”. The package does not define the contents, it merely serves as the medium of transport.

You’ve all seen the pictures of my rescue; the cold drizzle, the motorcycles, etc. What you don’t see (thankfully) is dad’s colostomy bag, the result of a freak motorcycle accident barely two months before. As you can imagine, at the time this was a MAJOR issue, one that he was sure would never pass (get it? “pass”? I kill myself), but now that’s all behind him(there I “go” again). A second surgery was succesful and what was once a life changing situation has left him with just a little additional damage to his packaging.

Mom’s package is no different; cancer surgery, chemo, a thoracotomy, and all the associated indignities over the years have left her with her own particular physical personality. But, like yours, this does not define the contents, and to be honest, hasn’t really changed the packaging that much either.

Time heals all wounds.

When I emerged from the crate, I’m sure I looked and smelled like damaged goods, not a spot on me that dad and Zach could pet due to the protruding bones and oozing sores, but that was then, and this is now. Now the only physical reminder I carry of this particular time is literally on my back; three white hairs that mark the last lesion to heal, the spot on the arch of my spine that was rubbed through by constant contact with the crate. Maybe someday these hairs will vanish as well, then again, it matters not; what does matter is that my packaging does not define who I am any more than your’s defines you.

Speaking of packaging, I’m fixing to do a little damage to Mia’s if she doesn’t get that squeaky ball out of my face when I’m trying to finish a post; I have a job to do!

And you do as well; we be of one blood, ye and I.

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