Arts and Culture, Running

A Tribute to Vaco

When I first arrived, you jumped upon me
Knocked me over, and licked me with glee
Back then, the French tongue, I could not comprehend
But you showed me with no words that we’re to be friends

Your eyes were huge, your heart was bigger
You always wanted to share my dinner
But never mind if I gave you no food
It never destroyed your joyful mood

You taught yourself to open doors
Despite your only having paws
And knew when bedtime rolled around
You’d nuzzle us, then head underground*

When I first started running years ago
Unfit as I was, the going was slow
As I slogged through valleys resembling canyons
You came along as a faithful companion

Until your joints gave out one fine day
No more runs, but you still loved to play
Sure, age was slowing catching up
But deep down inside, you were still a pup

Who roamed the street we lived on, free
Strutting between number 2 and 3
To check on Grandpa and Grandma Rabbit
Your loyalty was a daily habit^

You were doing fine, but all of a sudden,
We got the news: you went to doggie heaven
I didn’t even get to say “Farewell,
I love you, good doggie, you were swell”

Goodbye dear Vaco, you’re one of a kind
You’re loved by those you’ve left behind
Though you most sadly did depart
You’ll forever live on in our hearts.

*For many years the dog’s bed was in the basement, where it was cooler and more comfortable. He’d jump up on his hind legs, open the door and descend the flight of stairs when he decided it was bedtime, but never before wishing us goodnight by licking a hand or nuzzling against us.

^Grandpa and Grandma Rabbit live about 100m down the road from GodzillaPin’s parents’. The dog would once again, open the front door and let himself out, cross the road carefully and trot down the pavement to make sure the old folks are OK. Every single day. That dog had more filial piety than most human beings.

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Travel

The Incredible Finds At A Yard Sale

May heralds the warm weather, and with spring-cleaning comes yard sales. When Father Rabbit announced after lunch that there was a brocante in the next village, the Ninja Turtle, GodzillaPin and his cousin decided to take a look. Of course, there was the standard fare – children’s toys, leather-bound books, copper pots and too many sets of dining ware.

The title of the book reads: "The jobs of our grandmothers". Not so long ago, women not only had access to the workplace, they were expected to join the workforce. No biggie.

The title of the book reads: “The jobs of our grandmothers”. Not so long ago, women not only had access to the workplace, they were expected to join the workforce. No biggie.

Cassette tapes. Remember those? Now if only we can find a Walkman to go with it.

Cassette tapes. Remember those? Now if only we can find a Walkman to go with it.

Coin collectors can make a tidy profit, if they find buyers. 3 euros for a 2 euro coin purchased in 2009 = 50% profit in 5 years.

Coin collectors can make a tidy profit, if they find buyers. 3 euros for a 2 euro coin purchased in 2009 = 50% profit in 5 years.

Then again, there are certain items that took them quite by surprise. Like this:

A DIY tricycle made of metal and wood. Definitely NOT from Toys R Us.

A DIY tricycle made of metal and wood. Definitely NOT from Toys R Us.

Seeing how Verdun was the frontline in the Great War, it's actually not so surprising to see military garb, probably from great-grandpa's closet.

Seeing how Verdun was the frontline in the Great War, it’s actually not so surprising to see military garb, probably from great-grandpa’s closet.

What's surprising is this collection of slightly dated arms.

What’s surprising is this collection of slightly dated arms.

And gas masks, because, you know... just in case, right?

And gas masks, because, you know… just in case, right?

After an hour of strolling and browsing, the Ninja Turtle and GodzillaPin came away with two mugs. While walking past a stall where an impressive box of phone cards were for sale, the Ninja Turtle lingered. The collection of phone cards was impressive – the owner must have been making long-distance calls from a phone box daily to accumulate about 300 of them – but it was the box itself that the Ninja Turtle was impressed by.

The label below says: best before 06/85. This thing pre-dates the Ninja Turtle

The label below says: best before 06/85. This thing pre-dates the Ninja Turtle

The lady made an offer to sell it for 50c, and perhaps it was the combination of sunstroke, fatigue and looking at too much junk, but the Ninja Turtle thought it was a great bargain. The woman emptied out the impressive stack of cards, and handed over the box in return for the best 50c the Turtle has spent. She then found herself trying to justify the purchase to everyone, feeling only slightly ridiculous in retrospect.

Thing is, items are only just items until you find some meaning and value in it. To others, it was a rusting metal box, without the sweets. To the Ninja Turtle, it is the memory of many a childhood Christmas spent with relatives, wherein there always would be a box of Quality Streets involved.

The shiny colourful wrappers, the delightful treat within, and back in the days when we were limited to “only one, maybe two if you’re good” (as opposed to being an irresponsible adult and eating 20 at once only to feel quite sick after).

The memory of taking the time to choose carefully which colour or flavour meant the most to you at that moment, with the knowledge that you may regret your choice five minutes later and hoping your cousins/siblings loved you enough to swap sweeties with you if you decide to change your mind. Ah, the joys of Christmas.

The memories are priceless, but apparently, they can be re-lived for 50c. This is reason enough for the Ninja Turtle to skip away happily, rusting box in hand.

And if that’s not reason enough, well… the box will become an antique in another 25 years.

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