Quiet moment at home with Burnsie

Some worry over burglars in their garage. I worry over the Cuckoo Clock.

Forget Chucky and Aliens. I’m telling you Cuckoo Birds can getcha! Let me explain.

The other night I came home from the grocery store well after dark and just as I pulled into the garage my cell phone rang. The conversation was lively and lengthy and outlasted the timer on the overhead garage light. So when the conversation ended I was in the Mini Cooper, in the dark, with half the length of the garage to navigate to reach the light switch.

Frugal efficiency expert that I am, I couldn’t unfold just myself and sensibly go for the light. No. I grabbed hands full of grocery bags out of the passenger seat, wedged the driver-side door open as far as it would go against the antique dresser sitting sideways between bay 1 and 2 of the two-car garage, did a bit of acrobatic balancing in the dark, and lurched myself and my awkward cargo out of the Mini and into the black abyss.

I know the terrain. I stacked and packed every inch of it. I have 70 years of stuff and two cars in that two car garage– not to mention inherited hand-me-downs from relatives I don’t even know. Furniture in-line sideways separates two cars, leaving narrow passage way for sideways human traffic.

It works for a pack rat … that is, when the lights are on. Not so well in the dark carrying too many plastic bags of groceries in one hand and a regiment-sized bundle of toilet rolls wedged under the other arm. I knew I had to detour around the Mini side view mirror . . . and that’s when the ‘bird’ got me.

That’s right. The damned Cuckoo Clock that hasn’t worked for years, brought home from Germany umpteen years ago by my late-Father-in-law, the sound of which drove my Mother-in-law ‘cuckoo’, so the clock hung on their wall but never ran; the Cuckoo Clock I don’t want but can’t throw away; the one my clock man laughed at when I offered to give it away, saying they’re a nightmare to repair; the Cuckoo Clock abandoned in the stack between the bays in my two car garage, lying on its back, at eye-level, on top of a window air-conditioner unit; THAT Cuckoo Clock, seized its moment of revenge for all the humiliation of its crazy, Black Forest, cuckooed life, gathered up its crumbs of dignity and bit the hell out of my nose.

Yes. My nose. Physics and balance being what they are, when I tucked my butt to avoid bruising my hip on the Mini Cooper side view mirror, my ‘outrigger’ nose at the other end of me jutted into the path of the Cuckoo Clock on top of the air-conditioner and the clock skinned my nose like a Pampered Chef specialty tool!

I’m blaming that damn clock and maybe the genetics behind my Scottie-similar big nose, but the moral of the story, of course, is SPARSE! It’s waaay past time for a Garage Sale from Hell at the Harvill Hacienda!

Mean time, take it from me and the Scotties: Jack Nicholson may have flown over the nest, but beware; Cuckoos are not innocent as they may appear. Those birds getcha. Especially in the dark!

Joseph Harvill, Scottiephile

Contemplative moment at home with Burnsie

In Ohio real preparations are underway to launch a new Scottish Terrier magazine following the end of my Great Scots Magazine’s 19-year run at the close of 2014. The bubbling up of Scottie publication fervor has me reminiscing over my own days of Scottie magazine beginnings long ago

I’m glad I’m overhearing kibitzing and grumblings about the new shakers & doers. We wouldn’t be the terrier community we are without barking of complaint. Our opinionated, imperious Scotties adore us and we lionize them for a reason. It may be embarrassing, but it’s true. We can sound off with the best of ‘em.

The ‘barking’ takes me back 19 years ago. I was virtually unknown in Scottie circles, zero experience or status in establishment show ring circles, and scarcely more fraternity among Scottie collectors. So I was an outsider, an upstart, an interloper, the wrong person to launch a new Scottish Terrier magazine, and worse, I was in the wrong part of the country to effectively network among those who ‘owned’ the breed (Southwest, where there are way fewer Scotties than horned toads). Nineteen years ago it was all wrong.

And They-Who-Know-Best were right. I had no business starting a Scottie magazine from Albuquerque, New Mexico. To my critics, I and my magazine were out of place.

But that was true only if you assume the only way to do a Scottie journal is the way it always had been done: by show folks, for show folks, about winners and champions and competition through elite dogs. But, Scottie contrarian that I am, I didn’t go where others had gone or repeat what others had said or take as model the 96 year-old precedent of the Bagpiper. I redefined the paradigm, the breed and its people, and thereby created a new path devoted to celebrating our dogs, not competing through them, and by refocusing the genre of single-breed publication gave voice for the first time to all Scotties as ‘Great Scots’ and to all Scottie owners as stewards of the breed.

I hope our new publishers and writers can do something like that again. Mine was a ‘first’ word with reference to Scottie celebration, not a ‘last’ word. Our dogs and their people deserve what is fresh and inspiring and vigorous as terrier magic.

So bark on, Ye Scotties and Owners. And call good things. Nineteen years ago, out of nowhere, on a wing and a prayer, came Scottie celebration like no other.

It happened. It can happen again.

Joseph Harvill, creator of GSM and Scottiephile