There's No Schweiger Like Braunschweiger

This post originally appeared February 23, 2018, on the Chile Today Hot Tamale! website. (

This week was mid-winter break at my other job, that of high school math teacher, and I spent the week attending to the duties of life. I completed and filed the corporate income tax return for Chile Today-Hot Tamale. In addition, I gathered all the details necessary to complete our joint income tax returns. It was not, however, all work, no play. Monday evening we saw Darkest Hour and Tuesday evening we saw The Post. For the life of me, I can't remember a thing about Wednesday except doing the laundry. Thursday I began a project for Kathy, and Friday, we will visit the kids in Asheville, NC.

I needed a quiet week. If you have read my past blogs, you know that I try to keep it light and funny. Of course, not everyone understands my sense of humor, so it isn't always funny. But it has been very difficult this week to be humorous.

The recent stretch of time is one that we all have on occasion, and entirely unavoidable, if one lives long enough. It is a stretch of time pock-marked with death. A little bit ago I learned that my first cousin, Linda, had passed. She was a little older than I, but not much. It was apparent, the last time I saw her, that she was in poor health. Now she is gone. Just last year, in February, her father, my favorite uncle, passed away. He was something like 88 years old, or thereabouts. Linda did not have such a long run.

Then came news that the mother of a mate from high school, Alan, had passed away. That news came from another high school mate I hadn't talked to in probably 10 years. Between us, we figured out how to contact our old school chum, to offer our condolences. I hadn't talked with Alan since our 20th high school reunion, some 27 years ago.

The lady who cuts my hair (she is sweet: she doesn't charge a finder's fee) lost a brother a week ago. Then came a man I had never met. We had spoken on the phone several times, but that was it. He was in the hot sauce business, too, and he was by all accounts a great guy. But two weeks ago Bubber was in an automobile that hydroplaned, ran into a tree, and he is now gone.

Those of you who own a dog know that a dog is part of the family. At least, that is the way we feel about Ronnie, our Lab/Chow mix who loves Kathy to death. He turned 12 years old on January 1 of this year, and recently it became pretty apparent that something wasn't quite right with him. Kathy was so worried that she took him to the vet and authorized all sorts of laboratory studies so that we could get to the bottom of his illness. The result was that, aside from the arthritis that seems to afflict his hind legs more than his front legs, he is anemic. It appears that his bone marrow isn't doing the right bone marrow thingy, which is the cause of the anemia.

Last summer, the vet took a tick off Ronnie, and he speculated that the bone marrow thingy problem might be related to an infection from the tick. We gave the old boy a round of medication which lasted for what seemed like forever, but in reality was probably only 10 or 15 days, and he seemed to recover slightly. And then it hit me. If his problem was anemia, we could fix that.

I picked up a couple of rolls of braunschweiger from our local Ingles, and began topping his bowl of kibble with a nice thick slice at each meal. And believe it or not, I think the old boy has recovered! He seems to have more pep. He still wears out towards the end of the long walks Kathy takes him on, but no more that he did seven or so years ago, when he first met Kathy. Just today, he jumped up into the back seat of the pick-up without any trouble. He hadn't been able to do that in awhile.

I am not naive. Ronnie will not be with us forever. But in the midst of the death and sorrow from the past few weeks, his recovery, even if only temporary, is the bright spot.