… on recovered grampa and dogs who choose poo over rabbits


Grampa and his very first great grandchild

“If the dog hadn’t stopped to shit he’d have caught the rabbit.”


Grampa’s back.

He and Granny drove up to see his surgeon the other day and I waited until they came back to get the report.

When they came back they….


What do you mean, ‘what does that mean?’

The rabbit?


“If the dog hadn’t stopped to shit he’d have caught the rabbit.”


I dunno.

It’s just one of those sayings that Grampa tosses out there when something happens. This one is usually yanked out of his ‘Sayings Bag’ when one of us didn’t move quickly enough to do something, or if something gets delayed.

The kicker is that, a bowel movement seems like a pretty important task for the dog. Hence, if the dog didn’t stop to shit he probably would have caught the rabbit, but also he may have developed a mean case of constipation or, in an extreme case, an exploded colon.

Yes that can really happen. I looked it up. Okay, fine, they used ‘rupture’ and I used ‘explode’.

Potato, Pot-ah-to.

Do you know what else is real?

Stool transplants.

Yes they are. I saw that term while I was looking up exploding colons, and I was so taken aback – yet so fascinated in ‘that is so gross I cannot believe it but I have to know more’ way – that I just spent five minutes understanding what a stool transplant is, who needs one, and what happens when they get one.

I don’t need one.

I know.

I’m really happy about that because I have a lot to do today.


I have no idea what the genesis of “If the dog hadn’t stopped to shit, he’d have caught the rabbit” is. It’s just one of those things he says that, if you call him on it, he just mumbles and grumbles under his breath. And if you ask him what he is saying, he just does the ‘there’s a fly in front of my face’ hand movement. And then you are dismissed.

Except I am me, and I didn’t grow up in the same house as my nearly perfect husband, Bro-In-Law, and two sisters in law. So the first time I was ‘dismissed’, I actually thought Grampa (who wasn’t Grampa then, mainly because there were no grandkids)… anyway, I actually thought Grampa was swatting away a fly, or maybe a piece of dog hair because Misty the German Shepherd was blowing her coat at the time.

So I just stood there.

And he looked at me like I was a lunatic who’d just wandered into his kitchen and had suddenly gone into a fugue state, unable to move.

So it must have been astonishing for him when I uttered the words, “Did you just say, ‘If the dog hadn’t stopped to poop, he’d have caught the rabbit?” (because I guess I thought if I used the word ‘shit’, which he had just used, it would be somehow disrespectful).

And I remember the distinct feeling I had of my husband, his sister, and Granny wincing – at least internally – that someone had not left the room – and had even spoken – after Grampa had done the dismissive hand waving thing.

And Grampa looked at me and said, “What?”

And I took a step toward him (he was sitting at the kitchen table with the Sunday edition of the Boston Globe spread out in front of him).

“Did you just say, “If the dog hadn’t stopped to poop, he’d have caught the rabbit?”

And I was smiling and almost laughing because this was pretty dang funny and I wanted to investigate further.

And you could have heard a pin drop in that kitchen, even though my nearly perfect boyfriend (at the time) and his Mom and his sister were all right there (and, I might add, all pretending (I checked with them later on and they copped to it) to be doing something and not paying attention to what was about to go on near the kitchen table.

Thrown to the wolves, I tell you. And not the last time either.

And just at the moment I thought I may have committed a huge faux pas in terms of Dingle family etiquette, Grampa did something that shocked my nearly perfect boyfriend, his Mom, and his sister to their Dingle cores.

He smiled.

It was just a little smile, but it was a smile. And his eyes even lit up and then he smiled broader.

“I guess I did!” He said.

And I started to laugh.

“What does that mean?!”

He tilted his head and scratched it with a super long index finger.

“Well, if you stop to do something…”

“Like poop?”  I interrupted.

“I guess so.” He said.

And he smiled, and I smiled and I sat down next to him (that was my seat at the table) and grabbed the Parade magazine. He handed me the ‘funnies’ (the comics section) – and he never did fully define that saying – but things started moving in the kitchen and the world started spinning again.

And that’s the thing with an Old Yankee Man. When you grow up with them, all their sayings, and blustering, and hand waving and dismissals seem so normal and ordinary that you feel like what they say, with all that cranky Yankee authority, makes perfect sense. And you respond accordingly.

But what’s really funny about having not grown up with Grampa, is that it has been a nearly thirty year anthro-sociological fascination for me.

Oh, and of course I fell in love with him along the way, so that’s just a bonus.

Also, I am not in jail for murdering him because that hasn’t happened.


So I will leave you with two things.


Grampa is back. He has been pronounced ‘healed’. He is working on moving from the walker he needed to use (because he couldn’t see his feet with the big giant plastic neck collar on), back to his cane. The surgeon is amazed at his recovery.

I’m not.

This is par for the course with my Old Yankee Man.

And two:

C. difficile bacterial infection.

That’s one of the reasons that you would need a stool transplant.

(You know you were wondering about that this whole time).

Thanks for readin’.

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