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Posts Tagged ‘O. Winston Link’

Last night was Poetry Night at the school where I teach. As soon as I get their permission, I will post a couple student pieces on the blog. Until then, it’s on with our regularly scheduled PhotoWednesday. (Actually, more like a Photo Essay Wednesday Night. Variety is good)

I have gone through many, many stages in my life when I was inordinately influenced by books. Shortly after college, I read the entire collected works of Norman Maclean, and nothing would do but that I move to Montana, which I did in early 2002.

After I’d lived there for a while, I decided I needed a dog to accompany me on my adventures. I was reading many books about the South at the time, being perhaps a little homesick. (wow, we’re just never satisfied, are we?) After reading about the Smooth Fox Terrier hero of Willie Morris’ My Dog Skip, I decided that was the breed I needed – intelligent, sturdy, lively, and portable. I did more research and looked at many other breeds, but the SFT is what I kept coming back to.

And so, on Tax Day 2003, I left work early and took the drive from Kalispell to Missoula to fetch my new fox terrier.  I remember calling my sister as I zipped through Polson and on past the Mission Range (Hey, guess what? I’m on my way to Missoula to get a puppy!)  I remember pulling off at the Cracker Barrel just outside town and seeing the couple who’d collected my puppy from the breeder via a dog show in Sacramento (long story).  The woman was walking three dogs who trotted calmly and did their business. The man was attached to one small, white dog running frantically to the end of its retractable leash, flipping itself over backwards, hopping forward on two legs, and repeating the process. “Oh lord,”  I thought, “I hope that one’s not mine.”

But it was, of course.

Once we made it back to Kalispell, I remember sitting on the floor, trying to keep the puppy from eating all the Gore-tex and synthetic fiber in the house while my housemate read place names from Glacier National Park off the map on the wall.  But I didn’t want a dog named Camas, or Avalanche, or Huckleberry.  The dog was black and white, so I decided to name him Winston after my favorite black-and-white photographer, O. Winston Link.

This morning, almost exactly eight years after the drive to fetch the puppy, Winston is under the covers on my bed. He climbs up there every day to luxuriate in the warm spot left when I wake up to get ready for work.  His other daily pleasures include tennis ball fetching and eating scrambled eggs. And, as I’d hoped, he loves the woods and is a wonderful hiking companion.

We’re celebrating Southern Literature in Chattanooga this week, and I thought it was as good a time as any to thank the late Willie Morris for writing about Skip and inspiring me to find a Skip of my own.

Here, I give you three  of my favorite shots of the Winstigator –

his silent suffering pierces the very soul

in the Great Snow of 2011

don't let the energetic persona fool you; he'd really rather be on the couch.

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