Gertie (the Permapup) surveys the surroudings from the bow of a kayak being paddled by the Houston Herald's Doug Davison on a cypress-lined waterway at the Mingo National Wildlife Refuge.

If nothing else, Gertie (the Permapup) found 2016 to be the most interesting of her five years on Earth.

“It was a pretty wild ride for sure,” I said. “Much more so than normal, I’d say.”

“Normal shmormal,” Gertie said. “I’m not sure I know what that is any more.”

“Yeah, and you’ve only seen a few years,” I said. “Imagine what people think who have been around a lot longer.”

“You oughta know,” Gertie said. “It must have been really different before there was TV, people rode horses and buggies and dinosaurs were walking around all over the place. I’ll bet you have some amazing stories about those days.”

“Very funny,” I said. “But I’ll admit, I’m getting a lot more experienced than I used to be.”

As any good Welsh Corgi would, Gertie gets reflective when another 12 months starts on the calendar. And as only this Corgi could, the Permapup shared some of that reflection with me the other day.

 

STUMP TRUMP

 

Gertie, of course, had to weigh in on the presidential race and result. Knowing that Donald Trump was going to be president of the United States, Gertie drew some interesting comparisons. She considers him more of a TV celebrity than a businessman.

“So there’s gonna be a TV star in the White House,” she said. “So what? The whole country – and some states – have had famous leaders who came from the entertainment world, like Donald Fagen, Charles Schnitzelbacon and Stressie Dentura.”

“I should be amazed that you would have knowledge of that, but I’m not,” I said. “Nothing you know or say surprises me any more. But I believe you’re referring to Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura. And you’re absolutely right, there have been several examples of people moving from show business into politics.

“But for the record, Donald Fagen was part of the rock duo Steely Dan.”

“If it was a duo, how come Dan was the only guy to get billing in the name?” Gertie said.

“There was no Dan,” I said. “It was Donald Fagen and Walter Becker.”

“No Dan?” Gertie said.

“No, little girl, the name is just – oh, never mind,” I said.

Then Gertie spouted out an idea for a way Trump could expand his TV presence.

Gertie (the Permapup) does what she loves to do July 17, 2016, in the North Fork River (a.k.a. the North Fork of the White River) at Dawt Mill.

“He should start a new show called ‘Stump Trump on a Stump,’” she said.

“Let me guess,” I said. “Dignitaries from other countries acting as contestants stand on a big stump, ask The Donald questions and win military arms if he can’t give the correct answer.”

“You’ve seen it?” Gertie said.

“Of course not,” I said. “It doesn’t – oh, never mind again.”

So what does Gertie think having Donald Trump as president will be like?

“If he takes the right kind of jump, he could make the economy plump,” she said, “but if he lets us fall on our rump, we could find ourselves in a dump.” 

“Couldn’t have said it better,” I said.

 

MURDERS IN TEXAS COUNTY

   

“You know, the number of murders that happened in Texas County in 2016 puts us about even with Chicago in murders per capita,” I said.

“As Rollie Queen once said, can’t we all just get along?” Gertie said.

“Actually that was Rodney King, and people have never all gotten along,” I said. “And the Bible doesn’t say anything about that happening in the future.”

“It’s still a good question,” Gertie said.

“Yes ma’am,” I said. “Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s likely to occur any time soon.”

I told the uncommon animal that 2016 was also another in a string of about four years in which people I knew well died, who I would miss.

“Life is a fragile thing,” I said, “and God gives it and takes it based on His will and His plan.”

“Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord,” Gertie said.

“Wow, Job 1:21,” I said. “Incredible that you would know that scripture.”

“Just sayin’,” Gertie said.

 

TREKKING CANINE

                    

Of course, for the Permapup, life is largely about getting out and about and enjoying the natural paradise that is the Missouri Ozarks.

Some of Gertie’s outdoor highlights of 2016 included kayaking excursions at the Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, Noblett Lake and the Big Piney River, a canoe trip on the Jacks Fork River and day treks to the North Fork River in Ozark County, Blue Spring in Shannon County and several other destinations of notable beauty.

Gertie enjoys the ride in a canoe being captained by Wendy Davison on the Jacks Fork River last June.

Paddling trips to rivers, lakes and swamps have become one of Gertie’s favorite activities, pretty much equivalent with eating beef, going for walks (with or without a leash) and sleeping upside down on her cushy bed. One of her top paddling destinations is the Jack Fork River in the National Scenic Riverways.

“Such a gorgeous stretch if water,” I said. “As pretty as any I’ve seen in the 36 states I’ve set foot in.”

“There’s no apostrophe in the river’s name,” Gertie said. “It’s named after John Jacks, a local Native American pioneer.”

“I’ll bet he was an interesting man,” I said. “So, Ms. History and Trivia, what else can you tell me about it?”

“The National Scenic Riverways first became protected by an act of Congress in 1964,” Gertie said. “The Jacks Fork is about 46 ½ miles long and actually starts as a little stream in Texas County. There are a bunch of big springs in the Riverways area, and the only place you find similar collections is in North Florida and Idaho.”

“You don’t say,” I said.

“I thought I was saying,” Gertie said.

“No, it’s just a figure of – oh never mind again,” I said.

Gertie also loves Blue Spring, located near the Current River about 20 miles east of Eminence. Its relatively small pool is over 300-feet deep and about 81 million gallons of water flows out of it every day.

“You know, if the Statue of Liberty was submerged in Blue Spring, the top of her torch would be a few feet under water,” Gertie said.

“I’ve heard that,” I said.

“You know, when I drop my leather walrus toy into my water bowl, you can see the tip of its head just below the surface,” Gertie said.

“That, I had not heard,” I said. “A true natural wonder.”  

“As opposed to a fake artificial certainty,” Gertie said.

“Um, right,” I said.

With so many options for getting out and enjoying the outdoors in the Ozarks, what’s a Corgi to do?

“Seek, sight-see, repeat” Gertie said. “I’m ready to go.”

“Me, too,” I said. “And I promise it won’t be long.”

Gertie (the Permapup) observes her surroundings on a warm January afternoon at Austin Community Lake in southwest Texas County.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Gertie is a female Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Email Gertie at ddavison@houstonherald.com.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply Cancel reply