Richard Wolkomir & Joyce Rogers Wolkomir

Writers of Fiction & Fact

WHAT THE WALRUS SAID
--Our Authors' Blog--

MURDOCK WISHES YOU HIS HOLIDAY BEST

December 11, 2018

Tags: Animals, Dogs, Murdock, Stray Thoughts, Gracie

Our good friend and frequent visitor, Murdock Morse, sends his holiday greetings to all.

Go romp in the snow, he says. It feels good!

--Joyce & Richard

GRACIE WEIGHS IN TOO!

December 11, 2018

Tags: Animals, Dogs, Murdock, Stray Thoughts, Gracie

Gracie Duke--another good friend of ours--wants to second her pal Murdock's message: celebrate!

It's the darkest days of the year, she says. So get out there and bark! Bark for the return of the light!. Bark loud! It'll come!

Joyce & Richard

THE LUCK OF TUX

January 30, 2018

Tags: Animals, Dogs, Stories

Tux When We First Met Him



Tux, the Cardigan Welsh corgi, needed a new home, and that would be iffy.

It would be iffy because, despite being a little charmer, Tux was a little dickens. It also would be difficult because Tux lived with Pam, and she wouldn’t let him go just anywhere.

We first got to know Tux when he was still a puppy—we’d been visiting in Florida that winter and heard about a neighborhood couple with a new corgi. Joyce allows no nearby corgi to go unvisited, if she can help it, so we met Pam and Wayne, and it led to a warm friendship.

Pam and Wayne were Conchs, which is what Key Westers call themselves. They told us wonderful stories about Key West, back in the Hemingway days. They’d brought Tux into their home late in life because Wayne really wanted that dog. Tux turned out to be an imp, super smart, the Energizer Corgi, with a PhD in play and mischief.

Tux runs to his toy box, selects a favorite, plus another, plus a third, manages to stuff all three toys into his mouth, then runs to present them to you, a demand to play multiple-throw-the-toy, or wrestle-for-the-toy.

Tux knows he’s forbidden to climb onto the bed in the guest bedroom, so he slyly waits until nobody’s watching, then jumps on the bed and exuberantly tosses the pillows.

Lots of such things.

Wayne got sick. He fought it, lived far longer than the doctors said he would, but it turned out to be one battle a former Army special forces soldier couldn’t win. At Wayne’s final moment in life, Tux let out a wail.

Now it was just Pam and Tux. A question hung in the air: what if Pam, now alone, no longer could care for Tux?

That day came—Pam, too, fell ill. She no longer could live in her home.
Where could this high-energy corgi find a new home?

Pam had stipulations. He needed a fenced-in yard, where he could safely play. There must be kids in the home. There should be another dog, too, although that might be a problem: Tux liked some dogs, disdained others. A home that already had a corgi would be best, especially if that corgi was close to Tux’s age.

From her hospital bed, with Tux unhappily ensconced in a kennel, Pam desperately tried to find such a home. It seemed hopeless.

Then, unexpectedly, Tux’s vet called: she knew a family in North Carolina, and maybe….

This family consisted of a mom and dad, three young daughters, and a female Pembroke Welsh corgi, just Tux’s age. They had a fenced-in yard. For three years the husband had been seeking a male corgi. Outnumbered in his all-female household, he wanted at least one other male on board.

Mom, dad, and their resident female corgi all drove to Florida to meet Tux, at the kennel, to see if this could possibly work.

Maybe our friend Tux understood he needed a new home. Maybe, no matter what, he wanted to get out of the kennel. For whatever reason, when the family arrived, although it must have strained him, Tux was on his very best behavior.

A getting-to-know-you hour ended with love all around. Tux enthusiastically jumped into his new family’s car and off they all drove, north to North Carolina.

Pam called us, knowing we worried about Tux. Here’s her report—

Her niece mailed Tux’s new family a big box full of his pedigree papers and his favorite toys. Also in the box was a jacket Pam had sewn for him, with a Welsh flag on one side, because he’s a Welsh corgi, and a Scottish flag on the other, honoring Pam’s and Wayne’s own heritage.

Tux knew that jacket. When his new family put it on him, they wrote, he “strutted all around the house like a little prince.”

And there is more good news. Pam now lives in Virginia near one of her sons and his wife, and—slowly—she is regaining strength. She has grit. She has a strong spirit.

So does Tux.

Life goes on.

--Joyce and Richard

Christmas Murdock

December 23, 2017

Tags: Animals, Dogs, Murdock

Murdock and Casey share their Christmas


Our friend Eric Morse sent us this photo of Murdock, the unofficial east-coast dog-race champion, and his friend, Casey, the old cat.

Casey actually does regard Murdock as his best friend. Murdock, not so much. It's complicated.

No matter what, these two, with their Christmas tree and presents, radiate warmth and good will, just right for this season. In these stressful times, we can all use some of that.

So, we're sending out this image, to share with our readers.

Also, we think that Murdock, deep down, likes Casey a lot more than he lets on. Sometimes they snooze side-by-side, don't they?


--Joyce & Richard

HALL OF FAMER

June 27, 2017

Tags: Animals, Dogs, Murdock

Eric & Murdock, just awarded a ribbon for winning a race (again!)


In our celebrity obsessed society, where it seems only People Magazine A-listers rate attention, here’s what we see all around us—talent, ability, accomplishment, decency. In this blog, we try to acknowledge what we see.

So, here’s one….

Our friend Eric was just inducted into the Vermont runners’ Hall of Fame, with these words:

“For the better part of three decades, Eric Morse was the most dominant road runner in Vermont.” And this: “Whenever Eric entered a local race, the only question was who would finish in second behind him.”

Six-times the state’s high-school champion in cross country and track. A running scholarship to college. Then, seven times, a member of the U.S.A Mountain Running Team, competing internationally, often racing up Alpine peaks. Who even knew there was such a sport? Not us, until we met Eric.

He’s retired from Team U.S.A., but he still races. He partners with his super-fast West Highland Terrier, Murdock, and he’s still a champ—he and Murdock miss few “six-legged” races in the U.S. northeast.

They win every one.

--Joyce & Richard

Murdock Visits Again

December 25, 2016

Tags: Animals, Dogs, Murdock

Muddy Murdock

When our friend Murdock last visited, it was Green Murdock, because he got wet and rolled in the grass. Here he is again, but now it's Muddy Murdock--

Because a dog's gotta do what a dog's gotta do!

Next visit? Who knows?

--Richard & Joyce

WILLOW

November 5, 2016

Tags: Dogs, Animals

Willow--a cat? Maybe.
This is Willow, who lives with our friends, Pam and David. She is a rescue from the local animal shelter.

Here she is helping Pam bake cookies.

Willow is more like a dog than a cat. She loves to be around people and her motto is: Attention must be paid!

We like dogs, but who can resist a cat in a bowl?

We decided she is an honorary dog.

--Joyce & Richard

OUR FRIEND MURDOCK, THE RACING DOG

October 3, 2016

Tags: Dogs, Animals, Murdock

Murdock the Racing Dog



This is a photo of our friend Murdock, who is green because he played with the hose and then rolled in newly mowed grass.

We never know what color Murdock will be when he visits us. We call him “Murdock the Burdock” because he sticks tight to his best pal, Eric Morse. Sometimes, though, Eric’s trips are via airliner, and Murdock can’t go and he stays with us. This time Eric is running across the Grand Canyon, rim to rim.

Eric is a former member of the U.S. Mountain Racing Team. Now he competes in dog-plus-human races, with Murdock, and they always win. Murdock is unofficial Eastern U.S. dog-racing champ.

Murdock’s motto is: “Short legs? Just move ‘em faster.”

He has tons of trophies.

--Richard & Joyce

GASPODE, STREET DOG

October 3, 2016

Tags: Books, Reading, Dogs, Animals, Stray Thoughts

First of Terry Pratchett's 41 "Discworld" novels, where Gaspode eventually appears



I often think about Gaspode, the terrier-like street dog in Terry Pratchett’s brilliantly funny “Discworld” novels.

It’s because Gaspode is so disreputably clever at making his way in his world, which is similar to our world, except that it is flat and rests on four elephants standing on the shell of a vast turtle, swimming in nothingness. Discworld’s dwarfs and trolls despise each other, and its humans disdain all minorities, especially vampires and werewolves. Slums are super-slummy. And a filthy little dog gets no lunch unless he wangles it.

Gaspode has a wangling edge: one night he slept beside Unseen University’s High Energy Magic building, and magical seepage upped his IQ and enabled him to speak. Nobody suspects a dog can talk, so people believe they’re hearing their own thoughts—“Oh, look at that poor little orphan doggie! I should give him half my sandwich!”

Gaspode appears in seven of Sir Terry’s 41 Discworld novels. He’s a lot like Homer’s hero, Odysseus, the only Greek among Troy’s besiegers who demonstrably has a brain.

Besides, Gaspode looks just like our friend Murdock, the west highland terrier who occasionally stays with us, when his buddy Eric is traveling. Also, whether your world’s round or flat, amusement is good.

–Richard

BOOKS & STORIES

Check out our published books
Stories published in literary journals
A "Pleistocene western," published in Reflections Edge magazine
A nonfiction book of stories about disappearing animals, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An award-winning chronicle of life and caring in a small hospital, published in Smithsonian Magazine
Just when a terrifying illness strikes, a self-confident corgi appears on our deck, seeking a new home, and he becomes our guide.