Thursday, April 2, 2020

New Transcriber (José and Ann)

Good news everyone! We have a new transcriber for Best Day who is working on our backlog of stories. This means that more recent stories will be posted on the blog more quickly. To celebrate, I'd like to show off the two most recently transcribed stories:

José Dominguez


Sofia Teaching Her Granpa (That’s Me)

Last year at the beginning of spring I was taking Sofia my granddaughter ( 4 years old) to her school at 8:30a.m., I was in a hurry because I had to arrive at 9:00. So we initiated our drive walking to the east to 20th street.  After walking several steps Sofia suddenly stopped herself.  “What happen?  Why do you stop?”  I told her.  “Look Pepe look on the sidewalk.”  And I saw a little bird laying death, the eyes closed, lying on its back legs crimped, so small that almost was unnoticed, to me, but not to Sofia.

“Come on let’s hurry!” 

“No Pepe, tell me what happened to him?”

“I don’t know perhaps he was very old, or was hit by a car, or had some illness, how am I going to know?”

“But we can not let him there.” 

“What? Do you want to take it with you?”

Her face was transformed and in her eyes I saw the trace of tears.

“No I will not move” she concluded. 

“Ok let me throw it to the garbage” I replied.

What?  “No Pepe, no I don’t want to”

“Then what can we do?”  Her sad face turned into a very serious gesture and she said:

“My mom told me that flowers grow beautiful when the soil that surround them is rich of plant food, and mom told me that when you bury animal corpses in it the soil becomes food for the plants.”

“Meaning what Sofia?”

“Well we can take the little birdy into our tree pot near the flowers so they will grow beautiful.“
Solemnly I took the corpse and Sofia helped me to give the little fellow a decent burial.  When all was done we continue our trip to school.  She was very happy and didn’t stop speaking about the birdy, the possible death causes, how the flowers were to be fed and at one point she stopped and solemnly told me “You know Pepe, that little bird is going to help also the butterflies because if our flowers become beautiful with birdy they will feed many butterflies, I’m so happy.”

Ann Von Densen

Life of Toby

This is the story of Toby, a beagle-pug mix who was adopted by my daughter Kerry from Morris Animal Refuge in 2009.  It soon became apparent that Toby enjoyed attention and affection from females only when we were sitting on the grass in Rittenhouse Square.  While tail wagging at the women who approached him, he quickly ran behind Kerry and started shaking when a man approached in the same way.  Obviously, two year old Toby’s interactions with men had been less than kind.  Around this time, Kerry started dating Gabe.  Eventually, Gabe became the first man that Toby wagged his tail for.  Being a believer in doggie instinct, I took this as a positive recommendation and was quite happy when Gabe & Kerry became engaged As time went on, I began to think of Toby as Buddha-Dog.  He had a calm nature, happy to sit up straight, slowly moving his head back & forth as he observed his environment.  If you started petting him he would slowly lean into you as if he was returning the affection

Then, my grandson Max arrived and suddenly Toby went down a rung or two on the family ladder.  Taking it all in stride, Toby gently sniffed the tiny human who now occupied his former place on the couch.  Soon, he’d sleep beside Max on the couch & the floor.  Then as Max gained mobility & began crawling over, beside & next to Toby, he would calmly wag his tail.  As years passed & Max gave Toby full body hugs & began to pretend Toby was a pony instead of a dog, Buddha dog continued to take it in stride as dog & boy became best friends.

A few more years past & Toby, now 12 years old began to have health issues- the biggest of which was failing eye sight.  But as usual, Toby soldiered on & figured out the routes from living room to kitchen, dining room to stairs & front door to the corner hydrant.  Max & I began playing “find me Toby” in which we would clap & yell find me Toby!  until the dog happily sniffed his way to our feet receiving dog treats & hugs in returns.

In the past few months Toby’s health deteriorated quickly & Kerry & Gabe tried to prepare Max for the inevitable.  Casually, he would tell me, “Toby is going to die soon, and when he does I’m going to get a fish."

But, reality bites, and last Tuesday night Toby died at home as Gabe, the first man he ever trusted held him.  Max found out the next day & apparently cried thru bedtime.  When I saw him the day after he was still sad but was resuming 5 yr old activities When I saw him yesterday he asked me if I’d like to meet his new fish, Circle.  Life goes on, but I’m sure Max will always remember his first dog Toby with love. 

Also, you might have noticed a picture of one of the older buds above. That's a Socially Isolated Senior Selfie!
I'm going around asking older buds to send their selfies to keep in the spirit of our usual Best Day workshops. Take a page from their book and keep in touch with the important people in your life, especially the older buds. If you can't be there in person, please call them, email them, or message them on social media. You can share their stories through our portal right here, and you can volunteer as a transcriber (completely remotely) by emailing us at And if you're just plain passionate about supporting older buds and ending senior isolation, then like us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter, and share links to your favorite stories. Thanks for reading.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri