I recollect I have more dog stories to tell. When you say recollect you have to draw out the r, almost like a grrrr sound but stop short of sounding like a junk yard dog who's reached the end of his chain. I love to say recollect like that because it makes me feel like a wise old woman sitting in a rocking chair spewing wisdom from the golden age.
Of course we all have a golden age. It doesn't matter what year you were born. It's the past as you wish it was, but not how it completely was. They call it nostalgia. I read somewhere it's considered a sickness. If it's true, I'm infected.
After my dog walk down memory lane yesterday I thought about other dogs I had a connection with. When I was a little girl I was shipped off to Tifton, Georgia for the bulk of summer vacation. It's where my grandparents lived. Looking back I wonder why? I'm pretty sure the thought was so I wouldn't be alone during the day. Both of my parents worked. But let's be honest, I wandered the streets at home and nothing changed when I arrived. I'm sure it made everyone feel better.
I drove her nuts. I showed up on her doorstep and she invited me in. Every time. That's what polite folks do. I'm pretty sure she wasn't aware of how long I would be in town or she would have broken the manner code of a true lady and hide behind closed drapes.
When you feed a stray they keep coming back. I kept coming back. Everyday. Not on Sundays. After a few visits I went to the backdoor. I knew that was the more friendly entrance.
Once inside I made myself at home. I ran around her house looking at everything. I don't think I went into bedrooms. Even I knew better than that. Mostly, I gravitated to the formal living room. It was large with plenty of room for twirling. There was a piano and fancy velvet furniture. Frilly lamps lit the room when the hoity toity curtains were drawn. No, not curtains, but fine drapery or window treatments as they are called now.
Eventually, even the most pretentious of ladies reached their limits. She called my grandmother. I was told not to bother her anymore.
She had a white German Shepherd named Bonnie and a small grey poodle. I wish I could remember the poodle's name but I was kind of put off by her. You see her little nails were painted red as can be. And...she even had matching ribbons adorning her ears. They looked like pretty pigtails on a proper child.
Never, ever had I seen such a thing. Heck, I know I was never that put together much to my mother's and grandmother's chagrin. (Another fabulous word). Her pampered pup went to the groomers on a regular basis. Her tight grey curls matched her mistress.
There was something off about the dogs eyes. I asked Mrs. Green about it and she told me the poodle had cataracts. What is that? I'd never heard of such a malady. She explained it to me and I thought that dog was as old as her master. While I didn't really hang out with the poodle, I was always interested to see the color of nail polish she wore when she came home from the spa.
The yards on this block were humongous. A house and yard took up the whole block. This was on 8th avenue, but it should have been a boulevard. That word seems to fit these grand old houses.
Her yard didn't have the majestic pecan trees or the mighty oaks like the rest of the neighborhood. Her house had more shrubs, flowers and fern type of plants. It was landscaped. But, on the side of her house ran a tiny stream. I spent hours pretending to be Huckleberry Finn there. I tried to skip rocks and looked for tadpoles. I never saw any and I never could skip a rock. Mostly, I would just sit and daydream. Bonnie would drink the cool water. I'll tell you what the summers in south Georgia are oppressive. There were no trade winds and gentle breezes like south Florida. I followed Bonnie's lead and drank from the stream too. It was refreshing.
Along her walkway towards the forbidden back door I was shunned grew a crazy bush. I'll never forget that plant. It was a shrimp bush. The buds hanging from it looked like shrimp. I hope that's what it's true name is. I don't want to look it up in fear that it has a different name. Shrimp bush is perfect.
Bonnie the faithful dog and I would discuss how we'd eat those shrimp. One time I picked a bud and shoved it in my pocket for a snack later on. It wasn't delicious. Perhaps if it was prepared in garlic, oil, lemon and parsley served over a bed of linguini I would've loved it. Bonnie my trusted friend kept my secret.
Everyday I showed up, walked around with my old pal Bonnie, avoided the poodle and tried to make friends with Sarge. He growled and barked and rushed the fence. It never deterred me. Listen, I had already been mauled by a hound dog a few years before and that didn't scare me off. That's another story for a different time.
Over time I could sit right next to the fence in peace. He would smell my hand and sit quietly. Eventually, I could touch him through the holes in the fence. I don't recollect, still love that word, if I ever petted him over the fence. We became friends, luckily for Mrs. Green.
The day came when he escaped his cage. He ran around the wide tree lined streets and Mrs. Green was scared. She handled him, but not in a run away situation. Plus, she was at least 120 years old. How could she run with her compression stockings? She feared he would get run over or worse, hurt someone. So, the raggedy pain in the ass kid came to the rescue. I was able to find him and walk him home by his collar. He didn't eat me. Mrs. Green was thankful, but I still annoyed her.
Is there a moral to this story? Nope, not really. I just love walking down memory lane, no make that memory boulevard in Tifton, Georgia. My summers were pretty remarkable for being unremarkable.
Well, I reckon I've taken up enough of your time. The one thing I learned as an adult is when to leave. I'm still a stray at heart though. I'll keep coming back.