So instead of a book to read, let me tell you the story of fetching such a book. I walked about a mile over to the house of a woman I had just interviewed for my next book. Rachel is a past or present board member of several initiatives working on poverty and affordable housing in Wytheville and environs. She offered to loan me a book called Hand to Mouth by Linda Tirado, as part of my research.
Writing is a noble profession, but it does tend to make one gain weight if not careful, so I welcomed the opportunity to stretch my legs and let my mind lie fallow a wee while. A warm coat, stout boots, and off I went.
About 2/3 of the way to Rachel’s house, a pit bull came rushing down the upper porch stairs of a big old house and charged the chain link fence between me and him, barking madly.
I turned. “Awww, sweet boy, don’t you look just like my Bruce at home?”
He looked confused.
“And who’s a good boy then, defending Mummy and Daddy’s property and all that? Aren’t you a clever sweet thing, snuffly wuffly baby?”
If there is anything more demeaning to a guard dog than being called snuffly wuffly baby, I have not yet discovered it. He sat down and gave me side-eye.
“Bye now sweet boy!” I waved and continued my slow puff up the hill.
On the way back down, book in hand, I looked for my new canine buddy. Nowhere to be seen, until I checked the high porch. One doggie eye peered between slats on the rail.
Guess he doesn’t want to play anymore. That was my first thought, and then, Oh, I get it. He’s going to wait until I am almost past and then rush the corner of the yard barking really loud to make me jump. That way he can get his dignity back.
Sure enough, two steps past the final fence post, here he came, roaring and frothing fit to burst.
“Oh doggiewoggie bowwowser snookie pookums,” I said, in my best purr. “You are so clever wever, aren’t you snooshie wooshie baby boy?”
His shoulders slumped. He turned and started for the porch. I turned back to my journey, but when I glanced over my shoulder, he was doing the same, regarding me with a kind of curious reproach in his eyes.
Lissen son, 2020 is almost over and then you can get your groove back, ‘kay? For now, accept pookie snookums good boy as the compliment it is. None of the other neighborhood dogs heard. You’ll be fine.