If you are tired of reading about my bowsers, then skip to one of the top ten pieces, and go from there, because this piece features Dozer and the Clanster.
Vernon and the Doze
I Just got back from walking my bowsers, Clancy and the Doze. Clancy is our Aussie, and Dozer is the second half of Bull, as in bulldog. It was our second walk of the day, having gone earlier, when the dusting from this morning’s celestial mutterings, coated our universe in a sugary dazzle, which in the drug world, usually constitutes nose candy.
The Doze is amping even more than I. In case you are just tuning in, there is no available technology, which measures my current amperage, because the Humampmeter (“human-amperage-meter”; the “p” is silent, leaving us with “Hue-am-it-er,” with the accent on the “am.”) red-lined three weeks ago, when I debuted on FaceBook.
However, Dozer is blissfully unaware of FaceBook, except that his bed now has an additional resting place, along with his spot in the Giants shrine (poolroom) kitchen (wood-stove), and living room (another wood stove, the big one). He does not need a bed at night, because he has a king-sized one already, a corner of which he grudgingly apportions to Annie and me. Occasionally his migratory compulsion is not satisfied, by one twenty-minute flounce up the driveway, so we have to have an encore.
This morning, as we started climbing back up the city-block-long driveway, to get up on Bell Springs Road, the sun had emerged from behind the scudding clouds, being ushered along by a 25-30 mph wind. My sojourn in the parking lot of the Laytonville post office, last Saturday, doing my protest in the balmy spring-like air, was merely an entry on the “HistoryWall” of my computer-like mind. I mention that my mind is computer-like because it takes an eternity to boot up in the morning, and I am forever placing items in the wrong files, causing me to occasionally act confused. And you thought it was the early stages of--nevvvvvvver mind.
My bowsers were in a state, a mixed bag of exuberance, mania, and an inordinate interest in small shrubs and bushes, with an occasional tire tossed in for good measure. I was trying to keep up. As a result of my fainting spell, on Friday in my laundry room, I had re-injured my jenky right knee. It was no biggeedah, because I had had the foresight to stockpile some gluten-free, homemade, oatmeal cookies, with the coconut, raisins and diced almonds. I have developed my own special recipe.
Thus fortified and feeling a bit of my bowsers’ joie de vre, I donned only a light jacket over my wooly top, settling for my cargoes, instead of something more substantial, as a buffer to the early morning chill, and pulled on work-gloves. I like those fur-lined gloves-in fact, I once owned a pair-but now work-gloves come to grip more efficiently than the other, and it’s all good. Clancy was off the leash, because he was first of the dogs to come into the house, and he does everything I ask of him. He should be top dog, but if you know bulldogs, then you know why Clancy defers to the stocky one. I would too.
However, like a few of my former students, Clancy will sporadically choose to exercise discretion, by taking his jolly good time. I don’t think of it as defiance, any more than I EVER thought of eighth graders as defiant. They were just doing their job, for which they were paid handsomely, just as I was doing mine, and being paid just as-OK, that will never fly. Let’s just say that I got paid in ways which were not always reflected in my paycheck. Nowadays, we call it being a community contributor, but it’s a new-fangled expression for an ancient concept. I cared about my students, and I tried to demonstrate that, because my students returned my effort ten-fold.
That does not mean they were ready to write, “The Winter of Our Discontent,” but at least they could read a novel, and make some objective observations, presented in front of the class, more than once, if they had me more than one year. Some of you poor people out there had me for three years. Is that scary, or what?
We were halfway up the shimmering causeway, when Dozer pulled off one of the most stylin’ moves, I have ever seen a bowser achieve. He was darting back and forth, putting undue pressure on my cracked porcelain knee, so I shortened his thirty-foot leash, to a more manageable ten feet. I have been known to shorten that leash-length to the width of a piece of tissue. After a lifetime of never fully comprehending the nuances of “short leash,” I now get it.
I was still attempting to rein Dozer in, when he pranced back toward me, halting at my feet, staring up with that square bully head, and that round grinning face. I am reminded of an old farmer’s visage, droopy and furrowed, currently featuring only two teeth, except that Dozer’s two prominent teeth look like miniature pearly goal posts. As he spun back around, and looked at me from over his left shoulder, he shot me one more smirk-for that’s what it was-and he was off.
As fast as those short, pudgy, bulldog legs could pump, he streaked away from me and did his best impression of Mighty Mouse, launching himself into the air, as an Olympian might attempt a sophisticated dive, by first going up, and the returning gracefully, slipping stylishly to earth with a whoosh, instead of a splash. Well Dozer did almost the same thing, except that he was limited to a range of ten feet of leash.
His maneuver was a thing of beauty, Vernon’s leap for his Herculean “Catch,” if you insist, Dozer and Vernon having been formed from the same mold. Having attained the zenith of his leap, I expected the worst. How could he ultimately do anything, but land on his back, just as I had done, when I reached the end of my own trajectory, the day I flipped the quad?
What I imagined did not occur. Instead of being snapped back by the forward motion of his tootsie roll form, and the reaching of the end of his rope, his forward momentum carried him upwards until he reached the peak, a minimum of 24 inches off the ground, in a vertical leap of ecstasy: a ten-point performance, which awed the crowd. His four legs were evenly splayed outward, as though he were in front of a croud, supplicating them to “Look at Me!”
I would use the old cliche, about time standing still, but it was more of a hesitation. Time paused, and then sallied forth, and Dozer came back to earth. He came down on the points of his hind legs, and settled gracefully down on the full lengths of his substantial feet, then immediately springing forward, flowing in one smooth continuous motion, as though he did this every day.
You see, that is I, every time Terra Jean, my laptop pings, and the message reads, “A dear friend” has accepted your friend request. “Confirm” or-something else-I never did read the second box-so I confirm, and settle into the pleasurable mode of making with the palaver. I always had a way with words.