Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Walking the Dog

When Linda was eight-years old, she went to visit Aunt Pansy and Uncle Thomas in the big city. Her aunt and uncle were world travelers, who had lived abroad in her uncle’s home country for many years after they were married. Now they had returned to the United States with their little baby boy to raise him with Aunt Pansy’s side of the family nearby. Things were very different in Uncle Thomas’ home country. His family was very rich, and they had servants and nannies who did the housework and helped take care of the children. In the United States the women and mothers took care of the housekeeping and the children. Aunt Pansy was depending on her sisters to help her raise her little boy.

Aunt Pansy was a petite woman with exquisite taste in clothing. She wore the very prettiest dresses with wide skirts and brilliant colors in the softest cottons and silks. Aunt Pansy had an artistic flare, and everything that Aunt Pansy did felt like it was a celebration. She talked with a soft, teasing voice that just invited you into her sense of fun and happiness. Uncle Thomas was a dashing gentleman who knew everything about race horses. Together Aunt Pansy and Uncle Thomas brought some of the glamour that everyone read about in Life magazine into Linda’s life, and she was so excited to be their summer guest in the big city.

Linda’s parents were poor and worked long hours everyday to provide for their family. There wasn’t any money to spare for extra things like vacations or trips abroad or silly things like a pet cat or dog. Linda’s brothers had a pet turtle purchased for 39 cents at the local variety store and a little salamander. While the salamander was not a very good pet, the turtle lived for many years and was a memorable pet.

Imagine how wonderful it was for Linda to visit Aunt Pansy and Uncle Thomas and discover that they had an elegant dog as a family pet. The dog was a beautiful, long-haired collie just like Lassie on TV. It was still a young dog, probably no older than a year and a half, and it was really spirited, like a race horse would be. Linda really wanted to be helpful while visiting Aunt Pansy and Uncle Thomas, but knew that she was too young to be trusted with taking care of their baby boy.

Linda did think that she was old enough to take care of the family’s dog and asked if she could take it for a walk one day. Aunt Pansy called the dog over to put on its leash. Then she handed the leash to Linda and told her to walk the dog to the corner and back. Linda and the dog walked out to the sidewalk joyfully, and Linda expected to have fun spending special time with the collie. Instead, when they reached the sidewalk, the young dog, overly excited about going for a walk, started pulling on the leash. Linda tried to hold on to the leash, but the dog was too strong.

Pretty soon, the collie had dragged Linda down the street, and it was beginning to drag her across the street. Linda was scared, because she was hanging on as tightly as she could, and the dog wasn’t slowing down. Just as Linda was beginning to panic, Uncle Thomas came to the rescue like a dashing hero. He took the leash from Linda, and together, the dog, Linda and Uncle Thomas walked back to the apartment. That was the last time that summer that Linda tried to walk that big, energetic dog.

A lot of other fun things happened that summer in the big city, but those are stories for another time.

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