Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pater: puppies...

Pater: puppies...  At right my dad is resting after a short walk through the woods near Turner Mountain, outside of Lassen National Park in June 2007.  He was quite tired after a walk of less than a half mile, with no significant elevation change – I remember that being a very hard thing for me to accept...

I spent a couple hours yesterday parked in a pleasant residential section of Hillcrest (a San Diego neighborhood), waiting for our two oldest dogs to finish at the groomers.  While I was parked there, a little boy walked by with his mother and two black-and-white puppies ... and that triggered a very happy memory involving my dad.

This must have happened in '61 or '62, in one of the first years that my dad started taking me to customers' homes with him to “help” with his landscaping work.  We had gone to New York state, to the home of a Mr. Goff, where my dad was doing extensive new landscaping work.  Mr. Goff had a beautiful little brook on his place that tumbled down a steep hillside in a rocky bed.  It was full of little pools and waterfalls, and there were frogs and turtles and birds, lots of things to engage a little boy.  I was down next to that brook, having a great time, when I heard something rapidly approaching me – an animal of some kind.

Alarmed, I looked around – and there were two little black-and-white puppies, falling all over themselves to come greet me.  The brook and my dad were forgotten; those two puppies and I had a wonderful time for the rest of the day as my dad worked away.  He practically had to pry me away from them so we could go home.

Some day not too long after that, we were down by the Jersey shore, doing several smaller jobs at 3 or 4 different customers' homes.  At one point during the day, my dad suddenly turned the truck around, pulled off on a side street, and parked.  He told me to stay in the truck; he'd be back in a little while.  Fifteen minutes or so later, he came back, with a big smile, and was very cheerful for the rest of that day's work.  I had no idea what he had gone off to do, nor why he was suddenly all bright and cheerful.

We finished our day's work, and were (I thought) about to head for home, when my dad pulled our truck back into that same side street and parked again.  This time, he had me come with him.  We walked around the corner, and there was a facility of some kind that dealt with dogs (an SPCA or something like that).  We walked in, and a couple of people at the front desk greeted my dad with big smiles of their own, and told him that everything was ready.  I was a bit puzzled at this point – I'd never been in a place like this before, I had no idea how my dad knew these people, and I didn't have a clue what was about to happen.  All I really knew was that there were a lot of dogs here, in pens built into the wall.  All the dogs I could see were adults.

The smiling staffers led my dad and I down a little hallway, and then opened the door to a room and waved us in.  My dad went in first, with me tagging along right behind him.  The first thing I saw was puppies – lots and lots of puppies.  I don't know how many, but there had to have been at least a dozen, and maybe even twenty of them.  There were puppies of every size, shape, and color.  I sat down on the floor and was absolutely covered with puppies for the next half hour or so.  My dad, after a few minutes of just watching me, eventually got down on the floor with me – and we both overdosed on pudgy, squirming, squealing, excited, wet-nosed puppies.

It was wonderful.

My dad must have arranged this somehow when we parked the first time, earlier in the day.  I didn't ask him about it at the time, or at least I don't remember doing so.  We drove home in a puppy-stoked daze.  Years later I did ask my dad about those puppies, and he just had the vaguest memory of playing with the puppies with me.  He didn't remember setting it up himself, but he also couldn't remember how it was that we happened to be in a room full of puppies in a town a long way from home.  Well, that's ok.  I certainly remember it...

No comments:

Post a Comment