Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My kingdom for a video camera.....

Somewhere Grantland Rice is smiling since nothing makes you feel better than recognizing there is an order to the universe, especially when it just caught up with someone deeply deserving of being caught up and through sheer serendipity you were there when it happened.

The longer Monday went on, the nicer the day became weather-wise, at least around here. I admit the bar for 'nice' weather for just about all of June has been very low, not just here but from what I've read, all over the USA and much of Western Europe. I'm never sure why that always seems to be the case, especially in the winter months. My wife will talk with her Mom, in Offenbach am Main Germany (GO KICKERS!) and more often than not Mutti's wetter is practically identical to ours. And when she gives you the temperature in February in Celsius, it feels even colder.

I was catching the late afternoon/early evening sun (I'm so pale, I am visible from the International Space Station as a white blip with a bald spot) and had just finished walking my laps around the NFA track and was on my way past Chelsea Parade back to my house. Norwich has, I think, a great deal of green space, to include the Norwichtown Green, Cit Ouellet Park, Mohegan Park (of course) and Chelsea Parade and a somewhat cordial, but occassionally contentious, relationship with dog owners.

Norwich has a leash law and at various times (I can recall) has had signs in the parks barring dogs, though the 'no dogs' posting in Chelsea Parade seems to be absent, or was the other day. When my children were smaller and we'd walk up to the Parade to play whiffle ball or soccer, it used to chap my butt when, as if possessing radar, we always found the presents of the presence of a dog, so to speak. I blamed and still blame the owners and never the animals. Bring a bag and a scooper and I'm a happy guy (how sad must my life be that a sentence like that captures it?).

Anyway, from across the street I could see a young(ish) woman entering Chelsea Parade with a LARGE dog. I'd estimate the animal stood at least as tall as to my hips-not a puppy, a full-grown adult animal. To her credit, her dog was on a leash, albeit was now on the Parade where it didn't really belong and I noticed she didn't have a scooper or a bag for that which was scooped. I gave some thought to asking her what her plan was when nature took its course, knowing the turn of phrase 'walk quickly away and not look back' would probably come up.

Meanwhile, near the trees that line one side of the Parade, the young woman searched for and found a fallen branch, not a large one but, a smaller, thinner one, a stick, good for a game of fetch with the dog. Clutching the stick, she advanced towards the center of the Parade and concentrating on not throwing like a girl (I'm sorry, but I couldn't resist), she flung the stick for the dog to retrieve. She forgot to release the animal's leash wrapped around her other hand. The dog took off like a shot, with the young lady trailing behind it like a pennant with hair.

I'll say this about that dog, the woman didn't slow it down a jot. It was like she wasn't even there. I think the dog was going for both distance and speed since the woman went a long way, really fast. I don't know if dogs get surprised so I don't know if this one was when it grabbed the stick between its jaws and turned to run back to its mistress and found her right there already. The dog, obviously well-trained, dropped the stick at the young woman's feet, or where her feet would have been had she been standing, and waited for her to throw it again.

The woman picked herself up, dusted herself off as best she could, seemed to check to assure herself she was pretty much all still there, and this time released the dog's leash and threw the stick for the animal to fetch. And for just a moment, and if only for just that moment, there was balance in the universe, even if , from a distance, it looked to be wearing a flea collar.
-bill kenny

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