Friday, January 9, 2009
A Day of Riches
"Ain't but three things in this world that's worth a solitary dime,
But old dogs and children and watermelon wine." Tom T. Hall
I'm living those words today. Well, all but the wine part.
First, I meet up with Silver, a mighty sweet and mighty overweight, 7-year old Weimaraner, who wiggles like Jell-O as he waddles by to say "hey" at a Little Rock, AR, dog park. His mom, Laura, loves every ounce of him. And he, her. They are here because Silver avoids playtime at home, where he competes for her attention with a St. Bernard, two Labs and a Border Collie. So, he and his mom come to the park to play, but play's not what Silver does today. He avoids the park dogs, too, content instead to lumber, sniff, wiggle and waddle about in solitude, reconnecting with his mom now and then for a kiss.
Next, I'm granted an audience with Louis, as in Louis the 14th, a blind, 14-year-old white Standard Poodle mourning the loss of his best friend, Marie, as in Marie Antoinette, a Chocolate Poodle, who died recently of a seizure disorder. Louis appears to wear a crown because his mom, Holly, gathered his overgrown locks into a top knot, secured by a rubber band. The grieving Louie receives my scratches unenthusiastically. But his mom knows he'll perk up soon; she sees signs already. Just this morning, he enthusiastically slurped down her chocolate shake, turning his regal white mustache brown. What a great old dog.
And finally, at a McDonalds in Russellville, AR, I show a couple of kids -- human ones, ages 4 and 6 -- how to turn their milkshake straws into trombones. Their mom grins stoically. Taking the cue, I warn the boys that straw whistling is OK at McDonalds, but not at other, finer restaurants. Still, the mom grins.
And I'm grinning, too, because it all comes back to this: Old dogs and children. It doesn't get much better.