Thursday, January 14, 2016
Once Upon an English 101 Class...
Sept. 7th, 1999
His sagging bulk shifts from side to side as he shuffles closer. The Sun’s bright good mornings bounce off the evergreens reducing my vision, but there is no mistaking his approach, even at this early hour. Daisy barks furiously and lunges at the rusty hog wire fence that separates us from HIM. Some cows have all of the luck. Here is a brute among brutes, the mighty bull, King of the Pasture, come to moo. Welcome to The Yard.
His mottled dull brown hide looks like old shoe leather as it erratically rearranges itself across his muscular chest and legs. He pauses and appears deep in thought. Perhaps there are bovine females who deserve his attention more than these two curiosities. Alas, the loud little one, looking like dead grass and old newspaper, has gotten his attention, and he shuffles to within goring distance of a fence post. Clouds of dirt scatter behind him to tell their friends of his coming.
Daisy is beside herself, frantic at his approach. As if this were not a near daily occurrence. I wonder what it would be like to be a dog’s nose. Such sensations! Then gratitude that I am not kept in a pen twenty some hours a day washes over me. I guess I’d be a bit psyched too if something a hundred times my size wandered back and forth past my prison window, nose or no nose. It really is a big dog run, I tell myself, glad that I am the keeper, not the kept.
The bull cants his head to one side, chewing stupidly, his cheeks surging like two rats in a wool sock. Daisy runs back towards me, the overgrown grass nearly up to her ears in spots. A hard J hook turn and she’s in the run, munching on day old Bill Jack dried dog food, having been reminded that she hadn’t had anything to eat for a good four minutes.
I lean back in the forest green plastic chair and wonder when I got so old that I would buy such crap. My Camels call me and I take one from the pack, carefully placing it in my lips and bringing it to life with my beat up old purple Zippo. Blue smoke wanders out of my nose and mouth, fleeing upward to the heavens, and I sigh heavily.
I’d stand and stretch, but I know better. The knots of pain in my back awoke first, then tormented me until I could take no more and had to rise. The morning ritual of letting Daisy out for a spin and a poop called and I obeyed. Hunkered over sideways, looking forward to the relief occasionally brought by a hot shower, I had meandered out the back door, careful not to awaken my sullen wife, hunched up in faded, ratty, pastel blankets on the couch.
Daisy, ego and belly momentarily satisfied, the beast satiated, strolls up and puts her paws on my knee. I am violently reminded that I had her nails clipped yesterday when, out of the corner of her eye, she spies a tennis ball, stalking her from beside her Barbie™ wading pool. She is off in a flash, using my bare knee as a launch pad. The bull forgotten, the helpless fuzzy yellow intruder doesn’t stand a chance against Daisy’s crushing jaws and killer instincts. The memory of a possum’s tail and derrière found near her food dish makes me forget the world for a moment as a smile runs across my face. Despite Life’s wicked turns, I am home.