Friday, April 25, 2008


There is this perfectly wonderful (but in a creepy way) woman at work who greets me nearly every morning. Her office sits quite near the door I use to enter the building and try as I might I can't seem to sneak down the hallway without attracting her attention. She is exuberant, loud and cheerful, wears large bonnets that tie under her chin in the summer and is one of those people who always wakes up on the right side of the bed. I'm sure there's not a soul alive who could say anything negative about her, but to be honest she drives me crazy. Without fail she is standing at her door when I come in and she does this thing when she waves, a big, hearty single wave that involves the slow arc of her arm in front of her body, palm open and toward me, like a clown or one of those off-putting silent characters at Disneyland who are forbidden to speak. She mouths the words, "Good morning" and sort of stage whispers them, hissing loudly as I smile and pass in front of her. There are no classrooms at that end of the building and only a set of small bathrooms nearby, neither of which adhere to library rules of silence. Usually I simply smile and whisper back, but a few mornings ago, after years of being greeted this way I asked, loudly, "WHY ARE WE WHISPERING?" It caught her off guard and she shrugged and just as loudly answered, "I'm not sure." She's an odd bird.

This morning, another beautiful, clear and crisp morning, I entered the building still thinking of my early walk with Duncan. He'd loped through the grass, which is spotty in height, large and bushy in some areas, low and still yellow in others. He'd bent his head down and licked up the sweet dew which had gathered on the edges of the blades. His collar makes a pleasant and musical jangling sound and his tail swishes the grass as he walks. We'd bumped into Khan and Dave on their morning walk and the dogs ran up to each other, immediately made for the butts, sniffed long and hard, perhaps sharing what each had had for dinner the previous night, then moved on to their bellies and under-junk and then, as if on cue, both leapt up, batted at each other, embracing in a kind of paws-askew hug and began wrestling. It seemed a glorious kind of greeting and when Carol clown-waved and hissed at me I couldn't help but think she'd gotten it all wrong.

I am not advocating butt-sniffing or playfully violent brawls but you can't deny it's much more passionate than the often silent hello's and Hi's, or the tight, close-lipped lazy smiles we exchange as we pass one another on the lake trail, at the office, in the parking lot or at the grocery store.

I watched Duncan and Kona tonight at The Glen. It had only been a few days since they'd last seen each other but once Melissa and I led them down to the grassy, tree-lined depression on the side of the complex, they went at each other with such force and excitement you'd have thought it had been years since their last get-together. They ran wide circles around us, chasing and snorting before coming together nose to butt, then nose to belly, before they started up a fierce and slobbery wrestling match. It was obvious they are friends, and heart-warming to see such energy and affection at their greeting.
Carol has much to learn. We all do. Perhaps one morning I'll shock her with a big, loud "GOOD MORNING," and a dance of excitement, although I certainly won't be putting my nose anywhere near her butt.


Duncan's Internet Friend said...

The bonnet babe is yearning for a, "Salut" and head nod.

NodakJack said...

Is that a Quaken Aspen double-trunk in the background of the pic of those two beautiful dogs?
Out here in Nodak we don't see many quakies....