I smiled into the phone and told him, "Well, I have to be honest with you, our walks are just like any ordinary walk. The clouds do not part, angelic choruses do not burst into song and there certainly isn't a beam of golden sunshine that follows us around. We just walk. It's really quite mundane. I'm afraid you wouldn't be very impressed."
But they insisted and when they arrived yesterday afternoon I was more than willing to take them with us to the park and around our usual spots. I was glad to have them but also a little nervous. Duncan tends to assume that when others are present I'm distracted, which he thinks means is reason enough to attempt to get away with murder. I don't know how many times we've gone over this lesson, but I am not distracted, perhaps more in tune with our walk simply because we have a reputation to protect.
And so we ventured across all six lanes of traffic on Bowles, which my dad rightly remarked upon as being "a bit dangerous." I laughed and told him that last winter when the snow and ice were piled up there and Duncan and I were standing in the median waiting to cross I'd envisioned my own death by sliding down the ice into oncoming traffic.
The park was wonderful, although a bit quiet. We walked down to the high school and then up toward the memorial. On the way we spotted several bunnies and dad and Jane got to witness Duncan's hunting skills live and in person, which I thought was quite exciting. He put on a full show for them, going rigid, lifting one paw slowly and letting it hang in the air, bobbing lightly before setting it back down. We climbed Rebel Hill, which offers a nice view of Littleton, the mountains and the eastern plains and looks down on the prairie dog town, which Duncan alternately shows mild interest in or utter indifference.
On the way home dad asked. "Was that a typical walk? Was that the way they normally go?" Except for the pace, which Duncan prefers to amp up a little more, it was a pretty typical walk, and as I'd explained, no angels burst into song and the sun did what it normally does which is take no notice of us at all. Even Duncan, who tends to act up, was well-behaved, only pulling on his leash every now and then. He even sat on the curb before crossing the street, waiting for me to give the all-clear command. It was an ordinary walk, except for the fact that dad, who I haven't seen in eight years, and Jane, who I'd never seen at all, were there with us. It felt good showing them the places I cherish, the places that inspire me and the places Duncan has led me to. And it was good to be in a place that is my own, to know the trails and the roads and to be able to point things out, to show others that that little boy, who, as my dad likes to tell, peed on the doctor the instant he was born, has made a place for himself in the world with a dear friend he calls Duncan.
*Please pardon my comb-over look. Dunc had given me a bath right before the picture was taken.