Friday, 13 May 2011

The Curious tale of the Dog and the.......



Hullo ma wee blog,

I sit in the car waiting for the lovely G  to come back from her shopping, idling away the time by people watching. Close in front of the car is a bench seat and a fairly young mother is sitting there with her back to me. A push chair type of buggy with a very young child in it is in front of her and this is getting all her attention. A small blond haired boy of maybe six or seven is sitting beside her but separated by a couple of feet and at his side is a Labrador dog. It’s facing him and is paying him rapt attention.

As I watch another young mum comes along and they greet each other as friends and start to chat. Greetings are exchanged with the wee boy and then the two ladies bend animatedly over the buggy, getting deep in what can only be baby talk. The little fella beside them is clearly bored by all this but possibly he knows that he shouldn’t interrupt and he certainly seems to know to stay by his Mum as he doesn’t try to get away or even mindlessly wander from her side. He looks off to one side and seems to sigh and I imagine him resign himself to being here for a while as the conversation continues and he now returns his attention to the ice lolly he has in his hand. His free hand reaches out to stroke the dog’s head and in doing this the dog moves it’s head out of the way of his hand to keep a clear view of the ice lolly. The head movement is expert, soft and gentle and the boy understands that what has made his pet sway is it’s determination not to lose sight of the lolly. He sticks it back in his mouth for a long and no doubt enjoyable second before taking it out and moving it slowly, like a hypnotist’s watch, in front of the dog’s face. The dog’s head responds by following the motion, the head and shoulders swaying slowly from left to right and back again in a matching rythm to the ice lolly and as it does so, it's mouth partially opens. You can almost see it drool. {I'm almost drooling myself}  The boy's shoulders tighten and it looks like, just as I am, he’s having a quiet giggle to himself as he repeats the manoeuvre two or three times with the same result.

As dogs sometimes do, there appears to be a realisation that they are sharing a moment together and with a pleading look on it’s face that says ‘ Come on buster - stop messing around! You know I want some of that.‘  the dog raises a paw momentarily onto the boy’s knee and shuffles slightly closer for emphasis. Almost without hesitation the lad offers his lolly to the dog who begins licking enthusiastically. After more than a few licks he pulls the lolly away from the dog and sticks it in his mouth with the same enthusiasm the dog showed. After a moment the move is repeated; the dog gets a few licks and then he has a few licks. It's repeated again. And again.

I hear a familiar voice in my head. So long ago but so clear. It's my exasperated mother.

"Alistair! Don't do that! Put that down!"

In my till now long-forgotten memory my Mum grabs the ice-cream that I've been sharing with my dog for the few yards we've come from the ice-cream van behind us and drops it down in front of a delighted Wendy, a gold and white cross between a Labrador and a boxer, who is my constant companion when I'm not at school. Wendy scoffs the lot in about two seconds and I'm left on the brink of tears as Mum explains that it's not the done thing to share your ice cream with the dog by trading licks. She does that thing Mums always used to do by wiping my face with a lipstick and perfume scented handkerchief she always seemed to have literally 'up her sleeve' for occasions just like this one. To me it seems part remedy and part punishment, either from the indignant embarrassment of having your Mum do that to you or from the smell of that lipsticked hanky.


It strikes me years later that this probably wasn't that hygienic either!

Memory fails to remind me if she bought me a replacement ice cream, but I'd like to think so......

As G gets back into the car and I turn the key in the ignition, I have the memory of the scent of that handkerchief so vividly in my mind I can almost taste it. I just manage not to groan but I can't stop myself from screwing my face up the way I used to when Mum would wipe my face.


Yuk!

But thanks for the memory all the same wee man!

Listening to.







8 comments:

coastkid said...

Brilliant writing Al!,
i can just picture the dog watching the boy...
and his ice cream!

TwistedScottishBastard said...

Nicely observed Alistair. As soon as you mentioned the perfume and lipstick scented hankie, I was transported back to my Mum using her hankie on me. I really hated the way she wet it with saliva before she used it.

Actually having seen my wee dog eat cat-poo and decomposing possum, I wouldn't want to eat anytning it has licked.

dbs said...

This made me think of my Mom too. But she would have let the dog and I share the ice cream instead.
(Thanks for reminding me.)

Alistair said...

Funny how such vivid memories can be triggered when they appear to have been completely forgotten. Funny too how deep the response can be.

Glad you enjoyed it fellas.

Rebecca S. said...

What a vivid descrition of a sweet moment in time and the memories is provided. We used to buy our dog a baby cone when I was little and it was a real treat for him, that way no one had to share :)

Alistair said...

Thanks Rebecca - glad you enjoyed this one. Lots of memories tweaked it seems......

Morning's Minion said...

People watching can be a fine way to spend some waiting time--and it is easy to be drawn into a stranger's world for a few minutes.
The older I grow the more often I am amazed by some odd memory that comes tumbling out of the rag-bag mind---usually something I can view as a gift.

Jane said...

Lovely post Al. I met a friend for lunch today. She was a little late in arriving and I spent a good 10 minutes people watching in the restaurant. It struck me that the other people who were sitting on their own (either waiting for someone to arrive, or waiting for their fellow diner to come back from the loo) were ALL on their mobile phones. I struck me as sad that people seem to be losing the ability to just sit and observe what's going on around them - thank you for restoring my faith!

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