Zipper, looking not unlike one of several plush toy stuffed animals left strewn about by my grandson, was asleep on the sofa. I casually looked around for the other dawg, but she was not in the room. I checked each room upstairs, but there was no sign of her.
I went downstairs. She was not in the hall, the bathroom or the guest room, so I took a quick peak into the den. Since at first I didn’t notice her there, I started to go back upstairs when I heard her whine.
There is a rocking chair by the fireplace with cushions in it that Brenda has had re-covered more than once. I feel some kinship with that old chair. It is close to my same age, and I was rocked in it as a small child by my grandmother. It has been with me now such that my own children (now all grown men) have no memory of it not being among our furnishings.
Lila Bea stood in the rocking chair wagging her tail. She spoke. Her language reminds me of Curly Howard of The Three Stooges:
“Emmm! Gneyn, gneyn, nyah, nyah, nyah, rough, rough, row, Emmm!”
Her high falsetto whining offers no threat, but is only a cry for empathy and attention. It is reasonable to expect empathy and attention in this house. Both are regularly extended to residents and guests alike. When I walked toward her, she started to dismount the chair but halted, and gingerly laid back down so as to avoid any unladylike situations.
Again, she took up the dismount stance, but immediately retreated back into a sitting position, and then slumped into a full recline. After her third attempt in my presence to leave the chair (I’m sure there had been many others before I came in), I realized the issue: the chair would move every time she did. Her dilemma was a matter of balance. There was something apparently unmanageable in the persona of the chair itself, and Lila had a fear that she might fall.
I went to the book shelf and got a copy of Dan Thurmon’s book–Off Balance On Purpose and started to suggest she read it, but remembering that she reads with her teeth, I put it back on the shelf. Her only literacy was having been born in a litter.
Lila and her litter mates all had similarities to their mother who took little interest in prose or poetry herself. Lila’s mother’s name was Frankie. Whenever Frankie finished reading one of the neighbor’s newspapers, nobody else would be able to: it is a trait she passed on to her children.
Zipper would not have been the least bit intimidated by the rocking motion of the chair. When not settling in for a nap, he will frequently bounce on and off furniture so quickly that he has little time to contemplate the temperament of any particular piece. But Lila was stranded, and paralyzed by the frightful idea of her precarious position: she’d reached her freezing point.
I guess the chair had looked inviting and comfortable enough. It has often appeared that same way to me. Lila evidently couldn’t postpone the hope of gratification, so she had gotten into the chair with no thought of the “get down” procedure.
I guess if we think about it, each and everyone of us, at one time or another, have put ourselves in predicaments: taking some kind of action without proper forethought about the consequences. I reckon that has been common enough so examples won’t be needed here (not that I have any).
I stood in the doorway for a moment watching Lila Bea rocking and reeling and whining her pathetically pitiful little song. It struck me that I should get out the guitar and run a pentatonic blues scale riff and see if we had anything going, but I didn’t. I felt it kinder to help her regain composure rather than compose.
Steadying the chair with my knee, I helped her get down to the floor where her equilibrium stood a better chance. She wagged her tail, held out her paw, and said: “Emmm!” which among other things, often expresses gratitude.
She showed no embarrassment for having gotten into a bind which is one of the distinguishing differences between dawgs, and human beings over the age of five. Another differential would be the sincerity of her gratitude: people often say “thank you” when there isn’t a speck of thankfulness in them.
But Lila’s “thank you” was honest and heartfelt. A dawg biscuit was in order. The rattling of the bag of treats brought Zipper downstairs and onto the main stage, so both dawgs got a biscuit. I even considered eating one myself, but didn’t: it might take more cigars and whiskey than I could afford to get the taste out of my mouth.
After devouring the little morsels, and some sniffing and snorting around for possible crumbs, the dawgs immediately jumped into a game of rolling and tumbling; reeling and rocking back and forth with all the appropriate snarling and ear pulling suitable to such sport. All was back to normal, which is a state of affairs we often dream of but seldom see.
Seeing them play like that on the floor caused me a nostalgic moment, and a brief desire to be returned to a time when my boys played together in pretty much the same fashion. Since I had a reflection and an emotional thought come over me about my sons, I went upstairs to see if I could find an old episode of The Three Stooges on Television.
The dawgs followed me upstairs, and with no Stooges to be found on the tube, I switched to a channel that played old hit tunes relentlessly, one after the other. The puppies danced about with an abandon and the unrepressed style of youth while The Rolling Stones howled “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”.
For some amusement, I tossed a hard rubber ball down the hall. Zipper quickly retrieved it to the living room where Lila was waiting in ambush mode. She thought it was a good idea to take the ball away from him, but Zipper rolled under the coffee table keeping it out of her reach. In a way it was fair that day to say: Zipper rolls, but Lila rocks. She really does: I saw her do it.