Thursday, November 18, 2010
It is a beautiful October Sunday. I have come to Dean's Fork to enjoy the leaves before the autumn storms take them all away. Already it is weathering up; there's a high haze in the sky. As Peter Kagan said, that's all right for autumn, but if I were in New England, I wouldn't take a boat out on the Sound with a sky like that. The wind is turning and the weather is coming.
Chet Baker trots before me as I walk and walk, feeling my old dogs, tension and unhappiness, slowly recede in the distance. I've parked at the bottom of the road and plan to walk a few miles to the top, where Bill will meet me. He comes down the road, sees us before we see him. We've each brought along a walkie-talkie but I have characteristically forgotten to turn mine on.
Chet Baker stops dead when he spots Bill. There is not supposed to be anyone else on this little-used track.
He studies the approaching form. Bill crouches slightly, assuming a menacing stance.
Who is this person, coming on like this? I have someone behind me to protect.
Chet drops into stalk mode.
The hair on Chet's spine stands up like velvet rubbed wrong. Bill stops and stares aggressively.
All right then. If you are here to hurt my Mether, you will have a fight on your hands, Mister. I do not recognize you. You look like Daddeh, but you do not act like him. It's on.
Chet Baker pours on the speed and closes the distance between himself and the intruder, growling low.
Bill runs to meet him, growling back.
The hair on Chet's back stands up in relief. He snarls and holds his ground as the angry, scary man comes on. He is small, but he is nobody's pushover.
Chet snarls and bounces up and down. He is standing as tall on his legs as he possibly can, all 26 pounds of him. This bad man is not going to get past him. He'll have to kill him first.
ROWF ROWF ROWF ROWF BRING IT ON!!
Daddeh! You fooled me good! Oh I am so relieved it is YOU! (see the tongue coming out in submission?)
Chet Baker, look at your back hair! It's standing straight up! You ferocious guard dog! (and now the Boston terrier smile spreads across his face).
Daddeh Daddeh Daddeh!!
GOOD BOY CHET BAKER!!
Oh, boy. I am so embarrassed. He really had me going. He thinks it is funny and I think it is awful that he did that. I thought he was going to hurt Mether.
Hm hm hm. What to tell Mether? I nearly attacked Daddeh. Hm hm. But he had it coming to him, didn't he? Hm.
hm hm hm.
METHER! Did you see what Daddeh did?? He is a big goofball!
No one will ever hurt you with me, Chet Baker, by your side. Now if I can just get my back hair to lay back down...
I had always wondered what Chet might do if we met someone with bad intentions on our many wanderings. Now I know. With every passing year, he is more useful, more additive, infinitely more precious to us. He is a gift, an amazement.
But he's nothing more than a good dog. And a good dog is all that: a gift.