Pennsylvania… Ohio… Indiana… Illinois… all have other more interesting stories somewhere separate (other thoughts).
So? How do you like it? Pretty, huh? Yeah — lots of room for my dog. Yes… come on, I have to make a phone call… the realtor gave me the names of some of her friends to call to help get this truck unloaded and get our car off the tow. (They did. Thanks.)
The sun had come out and there was no snow except the small piles plowed to the sides of the roads that had not completely melted — without so many trees to shade everything that day, the piles would have melted to nonexistence… it was hot for February.
What was that? I don’t know; big bug though… remember, we’re out in the country — I assume there are a lot of other creatures and bugs we’ve never heard of here — everybody else lives with them, I guess; I’m sure they’re not a problem. Yeah. Come on, get Malcolm’s leash; I’ll show you where the lake is. As we walked down our drive to the road, another dog came running up, barking — the dog stopped when he came face to face with my son’s dog — not fear, not anger — the dog automatically entered this remarkable state of awe in my son’s dog’s presence… Malcolm was still a puppy, but he always had that effect on others. He just stops [you], quietly and watches while other creatures adjust to him.
Malcolm is remarkable: half Norwegian Elkhound, half Wolf — the sweetest, most intelligent, most loyal, most untrainable dog I have ever known. He does things for his own reasons; and they are good reasons — except for in those first few months in Virginia and then Lonedell… still a puppy, he chewed my “pre-child-purchased” Marilyn Monroe style, silver, stacked clunky heeled Manolo Blahnik shoes… and they were rare because Manolos are typically spiked — so I could never have worn any other pair except this one — they were mine. They were so special and so expensive… I had to eat baked potatoes, no salt, no pepper, no butter, for two months after I bought them to make up what I spent on them — and they were worth it. I hadn’t worn them for years; hadn’t planned on wearing them anytime soon — but I liked owning them.
I had been patient when he destroyed two couches, chewed a 100-year-old Navajo basket, my books, records, clothes, purses and countless other non-sentimental pairs of my shoes — I understood, puppies chew things, but with the Manolos I blew. A silent explosion went off inside me when I saw my beautiful shoes lying there, all slobbered on, with teeth marks up and down the stacked heels and the straps! The straps were all over the floor in pieces. He looked up at me smiling and happy, like he had found the best chew toy in the world… and all he wanted to do was share his fun with me. Until he realized I wasn’t as happy as he wanted me to be; I didn’t have to say a word — he cowered.
That’s it! Come on — and without shame, I put him in the car and we were going on a one-way trip — we were out in the country, he was cute, he could be someone else’s dog! I did let him out and started to drive off. That dog kept up with the car, howling as he ran. I pulled over… Get in. He sat in the passenger seat, staring at me. We were both quiet. When we arrived back home, my son was walking down the road — he was going to leave because of what he thought I had done — dumped his dog. Mom! What? …I brought him back …I’ve been patient, that dog has destroyed too much — I don’t think many other parents would put up with the same. But those were just shoes, and you never wear them anyway. Sweetheart, I’ve been nice — he’s destroyed furniture, art, other clothes, everything; now my best shoes. (How do you explain shoes you never should have bought to a ten-year old boy? You can’t, so you just look at him and his dog, and figure what’s more important… they’re just shoes.)
…You tell him he better never chew anything of mine ever again; let him chew your stuff! He never destroyed anything again; not mine, not my son’s — perfect dog ever since. I still have the chewed shoes in a box somewhere in my basement; they’re unwearable. I don’t know why I’ve kept them. Maybe to remind me — they’re just shoes.