Monday, February 20, 2006

Put one small miscellaneous piece out of place and the whole thing comes tumbling down

I don't know exactly why the dog was called Patch, because I don't think it had one on it anywhere, but the fact was that patchy or patchless I was going to mind the darned thing. This was a few years ago, and the pooch was a kind of long-legged, wide-arsed Jack Russell terrier my sister had acquired. That Patch had made it as far as Tallaght on the bus was a miracle in itself, because the dog was hog wild, as our American friends say. I don't think it got out much. And while my sister, Eva and my mother went shopping, I was to make sure the same rule applied.

It was a fine day, and I think I was doing something in the front garden, so Patch got to sun herself on the lawn and look out the gate. I could keep half an eye on her. It was going fine, so my thoughts turned to lunch. There was a meat pie in the fridge which just fitted the bill, so I put the oven on to heat and went back to clipping the hedge. In about 20 minutes, I put the pie into the oven and closed the door. When I got back outside, the gate was open and two toddlers from up the road were waving Patch goodbye as she disappeared over the horizon.

I couldn't curse too much in front of the kids, so I made some noise like


and galloped down the road after the dog. If my sister came back and the thing was lost I was a goner.

Patch and I shared one thing in common. Neither of us went running very often. Zig-zagging just didn't help her, I was gaining fast. Eventually, she considered a possible hiding to be better than the cardiac arrest she was about to suffer and keeled over on the green, four legs stuck stiffly into the air in submission.

I grabbed up the pooch and made for home in my best nonchalant walk. I put her down none-too-tenderly on the lawn and tried to remember how to breathe. Both our tongues were hanging out, but I resisted the urge to nudge her aside from the water bowl and start lapping.

When I got my breath back, I made sure the dog knew it was in trouble. She slouched around unhappily and tried to keep out of my way.

"Bloody dog," I grumbled, wondering how many years had been shed from my life.

After a while, I started to feel sorry for her. She looked so miserable, I decided she could share some of the meat pie.

We both looked into the oven on all fours. In fact, the pie looked so nice through the glass that if I'd had a tail I'd have wagged it.

Of course, thinking of the dog's discomfort, I forgot some basic safety procedures, such as

"Don't stick your head in the oven door the instant you open it."

Good God! The blast of heat singed my eyebrows and the dog's whiskers in one fell swoop and the two of us retreated, yelping, for the far corner.

When Eva and my mother arrived in later, Patch and I were sitting at the table, quietly eating meat pie. I thought it the only fair solution. If she noticed the dog was whiskerless, Eva never said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That makes me laugh everytime you tell it Willie, What a piture in the minds eye.