I find the news of the day so disorienting I’m just going to download a bunch of random slides, post-it notes and half-scribbled cocktail napkins in my head, none of which have any point, but what the hell, here goes:
I’ve been commuting via bus lately. Probably a column in that one, but for the purposes of this discussion, all you need to know is that I was walking my neighborhood without Wendy, which I usually don’t do. I was trudging home on a steamy day. On the next block over, I walked up on a yard with a loose dog. Biggish, not a leviathan, and very friendly. Some sort of pitty/boxer-y melange, the sort that, when it wags its tail, the whole back half swings back and forth. I stopped and petted, of course, because I like dogs. A woman working in a yard a door or two down called the dog — Moxie, Maxie, something like that — closer to her. A squirrel was scampering around her, oddly close, for a squirrel. Also, it had pricked ears.
She reached down and scooped it up. It wasn’t a squirrel, but the tiniest puppy I think I’ve ever seen. The pup wore a eensie little collar with an ID tag that nearly covered her chest: Sophie. She was a Yorkie/chihuahua cross, and nine weeks old.
“I took her to the vet today. She weighs .88 pounds,” she said. I cuddled Sophie for a minute, and gave her back. She’ll be bossing Moxie/Maxie around soon enough.
* * * * *
I keep thinking about something that happened in July, when we went to Fort Wayne for an afternoon, for one of our old neighbor’s, sadly and unexpectedly deceased, “celebration of life.” (I always have to put that phrase in quotes; it doesn’t sound natural to me.)
The event was at Foster Park, which you locals most likely know — lovely gardens close to the entrance on Old Mill Road, a golf course behind, tennis courts, picnic pavilions. We were in a pavilion, reached by the main park road, which is paved. The parking is sort of haphazard; most people kinda bump onto a gravel shoulder, diagonally.
As we were leaving, carrying our cooler to the car and saying our goodbyes, I heard a child wailing. I looked over, and saw a little boy, maybe 3 years old, sitting on the park road, a few car lengths away, just where the gravel shoulder joined it, crying hysterically. A car was coming, too fast, and I held my breath; I didn’t have time to grab him, but surely there was an adult nearby who would.
The car passed the boy with room to spare, but no adult appeared. He continued to cry. I walked over and looked around. No obvious parent in sight, so I picked him up, said, “Let’s find your mom.”
We walked toward the nearest potential group of suspects, near the playground. “Point to your mom if you see her,” I told him. He was still crying, nowhere close to calm. I started asking random people; no one knew. The deceased neighbor’s daughter, a sometime nanny, speaks Spanish, and asked the boy where his mom was. No answer. We walked deeper into the playground, and I started calling out, “Whose little boy is this?” Again, nothing.
Finally, finally, a kid pointed to a woman sitting on a bench, waayyyy on the other side of the playground. She was on the phone. I walked over to her, the boy still yelling his head off.
“Is this your son?” I asked. Without even interrupting her conversation, she nodded and held out her arms. The boy reached back. OK, then.
“He was sitting in the road,” I said. She nodded in that yeah-I-hear-you way, while continuing to uh-huh-uh-huh whoever she was talking to. There didn’t seem to be anything else to say, so I walked away.
I looked back once. They were sitting on opposite ends of the bench, he in the hiccup-y end game of a crying jag. She? Was still on the phone.
Some people don’t deserve children.
* * * * *
I mentioned I’ve been taking the bus lately. Frankly, the extra time it takes me to get downtown is balanced by the lack of concern over parking and traffic.
It’s also an eavesdropper’s dream, a reward for anyone with eyes to look around the world and see what’s there. The other day I got on to find a man in surgical scrubs, carrying his clothes in a plastic bag, wearing a surgical mask. There’s a hospital two stops up, so the explained where he came from. But what happened to him? What was wrong with him?
I spent a few stops thinking about that, looking out the window. When I looked back, he was gone.
There are about a million stops on my route. The drivers don’t stop if no one is waiting. If there’s a hobo sleeping on the bench, they’ll slow down and honk. If the sleeper doesn’t stir, no stop.
Before I know it, we’re at the Rosa Parks Transit Center, where I take my bike off the rack and ride the last few blocks to the office. It’s a great way to start the work day. In summer, anyway.
Two summer pictures to close things out. Aretha, a mural at Eastern Market:
And the prettiest tomatoes ever:
And that’s it for the midweek memory dump. Have a nice Wednesday.