Good Things

We started on bad footing. The tot lot was closed for construction, and there was a lot of rebar sticking up in there. Kids had climbed the fence and were playing, a few boys who thought danger was fun. I kicked them out. I was the Mad Lady for a while.

Later I came out with my dog and college students had broken beer bottles all around the benches by the tot lot. It was 6 a.m. and I was walking my dog but had to go home and get a broom and dust pan and bag for the trash. After an hour we finished our walk and I got in touch with our Council Person. His staffer merely informed me that leaving Chani on a leash on a bench in our park was a violation to which she would inform Animal Control, and that cleaning up a case of beer shards so that little kids would not be cut didn’t make letting my dog sit up and stay while I helped the kids and moms be safe was no excuse for my illegal actions. That started years of torment for our neighborhood. Three Animal Control trucks caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in irrigation damage going after eight widows and their Bichons and Poodles, miniature Dachshunds and Yorkies. Oh, heavens, what damage those ladies and their dogs can wreak.

Now I would still kick the kids out of rebar park for their safety but my husband asked me years ago if we had a kid, could they go blow stuff up. He is a physicist and software engineer. I said of course, honey, just 1/2 mile from the house and downwind. Have a hose and a fire extinguisher.

These kids ended up teaching me, and I and dog Chani taught them.What amazed me is that all but two neighbors got along. Unfortunately she ran the park, to our detriment and her husband seemed nice but played along. I believe she did not wish to have children, parents, dogs or their owners or even people walking in what she thought was “her”park. Well, we paid the taxes. Our park.

The kiddo park re-opened. Kids were fine. The older ones were branching out with their new fast toys. One day they went to see a neighbor I’d had dealings with. Not good. Police told me she was on meth and selling it and I knew she was up at three in the morning washing her car and singing loudly. She woke me up.

I picked up her dog one morning in the park and delivered him home on my dog’s leash, whereupon she screamed at me and told me never to touch her dog again. The coyotes were organized there, ready to take down a dog, and he was right in their territory. I knew he was in danger and that my dog would follow me, so placed her leash over his neck. I put my dog’s life in danger for his and was berated for doing so.

A few weeks later a few young boys came out of her place with a new toy, a Razr. I asked the boys to come into the conference room, a shared lawn, and told them if I ever saw them near her place again I would be in contact with their parents, and never to accept gifts.

A couple of years later two brothers, they’re probably in or have graduated from college now, came by and asked what kind of dog to get. I lent them an AKC breed book. The first thing they did when they got Sparky (their father’s military nickname, he must have been a radio man) a Jack Russell Terrier was to bring him to meet me. I was thrilled. They also returned my book! It’s gone again…….

When Chani died I went out to the park and got hugs and condolences from all the people there. I didn’t tell the tot lot folks, yet. It was too raw. It was so sudden and I usually dealt with the kids, not the parents so much. It was awkward and I’d like parents to tell the kids.

The boys were outside the bushes. The younger brother, Sparky’s co-owner was called in. He was so brave. I told him Chani was gone. J was about seven at the time. I thought of his dad’s military training when he asked me to tell him exactly what had happened to end in Chani’s death.

While putting it as delicately as was possible, I told him. He cried. As we were about to emerge from the bushes he looked as if he had been crying. I said that before he joins his big brother and friends, I was going to yell at him, so he would cry. I yelled “never do that again!” Whatever “that” was, was nothing. He could never do a bad thing in my or Chani’s book and would love our Zoe even though they’ve never met, are miles away and he’s probably now on Wall Street and driving a Ferrari.

Oh, the brothers introduced this old gal to Google. I’d never heard of it and was still on dial-up until I met my husband.

We have good memories.When our nephew was seven, he wanted to play a game on my husband’s iPhone. He would burst into our bedroom at six a.m. and not ask to play the game, he’d ask “is it fully charged?” I’d say yes and he ran out. Darn, I wish he got dressed and took the dog out.

No wonder he wants to be an engineer. Cheers from Dee


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