Saturday, January 4, 2014

Clint the Dog

OK it has been 3 days since the New Year.
How are those resolutions doing?
I once tried a New Years’ resolution and broke it within minutes.
There went that year!
This reminds me of when I was an elementary school student at St. Attica’s and Sister Chuck Norris explained the “giving-it-up-for-lent” thing. I couldn’t make it work the 1st year but caught on quickly and was able to successfully convince my mother, for years, to refrain from serving liver for dinner during lent. 
Sandy, our mutt, was dismayed as I couldn’t sneak the dreaded organ under the dinner table for at least 40 days (excluding fish-Fridays).
I often wonder if those who make and keep a New Year’s resolution are actually happy at their achievement, you know that “be-careful-what-you-wish-for” thing.
I want follow up stories, let’s see the future events to those who have determination and willpower, are they really happy, fulfilled? Am I jealous?

When I was 17 our family moved from the inner city to the country.
We had land, trees and fresh air.  I loved it. My sisters thought the world had ended.
A few weeks after we settled in, a family from the city was able to find our home, unscheduled, and bring us a housewarming gift; a beagle named Clint.
The story goes like this; their oldest daughter joined some religious group and was way too busy selling flowers at the airport to care for the pooch.
They made the offer in front of 6 kids whose family mutt passed recently.
What could my parents do but say yes, since the gift bearers already had my brother holding the leash, my sisters had the dog food dish and the city slickers were already in their car, skedaddling away and burning more rubber than NASCAR’s finest.
They “just knew” we were hurting for a little puppy.  Bye-Bye!
Almost immediately we began to understand just why they could not maintain order in the neighborhood as a beagle has a few quirks we never before witnessed in the mutts we formerly raised. Beagles like to run, run and run. They are very independent, and can be warm & friendly but really do not listen. They have their own agenda. You accept them on their own terms.
We actually moved into a small village, very close knit with families who stayed there for generations.  We were outsiders and the locals were very curious as to our intentions and behaviors.
Clint certainly gave them much fodder for tongue wagging.
A hungry beagle is somehow able to escape multiple chains with cunningness greater than that of Hannibal Lecter. A hungry beagle is able to sneak up and steal the bagged lunch of children waiting for the school bus, not just once but multiple times.
In these days children are taught skills to be made aware of dangerous strangers. 
In my day the cry was “look out, here comes Clint”!
Mr. Kulp, our neighbor, certainly was not impressed when Clint decided to acquire the last piece of his chocolate cake when he had to leave his porch to go answer the telephone.
Clint was not just an eating-machine, he got plenty of exercise when he de-leashed and chased cars throughout the village. He was forever teeth-bearing; back hunched barking and growling furiously at the car tire of the moment.
Villagers were furious; cries of “why can’t you keep that dumb dog in your yard” were echoed throughout the neighborhood. Petitions signed, complaints issued but Houdini the hound continued his rebel ways.  The “new guys” in the hood were certainly all the talk at the volunteer fire company.
The reason why I bring up the story about Clint is that he is reminiscent of what can happen when you get what you want.  I always wondered what would happen if he actually caught up with a moving car tire.

He eventually did catch a tire (or should I say the tire caught him) and subsequently has been buried in my parent’s backyard for decades.

Rest in peace, Clint.

Happy New Year!

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