|Whately fields. dee|
I whistle for Lily, an eight-year old Irish Setter. She has been with me since she was a puppy. All the mistakes in her training are mine; that’s an unexpected upside to being single during her lifetime. She has met Maggie, my first -- and only -- wife. Maggie and I have been amicably separated for twelve years. Neither of us seems to get around to formalizing our status. We like checking the box on our income taxes: Married, filing separately. And living separately, working separately, loving separately. It has been a wonderful way to rescue our friendship. Maggie is everything almost any man would want in a woman. She is bright, and funny, charming and very, very beautiful. She is the mother of an energetic seven-year old boy. We exchange notes on the parallels between dog-training and parenting about once a month. She remains a big influence and a good friend, Maggie does.
Lily is a pushover so far as people go. If she likes you, she showers you with attention. That means dog toys, tail-wagging and lots and lots of kisses. Lily demonstrates the adage that “you get what you give.” I do not let Lily sleep with me, though her bed is on the floor beside mine. She is going to be in heaven with all the students on campus to befriend. While Whately Prep has a strict leash requirements and emulates New York City’s 1978 Canine Waste Law. When the news that a campus in rural western Massachusetts was requiring residents to pick up after their dogs hit, it went national. Affiliates from NBC came out and filmed a segment, interviewing Head Dickinson -- Julia’s father -- about his decision. He was videotaped saying, “The campus is a whole lot more pleasant without the unnecessary worry of stepping in a dog patty. For heaven’s sake, we have all we can handle with the cows in Whately!” It was good for a sound bite.
I don’t see many clues of what led to the vandalism at the graveyard. For a mere $350, I have a local stone mason coming out to right the stone and do a visual examination of all the markers to make sure they are all stable and fixed. I am tempted to dismiss the whole thing as nothing more than adolescent hi-jinks. However, I found a small scrap of fabric that was caught on a nearby branch. It has me wondering who might have been out there.
I clip Lily back on her leash as we cross Routes 5 & 10 at the Swamp Road intersection.
A light was installed at that juncture about eleven years ago when a Whately student was seriously injured by a UMASS student who was driving too fast. The student was late for classes. I am guessing he never made class that day.
I nod at the few pedestrians I see as I cross campus. I notice the SUV is gone from Julia’s driveway, as it the Volvo sedan. I can’t help but wonder what she is up to today.
I stop by the shop to pick up some paint I ordered. I am painting my living room a soft shade of green. I know it will be calming and peaceful. Precisely what I am looking for. I already hung one ne of my favorite photographs over the mantle. The green walls will only enhance it.