The Prescott Dog: Hazel Howls
We, (dad and I), had just stopped at San Felipe for fuel, and more importantly, the legendary San Felipe Breakfast Burrito. After letting it cool on the dash for what seemed like an eternity, Dad began digging into its goodness. Now the rules of the road were that drivers always share with dogs while traveling. That meant I got two big pieces of tortilla, and the last bite was always mine. So here comes the tortilla, hmmm. Now comes the best part, a two by two inch mouthful of tasty fulfillment.
On this occasion though, Dad holds the bite while blah, blah, blahing about last night, and how I would have to wait for that last bite the same length of time I had blah, blah, blah last night. He then places the object of my current desire up on the dash board.
Hurtling north on I-25, the Freightliner roaring and bouncing, we rolled over a bundle of landscaping waste falling from a trailer ahead. Just enough of a nose lift and sharp descent to throw my burrito piece next to me on the seat. I promptly applied my skills. Dad laughed, and under his breath educated the landscapers on how to secure loads.
The night before we had stayed in the “Dirt Cheap Hotel” in Gallup. I loved that hotel. The clientele was demonstrative and the carpet was full of smells from past adventures and travels. Dad was distracted at the “wobble” table doing his paperwork and absent-mindingly rolling the tennis ball into the corner where it would launch back at different angles. I was still puppy sized and could get under one of the beds. The third or fourth time under I discovered something wonderful and mysterious. Since dad was distracted, I decided to investigate on my own. Above my head, on the bottom of the box spring, was a hole in the fabric. A puppy-sized hole.
Up inside I found an amazing place, wads of batting, coiled springs, and wood slats that you had to place your paws just right or you would punch through the fabric. The smells, oh I can’t even begin to describe the catalog of aromas.
I could hear dad get up and wander around the room. Then I heard him look under the other bed. Now a cursory glance under my new fort, then off to the bathroom, and back into room. “Hazel..., Hazel?”
I thought the excitement coursing through my body was audible, so I was surprised how long it took him to find where I was. When he did..., the game was on. (he didn’t want me to tell this, but he actually went outside and looked for me).
The next hour was filled with a kind of joy and excitement rarely experienced. Dad would go to one side of the bed, I would scurry to the other. He kept repeating a phrase. What was it? Oh, “Come here you little...”. It ended with an “s” word that over time I have come to believe you use to address small things. Like when he dropped a small part to something he would exclaim that word. I occasionally used it with Lucy when she was small and annoying.
The game came to an end when Dad finally out maneuvered me through the fabric and I mis-stepped and fell part way through. My cover had become a net, and I was the fish. Dad had to tear the whole 1960s vintage dry rot fabric loose to free me. Batting and dust everywhere.
Now back then we were still learning about each other, and at the time of the “Big Box Spring Adventure”, I hadn’t understood that dad was expressing irritation. I can smell it a mile away now, and if I acknowledge it and come under its shadow, I can lose my tail wagging joy. Sometimes, for your own health and happiness, you’ve got to just smile and romp and run and broadcast that you are free.
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Prescott, Arizona 86304
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