Something has seemed a little different around here lately. I couldn’t put my finger on it until a conversation with Dearly Beloved enlightened me.
“Are you starting to worry about me?” he asked this morning.
I had no idea what he was talking about. Was this going to be another “aren’t you jealous” story? He has a repertoire of them, some dating back to high school. Just yesterday he told me about a neighbor who’s been giving him lascivious looks again and how he steadfastly continues to ignore her.
The mental picture of that one makes me smile. I know which woman he means and she is, indeed, on the prowl…intent on finding a man to take care of her in her declining years. Let me be kind and say that time is of the essence. She needs to widen her web because she’s exhausted the possibilities around here. Neighborhood husbands are afraid to walk alone. She’s scary.
Nevertheless, even if I’d witnessed it, I doubt I would have worked up enough of a hissy fit to kick the old bat’s cane out from under her.
Nope, today’s confession took me completely by surprise.
“I’m starting to talk to the dog,” he informed me.
I thought about that for a minute and realized that he’s RIGHT!
We’ve had several dogs and he’s never done that before. Oh, he’s always said things like, “Want to go for a walk?” and “Good dog!” but he’s never talked to animals like I do. He’s never left a message for a dog on the answering machine.
Even I don’t talk much to Miss Piggy. If I’m not asking, “Want a treat?” she isn’t interested.
My Akita, the late Howard Lee, and I used to have regular conversations. We practically had a book club going–I’m an audio book fan and whenever I listened, Howard was usually by my side, listening with me. I once told DB that Howard had read more books in the previous ten years than he had. DB didn’t appreciate it, but I had a book journal to show what Howard had read and DB’s list was puny by comparison.
I’ll give him credit: now that he’s retired, he’s making up for lost time, reading regularly to catch up. Right now he’s reading Pat Conroy’s new one, plus he has a couple of non-fiction books going. He still has a ways to go to match Howard’s record though.
It is, nonetheless, Miss Piggy that he talks to and now that I’m noticing, she seems to really like it. He’s not discussing books with her, but chichat like, “Which ball game do we want to watch?” or “Do I want ice cream or a granola bar?” and “Wonder where the Tabasco is hiding?” She follows him around, sitting primly to see what he decides. She now lies behind his chair instead of mine.
She has, in short, become HIS DOG.
Parts of this new scenario irritate me a bit, like when he comes in the door and says, in his crooning voice, “Hello, Girl.”
Here’s the thing. He used to say that to me. Right out of those old beach music classic songs. As a matter of fact, I have three different versions of “Oh Girl” in my car. He gave them all to me. I like that song and inside, I’M STILL THAT GIRL, wrinkles to the contrary!
The first few times he said it, I’d answer reflexively, assuming he was talking to me–something gooey and pithy like, “Hey, Boy.”
He’d look at me in surprise and say, “Oh, hey, Sweetie.”
This afternoon he came home from the golf course and although I was in another room, I thought I heard him say, “Hey, Girl, where’s the old woman?”
I jumped the dog gate so high it would have gotten a sure 10 from even the Chinese judge.
“Who are you calling OLD WOMAN?”
“LITTLE woman. I said, where’s the LITTLE woman.”
I worked in the yard today and my allergies have all my senses off-kilter.
For the most part, I think the whole thing is pretty cute. Since I’m the treat buyer, I’m still pretty popular around here.
There could be trouble one day, so I’m issuing a disclaimer right now:
If Miss Piggy comes home from a walk, chewing on a cane, just remember…THIS GIRL had nothing to do with it!