I was going to write about being a hoarder tonight. But I changed my mind. Maybe next time. Tonight, I'm writing about taking a walk in my town.
My back has been out for the past week and consequently I haven't been walking. Harry (the dog you've heard about several times) has been hot to get on the road, though patient. Interestingly, just as I nurtured him a few weeks ago when he was sick, he's been sticking close, concerned. Lots of gazing, peering into my face with stern expressions. There's more to these animals than we think, I'm thinking.
Anyway, tonight I felt up to it so we set off, Harry in his harness and leash, I in my sneakers and sweatshirt. We struck out for the park, a lovely place with a gazebo and bandstand. A few things have changed in the short time since I've been over there. Graffiti has appeared on the brick wall at the west end. White nonsensical scribbling by (you idiots will excuse me) some idiot. What, I wonder, is the joy of spray painting claptrap in a public place? I lived in New York City a long time and saw such twaddle everywhere. I don't expect to see it in my own hometown. I'm thinking tomorrow I'll call the mayor and complain, or maybe, when my back is healed, go over there and scrub it off. Then I'll station myself in the gazebo some dark night and when I see the artist return, let go with a blast from an air horn. Or better yet, a BB gun. Local folks...do you know where your teenagers are? Because if you don't they might be returning home with some buckshot in their backsides. You wanna scribble? Do it on a piece of canvas and leave the park's brick alone.
We ventured on. Spring is almost here though the temps remain chilly. I see tulips and iris popping up, and nearby crocus in symphony across a neighbor's lawn. In one lovely home lives a cartoonist, a well-known fellow. As I pass and admire his house I notice a small, third-floor window is lit. He's up there, I whisper to Harry, spinning funnies. I love that I know that. The familiar joy of small town life.
As we round the bend the corner church clock chimes nine. Harry pulls me along, eager to get home to a full water bowl and warm bed. My back is singing but I'm not so quick to cross the threshold. Trees are emerging from this dread winter; in daylight you can see the first lime green buds. There is a lovely scent in the village, promises of summer and golf and bull thistles. I stop at the Chinese place and pick up some dumplings for a late dinner, knowing that when I attach Harry's leash to a water pipe he'll be safe while I'm inside. Then, dumplings and Harry in hand, I cut across my sister's yard for home.
There is nothing like a city, with its theater and its restaurants and its never sleep disposition. I am familiar with that dazzling life. I can't help but wonder, though, if city folk know what it's like to be here: in a quiet place where you pay attention to fog dropping over the streetlights, where puddles have a personality. In a small town where church bells chime and dogs are safe alone on a main street there is no place (in my humble opinion) for graffiti. Maybe the spray painters should move away to Manhattan, because I don't think they know I can – and am willing to – fill a bucket and scrub off their ugly art. Do they understand the malice of their remarks, some so vile I will not repeat them here? I will indeed take my bucket and scour away their transgressions once, maybe twice. Then I will find some buckshot and hunker down in the gazebo.
Are you listening, you with the spray paint? Don't mess with a village boys and girls: unlike a city, a village has eyes wide open.