I have received varying responses from readers about the entertainment value of these columns, and I must confess to you that the column of several weeks ago about my dog being escorted into my office in the National Bank Building has been the fan favorite.
So, if you liked that one, here is another dog story.
One morning when I left my home on Elmwood Place walking to my office, after several blocks, I noticed that Romer was following about 50 feet behind me. I went through my usual bag of tricks trying to “ditch him.” I ducked into doorways, stepped behind trees, went in and out of stores, but he was always waiting.
I was walking north along the west side of McDonel Street and came to the intersection of High Street. I intended to cross over to the north side of High Street. The light turned red for eastbound traffic on High Street and an eastbound, nine-passenger station wagon, being driving by a friend, the late Bill Shanahan, rolled down the passenger window and called out, “It’s hot out. Jump in, and I’ll drop you off at the Bank Building.” Of course, I jumped right in, figuring that when the car sped away, the dog would give up and go home.
This was one of those multi-passenger station wagons with three rows of seating. The driver’s row and passenger row faced front, and the third row of two faced the rear. Entry to the third row was through a door that folded down with a glass window in the top which could be lowered, as it was this morning. The rear two rows could be folded down for cargo.
I was elated that I had outsmarted the dog as we sped away eastbound on High Street. I figured there was no way the dog could keep up with us, and he would give up and go home. I was panic-stricken, however, when we passed Pierce Street and, when I looked into the passenger side rear-view mirror, I observed the dog in full gallop, running along the sidewalk on the south side of High Street.
I said nothing to Bill about the dog, hoping that he would not notice him as we pulled away from him, and I was optimistic we would lose him as he was fading when we made the light at West Street. I knew that if we made the light at Elizabeth Street, we could get around the corner onto Main Street, and he would give up and go home — sort of out of sight, out of mind.
Unfortunately, about half a block from Main Street, the light changed, and Bill stopped. I looked again out the passenger window, and Romer was at a gallop on the sidewalk on the south side of High Street. With the station wagon stopped, I figured I would just let Bill turn onto Main Street, drop me at the Bank Building on the square, and deal with the dog.
However, I had no way to communicate that to the dog. I looked again in the rear-view mirror and, to my horror, saw that he was now in the eastbound lane of High Street, coming hard. As he approached the rear of the station wagon, he made a very athletic leap through the open rear window of the station wagon, slid forward, slamming into the rear of the driver’s seat.
This was a 90-pound dog, and it was quite an impact. The dog laid there for a moment stunned. Bill had a “what in the world is this” look on his face. When he recovered a bit, he got out of the car, shut the door and waited. He had no idea that the dog was mine.
I made a sort of mush-mouthed explanation which I don’t think Bill understood. The dog was delighted that he found me, and I was furious with the dog. I walked down to the Bank Building and called my wife, who came down to the Bank Building to pick him up. Bill was a little distant toward me for a long time after.
Moral of the Story: Don’t look in the rear-view mirror, your dog may be gaining on you.
Lawrence S. Huffman is an attorney in Lima and a guest columnist in The Lima News.