Monday, March 28, 2011
It was a good idea at the time.
Last Sunday was one of those rainy and cold days that for me are best spent inside, watching some relaxing movie or, if my wife and daughter will allow, in some quiet refuge trying to write. However, neither my wife nor my daughter was going to allow such a thing yesterday.
Early last week I was put on dayshift to cover my two teammates who normally work that time after both were struck with sudden emergencies. It seemed simple enough, but after spending over eighteen months on nightshift my family had worked out a comfortable schedule juggling the demands on my wife and children with that of my work. Being abruptly thrust back onto dayshift forced my attorney wife to trash her routine work schedule so she could be home when the eight year-old Miss Wiggles walked through the door since I could not get back any earlier than four o’clock.
The rest of last week was utterly FUBARed and everyone was extremely happy when the weekend arrived since it meant a return to my normal work schedule Sunday night. Still, the damage was done forcing Dragonwife to catch up on her paperwork late Sunday morning requiring a quiet house without distractions. For that reason my wife asked if Wiggles and I would get out of the house for a while.
For years, Miss Wiggles and I use to spend some time away from the house every Sunday going to the zoo, the state museum, or taking Sparky the Dog to one of the local parks for a walk. It was a regular and enjoyable activity but like her brother before her, who I use to do the very same thing with, she had long begun to want to stay home and play with her friends in the neighborhood or do something that did not bore her like our regular activities had started to do.
As expected, when Wiggles learned we be going to the zoo she became obstinate, not only refusing to go to the “childish” zoo but wanting to stay home and watch SpongeBob all day with her friend who in all honesty needs one of those patches smokers wear but soaked in anti-hyperactivity medicine.
With Dragonwife pulling out stacks of paper with all sorts of legal mumbo-jumbo and other black magic spells printed on them while beginning her chants Wiggles and I came to a compromise about where we would go. Instead of the zoo we agreed to take Sparky the Dog for a walk in the park, which opened up a huge can of worms that I made an oath never to do again. Sparky the Dog is a little terrier that while great with all children absolutely goes ballistic at the sight of other canines.
Several bad incidents had occurred on these previous walks with Sparky going after other dogs, some of them much bigger, and while the police never had to be involved and the other dog owners were forgiving for the most part I had long realized taking Sparky anyplace was far more trouble than it was worth. That is why as all three of us drove away I came up with a great idea about our destination.
The South Carolina state house grounds are an extremely beautiful and relaxing place with its park-like atmosphere and its semi-secluded paths a great place to find a bench and sit and think. Wiggles, Sparky, and I had visited there many times on our little outings paying special attention to all the historical monuments situated on the grounds. During early spring when the azalea bushes are in bloom the color is explosive and the alluring scent of the flowers can almost make a knowledgeable person forget about the Confederate banner still flapping in the breeze nearby. With it being a rainy and cold day, I expected the grounds to be largely empty of both people, dogs, and was happily surprised to find it that way as I parked the car.
The first animals that greeted us as we began our walk were the resident squirrels, which I always confuse with our glorious elected officials. On a side note, if the knowledge of my confusion every reaches the leadership of the resident squirrel clan I expect they will viciously attack me the next time I visit. Sparky went crazy wanting to chase the little furry critters but as I scanned the surrounding area and saw no dogs I was content to let the family canine, safely on his leash, have his dreams of action and adventure.
Trouble never being far behind on these outings finally occurred near the statue of the esteemed Wade Hampton the Third, Confederate general, governor of South Carolina, and United States senator. We had nearly circled the entire grounds and with no dogs in the area and very few people, I was beginning to feel relaxed and had planned to make another circuit around the big gray building.
Wiggles was holding the leash as we approached the huge statue with Hampton sitting gallantly on his horse. Sparky was busy enjoying that wonderful olfactory world exclusive to dogs, I was lost in my thoughts, as usual, wondering when I could find the time to make a trip down to the coast before the crowds returned. Glancing down I saw Sparky very close to the base of the statue clearly getting into that special position dogs do to take a poop. Before I could open my mouth Sparky left a huge steamy pile on the base of one of South Carolina’s heroes and looking very happy with himself.
Right then and there, I quickly lead my little group back toward our car with every intention to leave before anyone noticed the special honor we had left on the monument. I had forgotten to bring the small dog poop bags that are specially made so an owner can take procession of what his furry friend leaves behind and there was no way in hell I was going to pick that stuff up with my bare hand.
As we stealthily slipped away, I remembered my basic South Carolina history and began to feel less embarrassed. Wade Hampton was the original “Teabagger” prototype ending post-Civil War Reconstruction in South Carolina, under very bloody terms, and setting it on the path of clinging to a dishonored way of life oppressing a huge segment of the population that never did anything wrong but be born the wrong color. With our escape apparently successful I allowed myself the dishonorable thought of wishing Sparky had the “stuff” to leave a similar present at the base of Strom Thurmond’s statue as well.
With South Carolina being a state where “Honor” is still in many quarters a sacred thing and people get teary eyed at the thought of the Confederate flag flapping in the breeze while dreaming the Civil War had a different conclusion its not out of the realm of possibility I could get into trouble for bringing this stuff up. So if I suddenly disappear this is my official request that Amnesty International be contacted on my behalf.