So, you must have known how much your daughter, Mary, loved dogs. I was too young to have met most of them, but I remember Prince.
Prince, so grandly named, was a spit of a dog, a tiny chihuahua – and mean, too. In Vermont when we want to emphasize how over-the-top something is, we say “wicked.”
Prince was wicked mean.
One day, Clarence arrived at Mother’s with a gift for Prince. Bought him a small rubber ball on a long rubber string. Mary watched without speaking as he tied the string onto the handle of her good cookstove then sat down in his red velvet rocker and waited.
Didn’t take long for the little mongrel to figure out a good use for that ball.
You’d know the layout of her kitchen, Rosa, but others wouldn’t and it’d be best if they did. The cookstove lined one wall, then there was a pass-through to a side pantry, then Clarence’s chair was tucked into the corner.
So, onto Prince and his new toy…
A perfect size that ball, fit neatly into a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth. A little experimenting and he figured out the rubber string. Clarence watched, narrating as it progressed.
Look at that little twit… his eyes fairly twinkled.
Prince growled and began backing up, with the ball in his mouth.
He’s up to no good… Clarence’s beautiful smile appeared.
A few more steps and Prince cleared the kitchen, passed through the dutch doors and into the dining room.
Clarence held his breath now, and watched Prince back up and take aim straight at him.
He’s gonna let it fly…
One final step and Prince could not get any more give from the rubber string. He growled and yanked, but it wouldn’t go further. So he did what Clarence predicted. He opened his mouth and let it fly.
Clarence ducked as the ball whizzed past. Into the pantry it headed and crashed into all the pots and pans that lined the open shelves. A holy ruckus it made and Clarence just roared.
Gram just sat in her spot atop a tall stool on the other side of the cookstove and grinned.
He’d keep at it, gathering the ball, backing up and launching at Clarence… until the string broke. Clarence simply tied it on again, but it lost some of its charm as the string got shorter and Prince could no longer create havoc with it.
Prince was wicked mean, but he did have a sense of humor. I guess I can forgive him all his nastiness.
He did make my uncle smile.