| Sassy interpreted by Norma Boeckler|
When Sassy and I walk each morning, we often pass John and Pat's home. I have known them for four years, from walking by, stopping to talk, but we know them a lot better now.
Today I learned that John was a veteran. He washes dishes for extra money. Their running joke with me is that I drove by without waving to them. People use their front porches and lawns to socialize in this area, instead of hiding in the backyard. They barbecue in the front yard and may even leave food in the grass for animals. Sassy counts on that for snacks.
From the beginning, John learned Sassy's name and called it out when we were near. His wife Pat got to know us too. This is what I hear when we stop and sit a while. "You drove right by and never looked over to see us. We were sitting on the porch. Good thing it wasn't raining or you would have drowned, your nose was stuck up in the air."
To thwart this teasing I began to slow down, roll down my window, and wave, even when no one seemed to be home. My wife joined in the drive-bys and waved too. One day, she said, "Let's get out so I can meet them." I parked and we crossed the street. We had a good time talking.
I thought we were doing well with driving, slowing down, and waving. Sassy and I always stopped if one or both of them were sitting outside. Sometimes they eat their cereal outside in the warm weather, and look for us.
But no, I was not doing all I could. John said, "You were on 40th and we were waving at you when you were fixin' to turn on Elm Springs. We honked and you never saw us."
I said with some emphasis, "My job is to drive safely, not to wave at all my friends." They both laughed. When Pat laughs, her eyes shut completely, which is very charming. June Allyson said she could never pose right for the still photographers, because her eyes became slits. Otherwise she was bug-eyed trying to keep them open. One of my classmates does the same thing, and a camera cannot capture it the right way. Fifty years after graduation she was still laughing the same way, just like Pat, just like June Allyson.
|June Allyson had beautiful eyes,|
which disappeared proportionately to her smiles.
"Sassy is guarding us so we can relax." That would last a certain amount of time. Since this was at the end of a long walk, she liked to do this while catching her breath and cooling off. Once completely rested she gave a short bark in her alert sitting position, as she does elsewhere.
"Do you have an appointment somewhere, Sassy?"
"Are we keeping you?"
"Should we be going?"
Bark! Bark! Bark! She gets up on all three legs and leads me forward.
"Have to go. Sassy has an appointment." Each time I shake hands with John and Pat as I leave. If they have kidded me about waving, I take off my Tilley hat and wave it at them as I leave. Pat grins until her eyes close completely.