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A day with snoopy and jayda Document Transcript

  • 1. A Day With Snoopy and Jayda by Thomas Baker
  • 2. In San Diego, California there is a beach called Dog Beach. That’s the place whereI first saw Snoopy and Jayda. It was a day like any other day in sunny southern California,that is to say it was beautiful. Hot and sunny, blue skies, no clouds, fresh breeze rolling inoff the Pacific Ocean and lots of people strolling casually with their dogs running free.Totally, completely, free and happy. Like Snoopy. And Jayda. But that’s another story. Snoopy and Jayda are beagles. Typical beagles. White with patches of brown.Long floppy ears and built short to the ground with a muscular chest. That’s Snoopy.Jayda, well, she’s a Lady. She’s taller than Snoopy, lighter on her feet and a jumper. She’sa really high jumper. Both of them have those intelligent eyes that when they look at youthey penetrate right through something primitive inside of you and leave you convincedthey understand every word you thought about saying before you even thought to thinkabout saying it. Yeah, you guessed it. With dogs like that you don’t talk much. There’s no need forit. Anyway, you know that they know that you know that you’re the boss only because youwere lucky enough to be born a human being and they weren’t. And you’re also Linda’sbrother, which counts too. And John’s brother-in-law, which gets you some brownie pointsalso. Sometimes you just appreciate it that Jayda and Snoopy even hang out with you. Yeah, you read my mind again. You’re right. These aren’t my dogs. I’m sort oflike their distant uncle or something. I’m visiting my sister Linda and my brother-in-lawJohn. My sister Linda received Snoopy as a birthday present (I think) when he was just apuppy. Jayda was an afterthought but she worked out really well. Snoopy was really cute too. Playful. All the time. Jumping and barking andrunning. Happy as can be. In the morning you roll over and feel something soft besideyou. It’s Snoopy. He’s licking your face with his tongue. Giving you his puppy-goodmorning-wake up-I-just-washed-your-face-where’s-my-breakfast-let’s-go-play-you- 2
  • 3. wasting-daylight treatment. Forget about it. You gotta get up or Snoopy just gonna washyour face again. Trust me on this one. Get up. After a while you get used to it and learn togo to bed early. So you have some energy for the day that Snoopy is gonna make you startas soon as the first ray of daylight peeks through the windows. Now Lady Jayda is another case. She’s cool. While Snoopy is doing his drill-sergeant-wake-up-move-it-move-it routine on you Jayda has been busy arranging theirbreakfast bowls side by side. After that is done she is on her way to my sister’s bedroom toget her woken up. Jayda is smart. She knows who is going to fill those breakfast bowlsand the water bowls. And it’s not the “uncle” who is temporary. No way. Jayda knows thereal deal. So Jayda does her imitation of a world champion track and field high jumper andsoars over the gate that is supposed to keep her contained in the kitchen and glides throughthe living room. Glides? Yeah, she glides and sometimes even slides. I saw hermoonwalking one time and figured out where Michael Jackson got that crazy walk from.He copied it off Jayda. Sometimes, before Jayda goes to the bedroom to wake up Linda, doyou know what I have seen her do? Really, I’m not pulling your leg on this either. I have seen Jayda moonwalk “backwards” on four legs syncopated like a slowmotion replay or something and jump one time back over the gate, land lightly on her feetand bounce back up over the gate again. Yeah. I’m not pulling your leg on this. It’s likeJayda has got super torqued springs for legs but you can’t tell cause she is such a Lady.Anyway, I thought about all my track and field high jump ribbons from my high schooldays and made a mental note to pack them all up to send them to Jayda. She is bad, youknow what I’m saying? S-U-P-E-R-B-A-D. Like James Brown. Get on up! Well, she glides on into the bedroom but Linda already knows. It’s like in thishouse everything is telepathic, brain wave communication like some super species of the 3
  • 4. future that has managed to develop all of their mental abilities to the max. I mean how doyou explain the box of dog biscuits in her left hand and the bottle of fresh Evian SparklingSpring water in her right hand? Where did she get that stuff from? David Copperfield andHarry Houdini the magic man aint got nothing on this trick that Linda does every morning. Really. Linda just escaped from a deep sleep and a warm, comfortable bed,materialized a bottle of water and a box of dog biscuits out of thin air and now she ismoonwalking to the kitchen to tighten up those two bowls that Jayda got laid out side byside. One is for Jayda and one is for Snoopy. I reach for my camera because I know theygonna jump the gate and I wanna get it on film. By the time I’m ready to take the picture ofLinda and Jayda skywalking over the gate in the kitchen it’s too late. How did they do it? I lay the camera to the side and walk, not glide, stumbling over my uncoordinatedmorning feet, stumbling and shuffling through the living room and stop to remove the gateso I can get in to the kitchen. It’s either that or call 9-11 for my broken neck and slippeddisc in my spine caused by trauma secondary to a fall on the kitchen floor. Good MorningAmerica says it’s gonna be another hot and sunny day. “You better be telling the truthWillard”, I think with a worried look at the dark skies that seem to be withholding thesecret of my days’ activities. Yeah, even the skies seem to be in on this morning ritual ofhurry-up-and-play-and-we-don’t-got-all-day-to-do-it. Have you ever tried to casually eat your breakfast while two dogs are looking at youwith a look on their face that says, “Why you holding up the show”? I figure they musthave gobbled down their dog biscuits like aliens from outer space or something. Whatever.Things move fast in this house. Linda got on her running clothes, basketball under her arm,and looks like she is going to suggest I stay at home while she takes the two Martians outfor a stroll. She looks at me and then looks at the two Beagles. They sit and wag their tagsonce to the left and once to the right. Get out of here. They just decided to wait for me. 4
  • 5. This dynamic duo (Batman and Robin eat your hearts out) is waiting on me and Linda isgetting the Batmobile ready. She promised them Dog Beach. Snoopy’s chest seems to grow about 5 inches, swelling up, almost ready to bursthe’s so happy. Thank you, thank you uncle for being so much of a slowpoke that Lindapromised us Dog Beach if we wait for you. I find myself rushing to get my basketballshoes and then, sitting in the Batmobile with Jayda and Snoopy each commanding onewindow each, realize that somehow or another I’m in on this telepathic wavelength nowords necessary form of communication that goes on around here. We hit Dog Beach running. All four of us. No sooner than the brakes bring thetruck to a stop we all out. No leash for the Beagles and they gone with Linda behind themand me bringing up the rear. Somebody has to be last and it’s me because I don’t know theterrain. So, I’m hanging back, although I realize I would be back here even if I knew theterrain. Snoopy and Jayda got four legs each and Linda is in top shape. Me, I gotta cutback on the pizza and Coca Cola. If I don’t it’s gonna be a heart attack for me right outhere on Dog Beach. I don’t think so. I’ll be ordering vegetarian pizzas for a while now. Snoopy takes the lead, at least that’s what Jayda let’s him think. Snoopy is theoriginal Braveheart. Mel Gibson aint got nothing on Snoopy. Man or beast, Doberman oralleycat, Snoopy gets up in his face with that stocky, broad, barrel chest of his and lets theworld know that Snoopy in the house and he don’t take nothing from nobody. Except he’slike a politician. He runs up to anything moving and sniffs the behind like he thinkingabout doing the wild thing but it’s just his tactics. You know, attack from the weak side. With Snoopy leading the way and the Jayda the high jumper sliding and gliding wemake our way up on the beach. There must be like a million dogs or something like that uphere all running crazy. Seems like they know that in a while they will be back in the realworld where they move with leashes. Short leashes that restrict freedom of movement. 5
  • 6. Freedom! Freedom is the wind in your face, freedom is jumping high to catch afrisbee, freedom is chasing a bird up high in the sky, freedom is running slow because youcan go anywhere you want to go and for a dog with an owner that’s a tradeoff you made along time ago for some security. We talking about paradise on Earth. Dog Beach. Youhave an owner that feeds you and you get to be wild, crazy and free. Dog Beach is theplace for me, Jayda and Snoopy. All too soon it’s time to go and I finally figure out what that plastic bag is for thatLinda has with her. She neatly scoops up some poop and closes the airtight bag tightlybefore depositing it in a trash bin. I shake my head once or twice as I realize suddenly thatan army of people are doing exactly what Linda just did. Poop scooping is an art and ascience on Dog Beach. Because everyone is scooping poop it’s cool. I notice how some of the people seemto be color coordinated with their dog. The little white poodle’s owner is dressed in whiterunning shoes, white jacket and white shorts with a white headband around her head. Ofcourse she has a white poop bag with matching white poop scooper. I look at Linda, (noneed to talk remember) and she shakes her head as if to say, “Are you kidding?”. Lunch time. At least my stomach is telling me it’s lunch time. My watch is tellingme it’s only 9:30 am. I’m starving. Out of the corner of my eyes I see Linda do anothermagic trick. Again, out of thin air, from nothing but thin air she suddenly has a bottle ofSparkling Clear Evian water in her right hand and 2 dog biscuits in her left. She looks atme and I shrug my shoulders as if to say, “I can wait”. After all, with strong magic likethat, maybe she will make a Big Mac, a side order of fries, (Super Sized of course) and astrawberry milkshake appear with a 12 ounce can of Coca Cola to wash everything downwith. “Yeah sis, I can wait”. Jayda and Snoopy do that gobble thing they do and in no timethey are finished. 6
  • 7. “I brought this for you”, says Linda. I open my eyes, my mouth watering for the Big Mac and fries. “What’s this?”, I askincredulously. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, my sister says with a smile on her face.“We better go. It looks like Willard was right. It’s gonna rain.” “Too bad”, I say. “I was really enjoying this apple”. On the way back, with Jaydaand Snoopy each commanding a window, I casually ask if we could drive through theKentucky Fried Chicken Drive Thru on the way back. Linda gives me her “You kidding me, right?” look but it soon turns to a “You mustbe crazy”, look when she realizes that I’m not kidding. “I was thinking we could get a big bucket of hot wings and drum sticks and thenwhen John gets home this evening we got dinner already taken care of”, I say. “John is gonna stop and pick up some Chinese food on his way home”, says Linda. I go back to nonverbal communication and fall silent. Snoopy saves the day bywashing my face with his long tongue and gives me a look that says, “You better get usedto this. If I can make it to dinner time on two dog biscuits I know you can hold out with abowl of cereal and an apple. If you can’t, get a job and buy your own grub.” He’s right, I think to myself. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. “You got that right”, says Jayda. “Besides, you know how to read. Get one of thosebig books to read and it will be dinner time in no time my friend.” I nod my head. “Yeah, I know what I’m going to read too”. When we make it in Igo to John’s study and pull out Abraham Licoln, the autobiography of Colin Powell andthe autobiography of Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf. I go find Jada and Snoopy out in thegarden. They still running and jumping. Where do they get the energy? Running up anddown, back and forth in their long dog kennel. Jayda is showing off, cutting Snoopy off 7
  • 8. every time he tries to run a complete length of the kennel, whereupon he turns around anddashes frenetically the other way. It’s a dog’s world and this is pure joy written onSnoopy’s face. Their game is that if Snoopy ever makes it to the end all the way he will trade placeswith Jayda and he will then try to cut her off. Except that Jayda doesn’t dream of losing.She does somersaults, jumps over the dog house once or twice and still cuts Snoopy off.They pull up when they see me coming. “What’s up uncle”? they seem to be saying. Wordlessly, I lay Abe, Norm and Colin on the ground side by side. And step backwith a “Which one?”, look on my face. Jayda just stares at me. Snoopy turns his head tothe side with a “You gotta be kidding look”, on his face. “Dogs can’t read”, he seems tosay. I turn my head to look at Jayda. She looks at me. Stares at me for a split second.Then she moves forward and touches the Abraham Lincoln book with her right forepaw.Snoopy looks at her, then looks at me. He steps forward and touches the NormanSchwarzkopf book. Then he steps back. Linda materializes with a tall glass of iced tea andtouches the Colin Powell book. I take the iced tea appreciatively and pick up the Abraham Lincoln book. The dogsstart running again. Jayda seems to be jumping a bit higher than before for some reason.Snoopy actually beats her to the end. He can’t believe it. Linda floats back into the house.I begin to read,: “Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth President of the United States”..... The End 8