My wife has joined a strength and balance class as well as an art class at the Senior Center at Baltimore Park in the North End of Tacoma. I drop her off and then come back and wait for her to finish and come out to the parking lot. This happens several times each week. Sitting and waiting is hardly a chore. I always have a book to read, but generally I am entertained by young children playing under the supervision of their parents as well as adults playing under the supervision of their dogs.
I have three favorite memories of dogs and adults walking in and around the park. Most of the dogs, like their masters, are off-leash. One of my favorites is a shepherd with black hair on top and gold cascading down his sides like a waterfall. The dog walked along proudly followed by his master. When the dog stopped and picked up a solid stick and carried it around proudly I knew something was up. The dog lifted up his snout and the man took the bait . . . or rather the stick and the two of them played tug-of-war. They were lost in joy as they pulled at each other for the next fifty feet or so. The man became tired. The dog did not.
My next favorite site was a young Black man with a stand-up proud say it loud dog that had a black coat of long hair with a slight shine of purple. The dog led the man and just knew that he commanded and deserved the proper amount of respect and attention. It was a beautiful dog, but I only saw the two of them that once. There was nothing spectacular, but they registered high on my quirky-ometer.
My third favorite dog pair was a woman in a pinkish-purple parka. Her dog looked and acted like a border collie. The woman was following the dog. She had a long implement . . . a dog throwing stick. It was the longest one I had ever seen. She caught up to the dog and then loaded her stick and gave it a mighty heave . . . well as mighty a heave as a five foot three inch older women with white hair could probably throw. The dog charged after the ball in the air and it looked like it caught it as it came down but I don’t see how he could run, twist, and jump, and catch, so I’m guessing the dog may have gotten it on the first bounce. The interesting part was that the dog didn’t deliver the ball back to the lady. He ran to the pathway around the park about a seventy-five feet from where the women was walking. When she caught up, I think the dog got a treat and she loaded the stick. They did this same routine all the way around the park and only stopping when they met a man and his dog walking in the opposite direction. The dogs smelled each other and said hello. The man and women just said hello.
As humans we don’t need computers, fancy cars, and fireworks going off every other minute to enjoy ourselves. Life is entertaining and quietly exciting. I love just watching people and if there are none around. I always have that book.