Sadie and Mommy took a two-mile walk almost every morning. They would turn right out of the driveway and walk along their road, passing Mr. Pete’s pastures. Half-Deck, the brown stallion, stayed in the first pasture. In the next one were some goats and William, the Great Pyrenees dog who kept them safe. In the last one were a flock of sheep and Mama Dog, who took good care of the sheep and lambs. The pastures had electric fences around them to protect the animals. After the pastures with the animals, there were some woods, and then alternating houses and woods, until they came to Roebud Road on the left. They turned down Roebud and walked a little way on that road before turning back for home.
One morning, as they were about half a mile down their road, they met an older lady who was in her yard, very confused and needing some help. Mommy tied Sadie to a metal bench in the neighbors’ yard before helping the lady cross the road and go to the neighbors’ house. Sadie sat quietly next to the bench and waited for Mommy to come back, and Mommy was so proud of her!
Later that day, Mommy and Sadie went across the back field to visit Mr. George and Miss Patty. When they got there, Mommy saw that they had visitors with a little baby, who was on the floor with his mother. Mommy wanted to see the baby, too, but didn’t want Sadie to come in and lick the baby, so she tied Sadie to a wrought-iron metal chair on the porch. She thought that would be fine, since Sadie had sat so well earlier that day. Something was different this time, though. Perhaps Sadie had been sitting still earlier because the metal bench was cemented into the ground, and she couldn’t move it. Maybe she wasn’t worried then because she could see Mommy crossing the street, but she couldn’t see her now, once she had gone into the house, so she wanted to follow her. Maybe Sadie just wanted to see the baby, too.
At any rate, when Mommy went into the house, Sadie tried to follow her. Sadie took one step, and when she moved, the iron chair moved behind her. She took another step, and the chair followed. After the third step, poor Sadie must have been convinced there was a metal monster behind her! Down the steps and off the porch she ran, with the metal chair bouncing and banging behind her, and when Mommy looked for her, she was gone!
Mommy ran home across the field and asked Daddy if he had seen Sadie.
“No,” he replied, looking puzzled.
“Well, please go look for her in the woods behind George’s house, because she ran off so fast I didn’t see where she was going,” Mommy told him.
Then Mommy ran out into the road to look for Sadie that way. No sooner had she gotten there when Mr. Pete drove over in his truck.
“Are you looking for your dog?” he asked Mommy.
“Yes, have you seen her?” Mommy replied.
“Well, she came running down the road with that chair bouncing and banging behind her, ” he said, ” and scared the animals half to death! Half-Deck started racing around his pasture, snorting and whinnying. The goats and the sheep got so frightened that they ran into the electric fence and shocked themselves. There was a whole lot of barking, baa-ing, and maa-ing, too!”
“Do you know where she went?” Mommy asked him.
“Not exactly; she was moving too fast to see, ” he said. “But I suspect she followed the route you always walk, because that is what is familiar to her. Hop in the truck, and we’ll go look for her.”
Down the road they drove, with no sight or sound of Sadie, until they were almost to the turn at Roebud. They asked a man in his yard if he had seen her.
“Yes,” he said, “she came down here running fast, with a metal chair bouncing and banging behind her. Then she turned around and headed back the other way; I think she might be at the neighbors’ .”
Sure enough, when they turned around and headed back, there was Sadie, at the same neighbors’ house they’d stopped at earlier that day. She was no longer running, because she and the chair had gotten caught on opposite sides of the driveway curb. She was just sitting there, panting and tired, probably still scared, but at least not being chased by the chair monster that kept bouncing and banging behind her!
Mr. Pete helped Mommy untie Sadie’s leash, which had gotten all in knots, and he took the chair back to Mr. George’s house while Mommy walked Sadie home. Sadie wasn’t hurt at all, and soon got over being frightened.
In our neighborhood, we still talk about that day. We can laugh about it now, because everyone is safe, but I wonder if Sadie remembers her adventure and how she stirred up the whole neighborhood when she was chased by the iron chair monster, bouncing and banging behind her.
For some reason, the words of songs from the musical Don Quixote have been running through my head. The book itself I read several times, but long ago. The musical, of course, departs from the book quite a bit, but its message rings true. Don Quixote, a mentally unstable old man with a love of stories of chivalry, imagines himself to be a knight, cons a local into being his squire, and rides off in search of adventure. What I have been pondering upon is how his illusions became real for some people, changing their lives for the better. The most significant, I feel, is the story of Dulcinea. Don Quixote, searching for the epitome of womanhood who will inspire his feats of courage, meets a prostitute at an inn and believes her to be his Dulcinea. My old brain does not remember her real name, but that is not important, because as the play ends, the woman has begun to be Dulcinea; by treating her with the chaste love and respect of a knight, by seeing her for who she can be rather than who she has been, he inspires and empowers her to accept that new name as her real one. The song she sings of her life and her past, a song of being rejected, betrayed and used, is powerful, harsh, and strident. The song she sings with Don Quixote at the end, as he lies dying, is his song of belief in his “Impossible Dream,” sung with sweetness and hope. This pitiful old man, who had fantastic dreams of chilvalry and honor and dared to try to make them reality, despite being mocked and ridiculed, did not change any major history in the world. What he accomplished, at least, was to change one person, freeing her from her past.
I have been rereading the first three books in Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance cycle, because the last one was recently published, and I’d forgotten much of the earlier three books. Perhaps that is what got me started thinking about names, because in the stories, a fantasy series about dragons and their riders, the main character, Eragon, learns of the importance of knowing one’s true name. Your true name embodies who you are, and you must discover it for yourself. If someone else can figure out your true name, he would have the power to enslave you. The significant thing Eragon learns, however, is that your true name can change as you change and grow. Your name defines your essence but does not limit it.
This is as far as I got with this one, almost a year and a half ago. I have long since finished reading the final book in the Inheritance Cycle, I haven’t been humming Don Quixote songs lately, and I no longer remember where I was going with this blog……I know that I still am having a hard time figuring out how to actually post things, so maybe I was done and just never got it up on the board. Here it is…..
I wrote this back in October of 2011; I’d been thinking of a series of “Sadie” stories about our dog, but since much of my writing these days is done in my head and rarely gets put down on paper, it took a while for me to even write this first installment.
My dream was to have them illustrated and published……..but this first attempt sat in my computer until today. For any of you who are also fans of Korean drama, it was finishing watching Flower Boy Next Door last night that convicted me of my laziness and my lack of faith in myself. So, here goes, the first adventure of Sadie…
All that Sadie remembered from her puppy days were fear and hunger. There was a man who frightened and hurt her, and she never got enough food to eat. When she was taken to the shelter, she was put in an outside pen with some other dogs. The people there were kind; they spoke gently to her, petted her, and gave her food and water, but….. she was little, and the people were not there much of the time, so the other dogs ate some of her food. She had nothing of her own: no toys of her own, no bed of her own, no people that she belonged to. She didn’t know what it was like to live in a house or to run free in the fields.
One day, a man, a woman, and a teenage girl came to the shelter looking for a dog. They took different dogs out of the pens and tried walking them on a leash, petting them, and talking to them. One big, hairy black dog took off running, with the man trying to hold on to the leash! Another dog refused to walk once she was taken out of the pen. When it was Sadie’s turn, she walked quietly on the leash. The man was quiet and gentle, and she was not afraid of him. The family liked Sadie and decided to adopt her and take her home to live with them. She was only about a year old, still very young, so they hoped she would learn to love them and be happy living with them.
Sadie liked the people, but she was afraid to get in the car. When they stopped at the pet store to buy Sadie the things she would need, she was afraid when other dogs came near her, and she snapped at them. When they got home, she was afraid to go up the stairs to the porch and into the house. When she was carried into the house, she hid behind a desk in the living room. She wouldn’t eat, and, when she was taken out on a leash, she wouldn’t go potty. Everything was so new and strange to her that she was just afraid of it all.
After a few days, though, Sadie started, little by little, getting more comfortable in the new place. She came out from behind the desk sometimes to be petted. She ate some food. She began to go on walks and even to go potty outside. But still, whenever she came in, she would hide behind the desk.
Her family was very patient with Sadie, because they understood that she had not known much love and was so afraid of everything. They spent a lot of time talking to her and petting her. They got her treats and toys and a bed of her own. When they went outside to hang clothes on the clothesline, they would take Sadie with them and tie her with a long rope to the clothes pole, so that she could walk around and explore in the grass, or just lie in the sun. They took her for long walks on the leash, down the country road where they lived.
It took many months, but Sadie was smart and learned quickly. She learned how to walk nicely on a leash. She learned to play, chasing toys and bringing them back. She learned to ask when she needed to go out to potty. She learned that she had a name, Sadie. After a while, the man, who was now Sadie’s daddy, took her on walks down the road to a big field near the house. The field was surrounded by woods, and he let her run free there. At first, she would not go far from him, and would always come back when he called her name. One time, however, she took off into the woods, chasing a deer, and she did not come back. Her daddy called and called; he was worried about her, and he finally went home to get some one to help him look for Sadie.
Wasn’t he surprised, then, at what he saw when he got home! There was Sadie, sitting on the porch! She had found her way back home by herself, because she now knew where she belonged. She knew she had a family that loved her. At last, Sadie had found a home of her own.