Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fair Game

I think this dog could track a french fry from a mile and a half away. I'd put her in search and rescue school in a minute if there was one nearby and I could afford it. Her goal every day is to smell everything we can get to before dark, nothing more. I can hide a thimbleful of peanut butter anywhere in the house and she goes straight to it. She could care less about walking if it doesn't involve her nose on the ground.

One day last week she bolted out the front door when I opened it to speak to a young man selling gutters. It scared the crap out of the guy but of course she meant no harm. Knowing full well that dogs have gotten shot by police officers for less, we had a pretty serious training session right after that and for now anyway, she's got the idea down. Stay means stay (for the 200th time).

As far as walking goes, and french fries for that matter, we try to change up the places we go so it doesn't get too boring or predictable. Occasionally, we even go back to the fairgrounds. It's spacious there when the flea market isn't in town and a good portion of it is fenced in although I don't usually let Stella run free there.

Sooner or later, we end up on the midway side, sitting on a curb watching traffic in the same exact place we met a year and a half ago. She's very attentive to the landscape and I tell myself (anthropomorphizing at length) that she remembers how fun and crazy her life was before me. Whether she does or doesn't is secondary I suppose, to the fact that when we stand up and walk away we're totally in step with one another. That is until her nose drags her to that next Smoky Joe wrapper.

Unfortunately, we won't be able to cruise the Tennessee State Fairgrounds forever. Despite the fact that there's a viable plan to improve it, there's also a group of moneychangers who have managed to convince the Mayor that it costs the city money. The truth is, it's a historic piece of property, one of the very first in Nashville. It has consistently made money for the city for over a hundred years. A commenter on a local blog recently referred to it as a "sh*t pit". This of course, is nothing shy of bigotry. The fairgrounds is a sea of asphalt and grass, like all fairgrounds. He was talking about the people who visit. They aren't his people. I'm guessing he's one of the same guys that wants to pay the poor people in that neighborhood twenty-five thousand dollars for their houses so he can flip it for a hundred and fifty, promising buyers from the start that the rodeo, the fair, the flea market, the race track and the roller derby girls, along with their uncouth clientele will soon be a thing of the past.

Until then, me and Stella are going to sit on that curb like a couple of old drunks and sing love songs to a Skywheel that isn't there.

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