You can’t beat back time –
especially when you’re in puppy love

It was bound to happen. He’s nearly eight years old, which, in dog years, means 56. So the walks aren’t as long, and the naps are longer.  But today, he did something he hasn’t done since he hurt his back a couple of months ago: He stopped walking. Right on the sidewalk.

I let him choose the direction we’d take, as usual. And rather than turn on the street that would save us 10 or 15 minutes, he chose the long way. I was glad. I needed the exercise, and summer sunshine seems finally to have beat back winter.

But halfway down the block, he stopped walking. He didn’t look at me, didn’t whimper. He just waited. And as I had when he’d hurt his back and I needed to lift him onto the sofa or onto the bed, I just picked him up and began walking. A few drivers who passed us smiled. I’m sure they thought I was pampering him.

We walked that way for a block, him cradled in my arms, feet and smile sunward. But suddenly, he started to wiggle.

“You want to get down?” I asked, as I always do, as if he can respond.

I place him legs down on the sidewalk, and he begins to walk again. Yes, dogs have pride, and they know how to rally.

We walked back home at the pace he set and settled back in at home.

We’re watching the French Open. Well, I’m watching the French Open, and he’s watching me. Rafi Nadal is winning, as expected. Desi’s eyes are closing, time for another nap.

We can’t beat back time. We can’t hold it, delay it or wish it away.

But for today, we’re back to normal. It’s 11:27 SLT (Sunday Lazing Time), and we are happy.  In a few hours, we’ll grab the toys and run around the house. Well, I’ll throw them and he’ll run around the house chasing him. His latest one is a weird looking red weasel whose squeakers do not fade.

Desi likes to play chase in the house. It’s not hot; his water bowl is nearby. And when he’s tired, he just quits and lays on his back and looks at me with that “Come hither and rub my chest” look. He rules the house, and he rules my schedule. Just like my daughter once did before she grew up and went to live on her own.

Yep, my dog was a child.  Then he became a peer, like a brother you need to take care of or a husband you dote on.  Soon, he becomes a parent to whom you are devoted.

He’s 56 years old. He is older than I. Next birthday, he’ll be 63.

SoI rub his head and chest vow to count the days more slowly, to begin lying about his age, to hold him more, to travel and leave him less.

Because you can’t beat back time. Not with a stick. Not with love. Not with wishes.

And I want time to ignore us right now.





The past, the present and the future

I watched three children walk down the sidewalk on my street. They were like The Three Bears. The oldest was texting on a Smartphone, as sure of her step and the girl in the viral video who walked into a fountain so intent she was on her screen. The middle child was a few years younger, her phone a little bigger. She was watching her screen. But she occasionally looked around, pigtails moving with the motion, to notice the things she passed, a cat on a wall, a passing car. The third child was a boy of about seven or eight. He was carrying a feather. He moved his fingers along the plume, watching them move back into place. He was the one with the right idea. My favorite line in literature comes from Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple,” a story of powerful, hatred, survival, redemption and love. Shug walks a compliant Celie, who has been abused and mistreated her entire life, through a gorgeous field of nature, a field of glory. They pass purple flowers and Shug says, “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.” The greatest show on Earth happens around us all the time. If we occasionally put down the phones and the tablets and the work and the bagge of life – and just watch, oh the things we’ll see.

Battle of the Bulge allies include Barry White, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson

If you want to know how you’re walking, don’t look at your feet. Look at the people watching you.

I had been searching for something new in my Battle of the Bulge.

I finally found the answer.

And it was in something I was doing all along.

Rather than stroll with Desi, letting him saunter, stop to chase squirrels or just meander around smelling the smells of every dog that had walked sooner than we did, I remembered the doggie training, put him on my right side, and we strutted. It was a cross between a power walk and dancing.

Now, we do it every day.

Yes, I put on my purple Skechers, my purple Parade Company Jacket and my purple Urban Ears earphones. Then I pump up the volume and set my pace by music: Barry White’s “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love,” Stevie Wonder’s “Boogie On Reggae Woman,” Marvin Gaye’s “Come Get To This,” Michael Jackson’s “Remember The Time, Yvonne Elliman’s “If I Can’t Have You,” (the BEST thing about “Saturday Night Fever”), Prince’s “Raspberry Beret,” Jennifer Hudson’s “Love You I Do,” the Jackson 5’s “The Love You Save” and  the classic, always useful “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me” – the Aretha Franklin-George Michael duet that has no Expires By date.

After a few weeks of this, I realize that I have reached cardio pace. A week ago, I noticed the smiles of those in passing cars who slowed to wave or nodded. Approvement? Encouragement? Had I been a Facebook page, they were clicking LIKE.

Since I don’t weigh myself (It ruins the whole campaign.), I can only tell you that the pants are getting loser, the attitude is getting better – and yesterday, a guy in a car almost hit the car in front of him because he turned all the way around to watch. Yes!

Thanks, Barry, Marvin and Michael. You’re still making a difference every day. And thanks to the Queen and to the Prince of Motown. Stevie Wonder may never see what he’s done, but I hope someday to let him know.