Sunday, September 30, 2007

Musings: Dogs and Sundays

Venus and the moon, rapidly shrinking, made brief appearances before getting swallowed up by clouds — the same ones that shrouded the mountaintops — when I went walking in the dark this morning. I like being out on Sundays because it’s so quiet. Even the horses were still sleeping in their lush pasture, one of the few that remain on our rural road.

As a child, I hated Sundays because it meant going to church and worse, having to wait to eat because we couldn’t break our fast before taking communion. When I was a teenager, working as a counter girl at Kentucky Fried Chicken, I always signed up for the 2 to 10 p.m. shift so I’d have something to fill those long, dull afternoons.

Now they’re my favorite day of the week, precisely because of their emptiness. I don’t feel compelled to work, or do anything at all, although I often go to the Laundromat and run errands. It’s a breeze to get around Kapaa on Sunday mornings, so long as you go early enough to beat the church traffic.

While the clothes were washing, I vacuumed my little Hyundai. Three conditions wreak havoc on car cleanliness, and they’re all present in my life: parking under camphor and java plum trees, eating juicy, sticky longon while driving and taking a dog regularly to the beach. I’ve given up trying to eradicate all the sand and dog hair, and just try to stay on top of the chunky stuff.

After my dog Kaukau died, my next door neighbor came over to offer her condolences while I was vacuuming out the car. I just can’t seem to get rid of all her hair, I said, shaking my head sadly. Maybe you could collect it and save it in a little box, she suggested, thinking I was finding it difficult to part with this tangible memory of my darling. No, I answered. I just need a good shop vac.

Koko, whose short hair is brown, and not white, like my last two dogs, definitely adds to my housekeeping chores. There’s always the bit of sand that doesn’t get brushed off the belly, the paw that still carries a trace of mud, the fur that sheds regularly.

But while I’ve muttered under my breath, and complained out loud, while cleaning up after a man, I’ve never resented those same chores when they’re made necessary by a dog. A bit of extra sweeping and washing is a small price to pay for the comfort of their companionship, the inspiration of their joyousness, the bubbling enthusiasm of their greeting, whether I’m gone an hour or a day.

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