Jan 4 2015. Victory Gardens
Victory Gardens When I was a little boy, the Second World War raged. My mother grew vegetables to show the world that common folk like her, in the U.S.A. would do their part to ensure victory over our foes. A contest to see whose garden was best resulted in her winning a dog wearing a white fur coat that she named Victory. He was as noble looking as a dog could be, and he stood as tall as any dog I had ever seen. Victory taught me more about life than can be expected from a pet. He taught me what pain was when I held his leash, and he saw a cat. Like a racehorse, he ran down the street with me in tow. The sudden start jerked me from my feet, and Victory dragged me along on my stomach and chest. Like a fool, I refused to let go. He didn't know what he did was wrong and licked my wounds to show his love. One day Victory's luck ran out. He challenged an automobile to a race and lost. I put him in a cardboard box, got help from my brother, two friends, and carried him to the veterinarian's office. The doctor took a look and said, “He'll be alright. Go on, carry him home.” I believed what he had said because he wore a white coat and was called doctor. Victory lay in the box with his tongue hanging out, and we carried him down the street towards home when we met my mother and aunt. One look and my mother said, “He's dead, don't bother bringing him home.” I couldn't believe what she said. I put my hand on Victory's unmoving head, and it was cold and still. His tongue hung between his teeth, and his wide open eyes couldn't see a thing. This is when Victory taught me to never trust a man wearing white, how even a mother can sometimes be cruel when she withholds her sympathy and says, “Go dig a hole and bury that dog.” That was when I learned love can sometimes hurt. Fast forward forty some years when I'm on the verge of getting a divorce. My wife wants to take our dog when she goes her separate way. My heart aches, not for her, but for Molly, our dog. “You can go,” I say, “but Molly has to stay.” “No way Joe,” she says, “I picked Molly out at the pound. She's my dog.” “But she loves me more,” I insist. “I'd bet if she had a choice; she'd choose me over you.” “I don't think so.” “Let's find out who she'll choose. We'll have her held while we go ahead, and then when she's released, whoever she comes to will be the one who gets custody of her.” I said with a plan in mind. I knew Molly loved little doggy bones, so I'd have one in my hand when the test came. By doing this, I felt sure she'd choose me. We made arrangements, and our neighbor would hold our dog while we went out into the field. My wife walked west, and I headed east for a hundred steps. We stopped, and she immediately yelled. “Molly, Molly, over here girl.” I took out the doggy bone I had concealed, waved it in the air and shouted, “Molly, here's a bone for you.” She saw the little bone I held and headed my way. She stopped midway when I heard my wife shout. “Molly, look, mine's bigger.” I looked at her waving a rawhide bone that was almost too big for her to have hidden from me. It was then I knew she had planted it out there the day before. One look at the giant bone and Molly veered away from me and ran to my wife who was smiling with glee. “I win; she's mine,” my wife said, jumping up and down. Oh no, there goes my everything, my love, my reason for living, my only possession with meaning. And she left me for a bigger bone. Memories of Victory flashed through my mind, and I wondered if he would have done the same. Was my idolized love for his breed based on false assumptions of undivided loyalty? It didn't matter. I couldn't let my wife get the best of me. I'd dog-nap Molly before my wife could take her away. I jogged past my wife and on seeing me going for a run; Molly fell in behind me as she always did. Molly loved to run and swim. I'd take her to do both every day and we were so close because of this, I couldn't believe she'd choose another because she held a bigger bone. I headed for the ocean and as we ran I could hear my wife yelling for the police. I wouldn't let them take Molly from me. A cruiser flashed its lights, and a voice came from a speaker, “You with the dog, stop!” Molly and I ignored the voice and picked up our pace. The cruiser sped up, drove past us, and stopped up ahead, between the ocean and us. We continued to run. The cop grabbed me by the arm. Molly bit his leg, and he let go. “That dog is going to be put down for biting an officer of the law,” the cop screamed. We hit the water, and I dived in with Molly right behind me. She had a doggy smile on her face as we swam further and further out. I wasn't going to let anybody put Molly down. I didn't want to live without her. With my best friend by my side, I decided we'd go to a better place together. I grabbed her collar, and she swam for a long time before she couldn't swim any longer. We sunk the side by side, and her love-filled eyes glazed as water filled our lungs. The End