Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Morning Walk With Ralph

Part 1

John Domingo walked his golden retriever to Grant Park for Ralph’s morning run.  It was muddy.  The rain fell heavily last night and the wind tipped over the potted bamboo on his patio. Ralph marked the fallen fir boughs that littered the walkways and newly mowed lawn. Ralph ran with nose almost touching the ground to the Picnic Tables and looked for stray scraps of food left by picnikers yesterday.  Once, someone had barbequed some ribs, then rather than throwing the leftovers in the garbage, had thrown them into the bushes. It was a special day for Ralph filled with orders to “Leave it!” which he ignored. Sometimes, Ralph changes his name without politely telling John and he spends the morning yelling “Ralph Come!” with little response.

John’s feet still hurt him from the 15K Shamrock run on Sunday and he paused to rest on one of the Park Benches that had been donated and placed in key locations, that allowed him to sit and monitor his dog’s play with the other dogs in the off-leash area. What he wouldn’t give for the comfort of those Adirondack chairs that were placed on the deck at the rented cabin in Tygh Valley, where he and his friends had surfed the white river on that hot day in July. Surfed is what they had called the maneuver of dropping into the river just below the falls and letting the flow carry them breathlessly through the rocks.

On the way back home from the park, John practiced ordering Ralph to "heel!" and wondered what his wife Rachel had written on her to-do list for today.
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