de Vos: What to wear on Kilimangaro
December 23, 2016
Donned up in our gay apparel, we were walking our two mutts around the neighborhood. We do this religiously, every doggone day despite rain, sleet, snow etc. We do it because the alternative is worse. If the basset doesn't see her harness right after lunch, she begins pacing anxiously around the house puffing like a G-scale railroad engine complete with smoke billowing out behind.
The little dog starts moaning about the same time, rising in volume and octave as the day progresses. By three o'clock she's yowling so pathetically as to break the heart of a country-western singer.
They keep at it relentlessly, waiting, just waiting for our plaintive sigh and "Okay girls, it's time." They leap for the door like an Attica jailbreak.
Daily we trudge along a mile-and-a-half circuit that winds through the neighborhood like we've done for decades. Over the years and through a whole bunch of mutts, I figured we'd walked to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and back.
Earlier this week we were walking our dogs for about the 8,000th time (see the last column: Strolling with the QE2). Although the wife and I have been around the block a few times, today was to be the maiden voyage for my new coat.
I had to get a new coat. My wife had become starkly critical of my old one, saying it looked like I bought it from a deckhand on the Exxon Valdez. This is her oblique style, rubbing my nose in one teensy mishap I had getting the snowblower ready for winter. "You know," I said, "the stains are mostly on the back because I ducked when the oil started spewing. I really can't see them at all. Well, maybe a little bit on this sleeve, but still . . ."
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My old coat had been a dear friend, difficult to replace. But I shopped long and critically and eventually UPS rang the doorbell announcing my new coat's arrival. My wife insisted I try it on. I shook it out and held it up by the shoulders. I liked the look and feel of it, a soft forest green with plenty of pockets. I paraded around the living room, delighting in my new warm and comfortable coat.
My wife waited patiently for the parade to rest and, although sometimes critical of my choices, she went out of her way to comment approvingly, "Looks a little snug."
The next day, just like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, it was time again to walk the dogs. I strapped on their harnesses in the garage and went back in, preparing to take the tags and stickers off my new coat. My wife stood in front of it, arms crossed, never a good sign. "Okay," she said, "I don't want to hurt your feelings but that coat makes you look like Jabba the Christmas tree. It's an ugly cut and the color's guaranteed to get you run over by the next texting driver."
Sure, my feelings were hurt and I ask you, could you ever wear a coat comfortably after comments like those? Neither could I. So my nice green coat that whispered serene forest tones morphed into a fluorescent orange one that hollers "FINES DOUBLED IN CONSTRUCTION ZONE".
If you see me walking around the neighborhood, slow down and wave, I am not a fugitive from the Hot Sulphur jail.