Jon de Vos: It’s here " Big Sister is watching
April 25, 2008
My Dog Done Ate My Library Book, Doo-Dah, Doo-Dah.
For years, I’ve tried to work that phrase into a Country Western song but I can’t play the guitar and I’m a lousy poet, so my prospects are uncertain. If only I could write a song that Willie sang on the radio, surely I’d make enough in royalties to cover the library books my dogs ate. Doo-Dah.
Meanwhile, back at the homestead, we pulled into the garage after an evening of hilarity and riotous good times at Deno’s where we’d stayed a bit later than intended, a dangerous move if you live with an unprincipled Basset Hound harboring a hellacious case of separation anxiety. After turning off the engine, I commenced some serious dawdling. I fiddled with the keys, twirled them on my finger a few times and began rummaging purposelessly through the door pocket ” stalling, stalling, stalling.
Out the corner of my eye, I watched my wife eyeing me sideways in return. She was faking an intense scrutiny of her nails, examining them like they had just materialized at the end of her fingers. She made no motion to get out of the car.
The only sound was our breathing. After several moments, she turned toward me, reached out and touched my arm, “You go,” she finally said, adding a forlorn
We stared in silence, pondering the chasm between us. After several seconds I shook my head, “I just can’t,” I said.
She sighed and laid her head back on the headrest, “I went first last time.”
After a few minutes, she reached over in resignation and unbuckled her seatbelt and went into the kitchen. I started counting backward from ten and made it to three before the verbal blast rattled the door, “YOU STUPID MUTT! MY NEW CLARKS! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? SHE PUSHED OPEN THE CLOSET DOOR AND ATE ALL MY SHOES!”
Her shoes? Say, that sounds like unexpected good fortune. Disaster doesn’t seem to have struck too close to home.
I walked in and looked around. My things seemed OK. I went upstairs into the bedroom and started shrieking, “YOU STUPID MUTT! ANOTHER BOOK! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? SHE PULLED OPENED THE DRAWER TO THE NIGHT STAND AND ATE ANOTHER LIBRARY BOOK!”
Sensing danger, the furry imbecile leapt for safety, side-swiping a formerly nice table and blowing through the dog door with a resounding crash. After a few minutes of communing with the owls and raccoons, the food dish, leather sofa and king-size bed lured her back inside. She looked up at us with her soft brown eyes, gave a tentative wag and pretty soon we were all hugging and smooching, the prodigal daughter had returned from the wilderness, shoes and books forgiven, the incident now but a mere memory. I may have mentioned that my wife and I are a bit lax in the discipline
Reluctant to inform the authorities about our serial, book-murdering Basset Hound, Freeta, I put it the grim remains in a drawer. Out of sight. The non-chewed books gathered dust and grew overdue. Time passed. Fines mounted.
Too many days later, I was at a Businesses Without Borders networking meeting with the new owners of the Winter Park Market, when Anna Winkel, director of the Fraser Valley Library tapped me on the shoulder.
She taps with some authority and when I turned, she said without preamble, “Jon, did you know it’s Amnesty Week at the library? So maybe,” she paused, “you should get in there.”
My jaw dropped. I said, “How did you know Freeta ate another book? Have you bugged my house?”
“Of course not,” she said in her soothing librarian voice, “I just thought I’d mention it. And, by the way, the amnesty doesn’t extend to lost or ruined books.”
“Gee, Anna, thanks. Did you happen to ‘mention it’ to anybody else in the room?”
She just smiled at me and went back to networking.
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