Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
From A Walk Comes Literary Inspiration
by Richard Comfort
I try to take my dog, Halverson, for a walk daily. Terrible guilt follows if I fail. He loves it so much and needs it so much, how can I be selfish enough to deny him? But it happens. So, on my tombstone it will read, "He tried to take his dog, Halverson, for a walk every day. Sometimes he failed. He was only human." And on Halverson's tombstone it will read, "Sometimes my dad forgot to take me for a walk. That's ok. He was only human, not a dog like me. Not everybody is perfect."
The street in front of my house meanders west. It climbs up the western hills outside of the town of Sonoma. Animals of all kinds inhabit the open ground and islands of forest in between the houses. As I was getting ready to make a 90 degree turn north I looked ahead into a field. Two or three hundred yards to the west a flock of turkeys stumbled and bumbled along following a jack rabbit who appeared and disappeared as he lead them on. I made the turn to the north and eventually turned west again, moving up the hill. Two hundred yards ahead the jack rabbit reappeared, crossed the street and disappeared. Within minutes he had doubled back, pirouetted across the street and back into the brushy fields from whence he had come. In seconds the turkeys came pecking and hunting in the opposite direction as they crossed the street. The rabbit had completely flummoxed the turkeys. I could swear I heard the rabbit laughing.
Halverson and I kept on our trek as the drama unfolded. It's part of the fun of our walk. Halverson is a rescue dog. He came from a drug bust in Mendocino County. He is named after a friend of mine. The real Halverson lives on the edge. He has had more fun in one forty-eight hour binge than I have had in my life. Drugs, alcohol, motorcycles, women and danger. All of those are part of his life. Except for a little alcohol, those things are taboo in my life. In honor of him and all the vicarious pleasure he has given me, I named my new rescue dog Halverson.
Halverson, the dog, is a Parson Russell Terrier, a modified breed of the Jack Russell Terrier. I have always felt a bond with terriers. They have such short attention spans. I know the feeling. I am teaching him to sit, heel and come. And he is teaching me patience. He is too big to be a lapdog, but like my friend Halverson, he takes delight in breaking the rules. When I least expect it he bounds toward me from an oblique angle (so I can't see him coming) and throws himself onto my lap. With him it's pure love, pure loyalty, pure companionship. Oh, if I could only be half the dog Halverson is.
Richard Comfort: Age 69 & 11/12ths.......male....married......lives in Sonoma.......retired........loves retirement...."I'm always surprised when my retirement check arrives. I wonder, Do they realize I don't do anything and they still give me this money?" Born 1939. Still remember WWII. Thought he would never see a WW again. For that matter, any war. Has evolved from an America Right or Wrong patriot to a citizen of the whole world, knowing war will outlive him over and over again. Caught in a vortex. Still learning. Wondering about some of the people frozen in the time warp he left as early as 1950 when the Korean Police Action gave him an inkling that The Great America, as great as he believed it was, and still believes, could be so easily fooled and misled. "At 69 & 11/12ths I do what I can to keep my eyes open....to look at everything with a measure of doubt. To question every day all things I believe. ETC ETC ETC. Rightousness is a bore."
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