A few weeks ago my family and I watched Marley & Me. It was sweet and innocuous (so the critics probably hated it).
And I admit. I fell victim to the sentiment (and produced a wellspring of saline). For me, the movie was endearing because:
1. I could enjoy having a dog in my living room without having hair all over my couch
2. It conjured up sweet n’ sour MEMORIES…
One fall day, in 1985, I was sitting in my college freshmen English class (one of my favorites). Waiting for the teacher to arrive, students were busy rummaging through backpacks and making small talk. Suddenly, the professor entered. All eyes turned to him, because:
1. he was handsome and had that effect on people
2. he was carrying a mysterious brown paper sack
And starving, homesick college students are mesmerized with brown paper sacks. Plus, I noticed an impish twinkle in the professor’s eye.
Quickly, the student’s chatter faded in eager anticipation.
Enjoying the student’s curiosity, the professor announced, “I have a gift for someone in this class.” A rumble of excitement spread through the room like the classic “wave” at a football game. Walking over to my row, the professor began to walk down the aisle.
My pulse quickened. Could he be headed to my desk? The only deliveries I had ever received were pizza...and warrants. Just kidding, mom. I had never experienced a public gift. I was never asked to a high school dance in front of the studentbody. Or proposed to on Oprah (of course I didn't have a serious boyfriend but that is beside the point).
The professor was a few steps closer to my desk. "Don't get your hopes up," I reassured myself. These kinds of things [unexpected, exciting] almost never happened to me. I quickly reviewed the date. Had I forgotten the day was my birthday? This kind of thing often happened to me.
No...it wasn't my birthday. Or any other holiday. Besides, I mused, "the contents of the brown paper sack were probably an extra-credit homework assignment."
The professor was beside me now and stopped. He gently set the bag down on MY desk and motioned for me to open it. All eyes were on me. And my eyes were riveted to the bag.
NEVER did I expect what I saw. I had not wished for this. And least of all expected it to arrive during a college class. It certainly had nothing to do with misplaced modifiers or dangling participles.
There, lying in the sack was a little blonde puppy. I loved him/her immediately. He/she loved me too and showed it by vomiting (an understandable reaction when seeing me for the first time). And he/she had just endured the puppy equivalent of being abducted, blindfolded and taken on a roller coaster ride.
The professor then leaned over and whispered, “you may leave class and take the dog home to get it settled.”
I felt like I had just won the lottery and practically skipped to the car. But don’t worry, I didn’t. I was sensitive to the doggy’s vertigo and my new role as doggy nurse.
“Home” was 2 ½ blocks west of campus. Of my own choice, I still lived with my parents and siblings. I walked in the door and was a little disappointed to find that mom was not home. Surprises not shared are stifled.
There was no puppy food waiting at home, no doggy bed, no toys. No big puppy "Welcome" sign. Yet, I was confident that my parents were excited for me and aware of OPERATION PUPPY.
I knew this because....
To be cont….