Next door to me lives a friendly fellow. He works a lot, has an old, chocolate Lab that waits in the driveway for him every day.
This old dog is one of those innocuous things in this world that, if you’re paying attention, can remind you that you’re not the only one living here.
I speak to this old dog often when I arrive home from work. He sits there, tail wagging slowly, just enjoying some company until his owner shows. Sentiment is not often my forte. I can be a bit of a blunt instrument. But this old soul that waits every day so patiently always steals my attention if I look his way.
I’m often awake early on Saturday mornings. The old dog’s owner is already at work early in the a.m.. I sometimes get up early myself, go and pick up breakfast. I always speak to the old dog, and he does his usual welcoming routine. But there’s an old man who must live a few blocks away who takes a long walk on Saturday mornings if it’s not too cold. If I see him, I wait before I leave to get breakfast.
See, he stops every time he walks and spends upwards of five to ten minutes with the old dog. He greets him, then simply scratches the dog behind the ears for as long as his old knees will let him kneel. It’s a nice moment. Sometimes I feel as though I’m intruding, and on those mornings, I crank my truck and I go about my own routine.
But it’s when the old dog sees the old man that gets to that sentimental part of me I’d just as soon keep private.
For a moment, the old legs are loose, limber and strong. The old dog jumps up at the sight of the man, spins around in several circles, like a much younger dog, barks, and finally drops low on his front legs and wags his tail furiously, as the old man approaches.
Then the old man greets the dog and you can almost see the old soul smiling while his ears are scratched.
Sometimes I get back home just as the old man is leaving. He waves at the old dog, which sits and wags his tail on the grass. The old dog turns, walks back to the driveway, and drops down again, waiting on his owner who’ll be home in no time.