My Take

August 8, 2017

“Palmer’s First (and last) Pet Parade”
The Writer Magazine is sponsoring a contest to see who can write the best “micro-memoir.” A micro-memoir has to be limited to no more than 200 words. I’ve been accused of not being able to yell fire in 200 words. But I decided to enter anyway. Three hours later, I finished my little memoir of 196 words. I’ve written complete chapters in less time.
The subject of the memoir had to be an object that triggered an emotion. I had to look no further than Palmer’s box of stuffed toys. Palmer was our Jack Russell terrier, who passed away back in 2012.
I picked out a stuffed mallard duck as the subject of my micro-memoir. I will include it in a future column, since the contest stipulates the piece has to be unpublished.
There must be over a hundred stuffed toys in his box, and we just don’t have the heart to throw them away. I’m sure the Humane Society would love to have them. But Palmer was very possessive of his things, and would surely turn over in his urn if we gave his toys away. Never mind that he only played with most of them once or twice.
Jack Russells have a very short attention span when it comes to chewing on their toys. Chewing on things they shouldn’t chew on, though, is a whole ‘nother matter. When we weren’t at home, Palmer would spend hours chewing on Chippendale chair legs, Martha Stewart comforters and Cole Hahn loafers.
He lived 15 ½ years, and each toy brings back a memory or two. The green and red rubber ornament revives thoughts of his favorite holiday. He loved to tear into Christmas gifts; his own, and anyone else’s he could get his paws on. Easter was special to him, as well. He knew he would end up with a dyed egg or two, peeled and sprinkled over his gourmet dog food.
The Independence Day stuffed dog bone (made in China) brought back memories of a particular July 4th celebration, which was almost Palmer’s last hurrah. That was the Fourth we decided to enter him in Pinehurst’s annual pet parade.
Sporting an Uncle Sam hat (made in China), he strutted down the street with 20 or 30 other dogs of all shapes and sizes, not to mention a pot-bellied pig and a cat or two.
It was brutally hot that day and Palmer became seriously overheated. A shade tree and a bottle of water later slowed down the panting.
He lived to see another day. But it was the last time he ever strutted his stuff in a pet parade.
Raymond Reid can be contacted at rreid7@triad.rr.com.

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