The other day I revealed my first experience in Kennebunkport, Me., and the happenstance of finding a beach next to the Bush compound by the light of the moon and - it would seem - the seat of my pants. Today I will tell you the second part of the three-part saga: The first time I took my then-boyfriend's (and-much-later-husband’s) dog to the beach ... alone.
Now mind you (and Jed would disagree with me about this) his dog got a little strange when we all started dating.
We had each brought a dog to the relationship (Maggie was his and Maddy was mine). And aside from the certain economy of their names --they both answered to either Maggie OR Maddy whenever their selective hearing acknowledged being called – after a brief time residing in the same house the canine pair formed a pack.
His dog, Maggie, even became a little dog aggressive. That’s not to say that she ever BIT another animal, but she did scare many-a-people at the other end of the leash who were thinking that she might. My dog, Madeline, who had previously been a coward in the presence of stranger dogs, now took a cue from her older and wiser compatriot and barked heartily at their presence out in the world.
Of course this new gang we formed – one that no longer acquiesced to the whims of its founders - barked at everything that moved. Sometimes with an insistence on stampeding towards other dogs with the force of a herd of wild boar, sending terror into the hearts of all involved.
You may see where this is going ...
Jed and I were in his hometown on a the new girlfriend tour: I was being introduced to his boyhood friends. During one portion of the weekend he was busy slowing down his friends’ golf game by agreeing to play while I had decided to take both our dogs to the beach. How bad could it be? They weren’t bad dogs.
And the day was beautiful. It was 7 a.m. and the beach was mostly empty. I had stopped at a bakery on Chase Hill and gotten myself a cup of coffee to hold in the hand that wasn’t holding dog fecal matter … (WHY DO WE DO THIS? Insist on drinking coffee on the beach when inevitably ONE if not BOTH dogs will squat and leave a present that will need to be scooped up and carried for the remainder of the walk?)
... I digress ...
The dogs were happily playing in the surf and fetching tennis balls and sticks I threw for them.
There, in the distance.
Very, very far into the distance.
Almost on the other side of the beach.
Was a familiar something.
A Q-tip person: White-haired and regal, walking a boneless spaniel and flanked by two men wearing dark green windbreakers.
I knew the green men were protecting the little white-tipped dot, and the dot was walking a "Millie" clone.
And then ... Maggie RAN.
I grabbed Maddy’s collar - lest she get any ideas about collusion - and watched as Maggie got farther from me and closer to the white dot. She seemed to be a black bullet; getting faster and faster and lower and lower to the ground as she zoomed toward the former first lady’s morning constitutional entourage.
My body was frozen but my mind reeled with panic.
And then, at the very second, just feet away from her target, Maggie stopped short, sniffed a little sniff and turned around. She loped back to me as if nothing had happened.
I felt faint.
When we finally passed each other a few moments later, Barbara (as I thought of her but would likely bumble for "your majesty" if I tried to actually speak) turned in my direction, smiled and gave me a little wink. Her wordless reassurance didn’t really help me calm down, though.
In fact, I still kind of feel like throwing up.