Walking the Dog #Musical Monday

The song I’m featuring today was used in the 1938 classic, Shall We Dance, starring Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. I recently learned about this movie while listening to a program on my local classical music station called Saturday Cinema. Before playing the song, the host explained that in the movie, when we hear the song, Ginger Rogers is walking her dog on the deck of a ship. She encounters Fred Astaire, and they start dancing. I’d heard this song before, and it brought back many pleasant memories of our family’s canine companions.

During the 1970’s when I was in high school, I often walked Clancy, our Irish setter. This was in the good old days before stricter leash laws were imposed. I walked down the street with Clancy prancing ahead of me, sniffing everything he saw. With my limited vision, I couldn’t tell what he was getting into, and at my age, I didn’t care, most of the time.

I avoided alleys altogether because I knew the smelly fish heads in which he loved to roll lurked there. Back then, it was unheard of to tell a dog to “leave it.” Clancy passed away while I was in college.

As an adult practicing music therapy in a nursing home, I often walked with my father and his Irish setter, Maud. One afternoon, we were passing the home of my supervisor, Arlis, when Maud, with no modesty whatsoever, relieved herself in the yard, just as Arlis was opening her front door. Not knowing how she felt about dogs, I wondered if I would lose my job. All my career training hadn’t prepared me for this.

To my surprise and relief, she smiled and greeted me as if nothing were wrong. I introduced her to Dad and Maud, and all seemed well. To be on the safe side, though, when I returned to work, I apologized, even though Maud wasn’t my dog. She just laughed. Apparently, she hadn’t noticed Maud watering her lawn.

Now, the only time I walk a dog is when I visit my brother in Jupiter, Florida. We walk Sammy and Max on their leashes the few blocks to a wildlife preserve near their home, then let them loose for some fun. The next time I go to Florida and engage in this quality sibling time activity, I imagine this piece will be going through my head. Enjoy!

 

 

By the way, from now until July 31st, you can download My Ideal Partner and The Red Dress absolutely free from Smashwords as part of its annual summer/winter sale. Click here to visit my Smashwords author page.

Also, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. Thank you for reading.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Four Ways a Dog Looks at Life (Poetry)

1.

 

I’m too outspoken

so I must wear a special collar

during the day while no one’s home.

When I alert the empty house, the collar

vibrates against my throat, feels weird. Sometimes, it’s uncomfortable,

causes me to whine when I speak my mind.

Life is “ruff.”

 

2.

 

“Turkey muffin, turkey muffin,” you squeak,

as my leash clicks into place.

What’s a turkey muffin, anyway?

It doesn’t sound nearly as appealing

as that rotten fish head in the alley.

Now, that’s what I want.

 

3.

 

Oh, you’re hungry.

You don’t live here

so you don’t know where anything is.

You can’t see very well, huh?

Well, how about some potato chips?

I know where they are, in the pantry.

Open this door–they’re right here on the floor.

Now, here’s one for you, five for me,

one for you, ten for me, one for you, twenty for me,

one for you, forty for me. Oh, the bag’s empty.

Just throw it away.

They’ll think you ate all the chips–ha ha.

 

4.

 

What’s that on the other side of the fence?

A white stick it is, rolling along the pavement.

A human pushes it.

I want to chase it

so I bark and bark and bark,

leap in the air many times,

try to fly over the fence.

I’m ignored–human and stick

walk and roll away.

***

I decided to write the above poem when I read Francesco Marciuliano’s book, I Could Chew on This: and Other Poems by Dogs. It was also inspired by my recent visit to Florida, where my brother has two dogs, and my experiences with other canine friends over the years. I wrote four poems but then combined them into one. Click this link to hear me read it.

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Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

Front Book Cover - We Shall OvercomeWe Shall Overcome

Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

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