Friday, October 16, 2009

Dad Meets Bart

I've mentioned before that my Dad is a cat person. He doesn't care for dogs. That's my Mom's phrasing. Don't say you don't like something, say you don't care for it. It's softer and more polite. So in my family you didn't not like creamed corn, but rather you didn't care for it. We were one big, happy, caring family I guess. Well, growing up we knew that Dad didn't like dogs. We believe this ties back to a negative experience in childhood, but he won't give us the details. Must be too painful. I would ask for a dog and we'd get a cat. That's just how it worked. Dad said cats were smarter than dogs. Remember Robert De Niro's character from Meet The Parents? That's my Dad.

One day, a stray dog started hanging around our house. Of course, the reason he was hanging around was because everyone but Dad was secretly feeding him. But he didn't know that. Mysteriously, this dog showed up every day. We all looked at each other and exclaimed out loud how strange it was that he kept coming back. Dad would come home from work and say "Get on outta here!", but there he'd be the next day. He became such a fixture, that he acquired a name: Bart.

Bart was an old mutt. A shaggy, long-haired, junkyard dog, of a mutt. He was the kind of dog you were endeared to immediately due to his completely pitiful state. Everyone loved our new dog. Everyone, it seemed but Dad, who referred to Bart as "that dawg",furrowed his brow, and narrowed his eyes whenever Bart walked by. Bart sure was courageous because despite Dad's body language he would still make an attempt at a relationship. He would nudge his shaggy head against Dad's hand showing him that he wasn't going to give up.

I had pretty much put Bart down for the count with Dad until one day I made a discovery. I heard a noise from the window that looked into our garage. It sounded like someone talking softly so I peeked out the window. It was Dad. Talking to....Bart?! Dad was talking sweetly, smiling, and petting his head. I couldn't believe my eyes! This whole time he'd been holding out on us! I tried to catch Dad in action several times, but he never would own up to it. He secretly liked Bart, he just had to keep the tough guy exterior. Dog's get to your heart you know?

Bart was only with us a month or two. He just didn't show up one day. I don't really know what happened to him. We were all heartbroken because of course we all thought we had a dog of our own. I think Dad was probably sad too, though he didn't show it. I learned a few things about Dad from Bart. Some of it I already knew, but some of it was new stuff.

So guess whose watching our dogs next week? That's right, Dad. Of course, he makes a big fuss and puts on a show, but secretly I think he's excited that they're coming to stay. Mom tells me so. Maybe Mom's phrasing on it was right. Dad doesn't care for dogs, he prefers cats. BUT, I no longer think he just doesn't like them either. We now know better.

P.S. I still don't like creamed corn.

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