Past the second story Beagle, down the street to the Greyhound that inexplicably turned into two terriers a couple weeks ago, take a left at the German Shorthaired Pointer, then it’s a twenty minute walk to the blue merle Great Dane. From there, we can either march resolutely all the way to the twin Afghan hounds or backtrack to the ancient Bloodhound. I like the Bloodhound best ’cause he’s so hapless–doesn’t seem to have a sense of smell any longer, and he also looks pretty blind. A good-natured soul, though. I imagine not much bothers him anymore.
A light, cold rain begins to fall and Sam, my feral desert dog of indeterminate descent, looks at me suspiciously. She really dislikes rain and, I believe, blames the icy droplets that make her ears twitch on me. That’s what her expression says, anyway. I guess it is my fault that she’s outside in a place that is so very unlike the desert. Visiting our dog friends isn’t worth the trauma of a New Orleans water torture to Sam. Glowing Christmas lights and Spanish moss draped around the mansions lining St. Charles Ave. do nothing to cheer her up, but when we get home and I tell seven year old Bodhi that he and I have a beautiful Christmas walk to take together, his eyes widen and shine.
Like my friend Clark’s when he got a job a few days ago. His eyes were literally shining. This job was a surprise, early Christmas present for Clark. It means that he no longer has to ask for handouts, that he has a reason to get up every morning, that he can count on his bed at the Salvation Army to be waiting for him every night because he can pay for it. “You’re still gonna eat the muffins I bake though, right?” I asked and he promised he’d stop by for some. Though I imagine he can afford better fare than Mystery Muffins now.
“Christmas is coming?!” squeals Bodhi when I tell him about the twinkling lights running the length of St. Charles. “When?!”
“Soon,” I answer.
“Well…what didja think we got that Christmas tree for?”
“So that you could have a friend!” he says, straight faced.
A Christmas tree is a good friend, I guess. So’s Clark. And a dozen dogs whose names I don’t know. And Sam. Angry Sam. And a little seven year old boy who’s willing to brave raindrops for a Christmas walk, in whose eyes I can see reflected light, light and more light.