verge (vʉrj)
the edge, brink, or margin (of something): also used figuratively the verge of the forest, on the verge of hysteria

to tend or incline (to or toward)
to be in the process of change or transition into something else; pass gradually (into) dawn verging into daylight

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Penny for Your Thoughts

This is Penny.   She's an old girl who carries herself with dignity and elegance.  But there's something else there. She's got a story, I can tell. Yes indeed, I'm highly suspicious of this old girl. Her manners are impeccable, yet I'm convinced she skated on Roller Derby back in the day.  Take her to the Ritz and she knows what all the forks are for and how to properly sip soup, and she can also say that whole Rain in Spain thing, but look more closely. She also has that "Been Around the Block a Few Times" look in her eye that hints at days of chain smoking, shots of scotch, and motorcycle riding. Somewhere under that coat is a tatoo that says Bubbles. Clearly she's been banged up and burned out a few times--her fur is matted and she's got a constant tremor in her hind end (probably nerve damage from one too many body slams against the boards).  But it's also clear from her expression that she has put that life behind her and isn't impressed about much except the day's weather and what you might have in your pocket for her.  Talk with her a bit about the state of the world and the latest in designer dog production and she just sighs, shakes her head, and murmurs 'yeah, yeah, yeah....'.

I don't know her in a formal sense but during my visits with Reilly, Penny can always be found hanging out on the street, or, like the other day, sleeping on Reilly's front stoop.  I thought she was waiting for Reilly but then I realized she was actually waiting for me. As I've gotten to know her through these more informal terms, we chat about the weather or the dampness of the grass or the abundance of worms on the driveway.  I have not met her family--she seems to have free reign of the streets but I can see how they trust her and don't worry too much.  Penny would probably ignore whatever curfews are issued anyhow.

I am particularly fond of her.  For most of my life I've kept a small Steiff airedale on my bureau.  I think my grandfather gave it to me. When I see Penny it's as though my Steiff has come to life and so it feels as though we have known each other for many years.  I like to believe this kind of thing is true.  So I eagerly talk with her and catch her up on my latest news. She'll listen and occasionally have a few comments. And using this familiarity in the way I approach her, I am pretty sure I know what she really, really wants. With a hushed and raspy voice, she'll mumble something about a whiskey and a smoke, but what she truly wants is a cookie.  And it would be so lovely if it could be served it on a plate.  Yes, that's what Penny wants--a little cookie, and a little respect. Please, and thank you very much.


  1. For those of us who are unaware of what a 'Steiff airedale' is, the first part of the last paragraph was a bit unnerving. Still, I'm only assuming it's a stuffed toy and not a very small, extremely long-lived breed of airedale...

  2. Oh my! Yes--I can see how that happened! Yes, a Steiff is a brand of stuffed animals, not an actual real dog that has been stuffed and kept on my bureau. Glad to have cleared that up!