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

Monday, December 7, 2009

Prelude Pride

I'm not sure how I feel about this.  I am just back from my first Kennebunkport Prelude.  I was in the best of company--5 of the smartest, sexiest, and most sophisticated women I know.  Maine sizzled from the moment we crossed over the Pisquata until the moment we crossed back, no doubt.  But while I was made to feel welcome by the locals and shop keepers, I worried a little about a group that was under-represented.  

Prelude is a weekend extravaganza to welcome in the Christmas season.  Not holiday mind you, but Christmas.  There's a spectacular tree lighting.  Streets are closed to traffic.  There are fairs, food fests, elves, Santas, and people dressed in red and green sparkles with Christmasy doodads on their coats and bags.  There are chestnuts roasting on open fires while Jack Frost nips at your toes. The weekend culminates with the famous Hat Parade, a splashy hoo-ha where hundreds of jolly Xmas-uals march in outrageous costumes, hats and paraphernalia. You could call it Christmas Pride.

But imagine my dismay when on the first morning out, we came across this sign:

I was mortified.  Right here--posted smack dab in the middle of the post office door--was this sign!  If it had said No Dogs, Cats, Horses, Sheep, Pigs, Goats or Cows, I might have felt less shame.  But it just said No Dogs.  No dogs. Horrors. What kind of place was this?  And how did I get here? Once I was able to catch my breath I decided I would proceed onward.  Surely this sign was a mistake and not representative of the whole dang town.

We were quickly swept up by the Christmas razzle dazzle and enjoying our stroll when I became aware that actually, there weren't many dogs.  The more I looked, the more scarce the sightings.  Maybe one here or there, but mostly the streets were eerily devoid of four-leggeds.  I became more anxious.  I began to sweat.  I raced to the pet shops--two of them--to find some sign of doggy diversity.  At last!  I found a pair of beagles--a brother and sister--who were being suited up and made to look like--yup, you guessed it--a couple of yule tide dogs.

Now I didn't get the feeling Brother Beagle was too thrilled with the red snowflake rig his mom was making him wear.  He seemed to be blushing with embarrassment.  And to make matters worse, his sister was wearing a matching outfit. Yes, that's right.  Matching.  Brother and sister. Like, yuck. Though Sister seemed to be more willing to cooperate, I couldn't help but feel apologetic for their predicament.

And then after spotting the twin beagle yule dogs, along came a solo boy dressed as a reindeer. He was practically sobbing in his water bowl. And of course, in this town of mostly Christmas two-leggeds, dogs in drag get all KINDS of attention. I thought of the post office.  I looked at the spectacle before me.  I now understood.  This was not a fun place or a fun time for a dog. Hummmph.

Humbled by a new awareness, we went on to the rest of the festivities.  Being a two-legged, I felt quite welcome and accepted.  I knew I could walk in to any shop, restaurant, or post office with no worries.  I had The Look.  I shopped and I dropped.  I communed with the cool coffee crowd at the crowded cafe.  I oohed and awed the tree lighting.  I braved the infamous foot bridge through town and I payed homage to the lobster pot tree.  Hell, even with chattering teeth, I admitted the snowfall was pretty. And it was...

And then one of the five from the team of Smart, Sexy, and Sophisticated--let's call her Pam-- came up with a brilliant but daring idea.  Instead of  standing idle in the face of such dog gone inequity, we would join ranks and march in the grand hoo-ha parade.  That's right.  We would march for dogs everywhere.  We would march to end the post office ban on non-seeing eye dogs.  We would march for dog dignity.  We would march for dog nation. We would end this dogscrimination.

With that, we donned our marching hats and began our walk.
Crowds gathered and cheered.  We waved, they praised. From one end of town to the other, we turned heads and changed hearts.  [We also froze our asses off.] Using our two-legged power, we worked for change for our four-leggeds friends.  We know it worked.  As we were heading out of town the next day, we drove to the beach and looked towards the sea.  There, running along the sand, free and unfettered, were dogs.  Beautiful dogs. Dogs, as dogs. Big ones, little ones, fat ones, skinny ones.  They were chasing balls and sharing them. They were kissing the waves on the water's edge. They were smiling with pride. They were welcome, and they were very happy.

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