My friend Michael Povey has some thoughts about grumpiness at his blog Povey Prattle. I know I was grumpy this past week. Grumpy when a bureaucrat at Social Security demanded another document before I could start collecting benefits. Grumpy when I received the second call about how satisfied I was with the service department at the local Toyota dealership - I was very satisfied - and the caller couldn't accept that I didn't want to talk with her. I get grumpy and I am very thankful for Michael's gentle prodding that got me to think about something that happened today that got me very tired and cold, but not at all grumpy.
This morning I took our family's eight-month old black lab Scout for a walk in Ravenswood Park in Gloucester. The 600 acre park is one of those owned and maintained by The Trustees of Reservations. According to someone I met on a previous visit, the donor of the land stipulated that it be maintained as a place where dogs could run free. An eight-month old black lab needs a place to run free and that she did this morning.
When we arrived, I saw a man with two dogs a short way up the road in the woods. Scout, after the obligatory sniffing around the area, bounded up the road to meet the dogs and the man. He patted her, made a comment about what a nice dog she was, assured me that his two were very good with other dogs, and then we were off walking. I lagged a bit behind, not quite up to his pace, but also quite sure that he hadn't come to the woods to chat with me, just as I hadn't come for a long talk, but for a long quiet walk. For the next half-hour or so we walked, the dogs racing ahead and then coming back and then wandering off the road for a bit to sniff out something interesting. I lagged even farther back as we walked, but Scout kept stopping and looking back to be sure that I was still with her. As we reached the end of the circuit we had taken and approached the parking lot and the road beyond, the man stopped and petted Scout again and held her collar until I could put her back on the leash. He told me that there had been some dogs hurt as they raced out of the park and into the road and that he always stopped with his dogs a few feet short of the parking lot. I thanked him and we parted.
I never got his name, but I am thankful for his part in this very ungrumpy adventure. I probably would not have taken as long a walk if I hadn't sensed that there was no chance of getting Scout to go anywhere but where the other dogs were going. I am also very thankful for The Trustees and for the donor of Ravenswood Park, Samuel E. Sawyer, for providing just the place for me to get over being grumpy.