8th: At play and at fire it is good manners to give place to the last comer, and affect not to speak louder than ordinary.
A DAVIS HAPPENING
31 August 2004
Davis is a town that lets no event go un-celebrated.
I have not participated in a lot of these happenings. I've always been sorry that when the new freeway overpass and toad tunnel opened, I didn't go with Walt to the big to-do, with bands and streamers and hoopla. We know how to party in this town.
But when I learned on Saturday that there was going to be an official Dog Park Dedication on Sunday, complete with city council members in attendance, I knew I had to be there.
The problem was the happening in Berkeley, 80 miles away, taking place the same day. But we figured we could arrive in Berkeley by noon, visit and eat barbeque, and get home by 5, when the park dedication was scheduled.
We had not planned on car trouble, of course, but in the end we were able to get home shortly before 5. We did not, however, want to drive to the dog park, afraid that we'd end up with a dead car down there, so we walked.
Now while it had been downright cold in Berkeley, it was 99° in the shade of our carport thermometer when we arrived home. I was definitely not dressed for heat, but we got Sheila and headed down to the dog park anyway. It's not far--about half a mile.
The air had that stillness that it gets on hot days, when nothing moves and you gradually become aware that you are the only idiot out walking when the sun shining down on you reaches triple digits.
The dog park is situated past the pool, past the picnic area, behind a little hillock, so you have to practically be there before you actually see it. We were getting concerned as we walked through the park because there wasn't another soul to be seen--just we two idiots walking the dog in the hot sun. Even Sheila, who usually gets very excited when we get to the park, had a look of disbelief that we would expect her to walk in this heat.
Walt offered to go on ahead to make sure that there really was something happening, but I told him that even if there was nothing, Sheila would expect to run around for a bit, and so we continued to trudge (Well, they walked, by this time, I was trudging).
We we rounded the last hillock, there it was. There was indeed a dedication. Balloons, people, propaganda tables, and dogs. Lots and lots and lots of dogs.
And more people came as the time passed. At one point I counted 17 dogs and then so many more came that, with everybody in constant motion, I couldn't possibly count them. Mostly they stayed by the fence, where the owners were hanging out trying to get a bit of shade, so I never could get a good "mass of dogs" photo.
Some dogs even came dressed up for the event.
Because this was a Davis event, and because What To Do About Dogs has been such a hot issue in town (some towns argue about what to do about the homeless, or how to improve the schools or whether or not to repave roads; we argue about dogs), there were petitions to sign, and lots of conversations about who is plotting to destroy the dog parks, etc.
There were free samples of natural dog treats (doggie hummus), and places to sign up for training and agility classes, and t-shirts for sale.
The dogs didn't care, of course. They were just eager to see who the new kids were that were coming to play.
Sheila, oddly enough, didn't play all that much. She seemed overwhelmed by the sheer number of buddies around her until someone arrived with a squeak toy and she took that over and just lay in the grass squeaking it.
There were, of course, speeches. And promises of bigger and better dog parks. Dog parks everywhere throughout the city. A virtual cornucopia of dog parks. We all applauded.
Then it was time to throw out the ceremonial balls. The mayor and three members of the city council each had a tennis ball and there were four dogs chosen to chase them. I can't believe that the organizer actually said "we'll have these four dogs chase the balls and the other dogs can stand aside." Yeah. Right. So the balls were tossed and all the dogs chased them, but it was just fun.
We finally decided that we'd had enough partying and trudged on home again. By this time I had been standing or walking most of the day, what with having to walk home from the dog park in the morning when the car wouldn't start, not being able to sit at the barbecue, and this walk to the dog park. My body was really starting to complain. The knee felt like it had a tight wire wound around it and I just longed for a transporter so I wouldn't have to walk the half mile back home again in the heat.
But I'm glad that we went. I collapsed when we got home again and was asleep before the Olympics closing ceremonies had hardly begun. I'd already had enough partying for one day. The Greeks would have to celebrate without me.