In a previous post, I mentioned the dogs that have accompanied me on this summer adventure with Smirkus. It’s been an honor and a privilege to live, travel and work with this community and the four dogs are an equal part of it. I have always talked to dogs and I’ve always thought that somewhere in their dog-minds, they can understand me, if not my words than my moods. I’ve maintained that it’s part of what makes them better than cats, but that’s a discussion for another time. My “conversations” have always been lacking in any kind of depth or mutual understanding.
It becomes a problem, however, when those conversations become two-sided.
It was morning and I had a headache. All I wanted was to drink coffee, read a book, and then take a nap. I wanted to do all of those things in that order. Sitting there, the only sounds came from the breeze and the rest of the site waking up slowly. The silence of the lot without a show was growing and I realized sitting there that I was going to miss this place.
Judy Gaeth’s lab, Gypsy, came onto the porch and greeted me with her usual “good-morning” wag. In June, Gypsy was the first friend I made at Smirkus.
“Que pasa, amigo?” she said, jabbing my elbow with her nose, petitioning for a pat. I obliged.
“Kinda tired,” I said slurping my coffee. “What’s up with you?”
“My usual. I’ve got an open schedule and I think there’s a squirrel around. It’s gonna be awesome.”
“Are you always this upbeat?”
“I’m a dog, dude. Life’s awesome.”
“If all you need to do is sleep and run around, I guess so.”
“Hey, don’t be bitter. It’s the 25th anniversary, right? How was the party?”
“Awesome. You missed out.”
“Nah, I had plans. Chew toys, etcetera. Who was there?”
“Everyone. Alumni, the board of directors, tour crew, year-round staff, friends, fans, you name it. It was at the Windswept Farm and the view was incredible. You could see almost forever. Amazing sunset”
Gypsy turned her head to scratch her chin with her paw.
“Mermin? Of course. The guy gave a great speech. He said, ‘My heart is so full I think it’s breaking. It’s leaking love.’ Something like that.”
“Yeah, the whole event was magical. Danielle Kehlmann and Jeanne Halal did an amazing job making it all happen. They worked their tails off.”
Gypsy turned and gave me a look. I corrected myself: “So to speak.”
“Great music, great food – it was easily one of the better parties I’ve been to.”
“Sounds like a good way to end it all.”
I nodded and looked down the driveway at the Big Top tent. Soon it would be cleaned and left to dry in the sun before being torn down and put away until next year. It was growing into a beautiful day in Vermont.
“And what time did you get to bed?”
“What, are you my mom?”
“Stop being so cranky, Johnson. Go take a nap.”
“Sorry, Gypsy. I guess I should.”
“Scratch my ear first?”
“YES. Perfect. Thanks, Evan.”
“Don’t mention it.”
Evan Johnson, Communications Intern