The above photo all began when I went out for a stroll post-lunch yesterday afternoon. I ate my lunch at my desk and longed to go outside, so I spent the lunch hour outdoors–all 60 minutes. The weather was too beautiful to give up. For my last stop, I reached this garden.
Here, I found peace and tranquility. Birds were chirping. Leaves softly swayed with the light breeze. A man sat on a bench to my far left looking into the distance with a bike parked in front of him. A lady far off to the right of me in the distance was chatting on the phone. Laughing noises down by the playground area. Behind me to the left was a nurse who had wheeled her patient out and tried getting her to do arm exercises with her. And lastly, down the center in the distance, was this man AND his dog.
I say AND because at first, I did not notice the dog. When I did, I felt compelled to walk over there.
And I did.
“May I (pet your dog)?”
“Go ahead. She’s very friendly.”
“Yeah?” *pets and smiles widely*
“Your nail color goes really well with her fur color!” (Nails are a bright orange.)
“Yeah, I painted them to pretty myself up for my sister’s college graduation which happened yesterday!”
“Oh really, which institution?”
“Oh that’s a good one.”
“I used to have a dog too…what’s her name?”
“Her name is Florrie.”
“How long have you had her?”
“We’ve had her for three years. We’ve had 43 years of Scottish Terriers. She’s a Scottish Terrier. They go after skunks and badgers. Look at their teeth…”
“Oh wow…she looks so harmless! 43 years of Scottish Terriers?!”
“Yeah, well with the exception of 11 years where it was on and off and in between our marriage…my wife asked if I wanted to live in a cottage in a small village in England. She found one. Every Fall/Winter, she’d go there. She’d stay here for Spring/Summer.”
*continues to pet and eyeball Florrie*
“Oh she loves you…you know, she’ll dash out if she sees skateboards and bikes.”
“I also run a happiness and kindness blog on the side for fun, would you mind participating?”
“What makes you feel most alive?”
“Independence. Like Florrie, you know. I don’t want a mindless obedient dog the way I don’t want a mindless obedient wife.”
I also learned the following:
- The interesting human being in the above photo whom I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with is named Ralph
- Ralph is a professor and teaches epidemiology and ethics research at New York University (NYU)
- Ralph has never owned a cell-phone in his life and doesn’t plan to ever own one either (also not big on Social Media, he asked “what is the purpose of Facebook?”)
- President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) had a black Scottish Terrier by the name ofFala whom he loved dearly. Fala followed Roosevelt everywhere and became part of his public image.
If you ever come across this, Ralph, thank you–for the chat–and for letting me play with, let me quote you, “Floraidh (pronounced as Florrie….an old Scottish name….so you had no chance of ‘getting it right!)”
Every person you meet can teach you something new. What is one thing you learned today?