Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Living Pom-Pom

Standing with my father, I watched - as did he - the massive creature barreling out of the field.  

Piles of black and white rising and falling, with each heaving leap and bound.   An enormous living pom-pom {?} was headed our way?! 

I could feel the blood drain from my body... {Dear Lord, there was a face amidst the galloping mass?}  My heart raced and the skin on my chest was now tingling from the confused blood flow... {And a tongue?  Was that a tongue?!}  I moved quickly to my father’s side.

We were here to help the farmer down the road from The Old Place, Bomsey.  {Though at the moment no task mattered...}  Bomsey was also watching this event unfold... and was seemingly unfazed.  

Dad let out a laugh, “Would you look at that?!”  {Uh, yeah Dad... I’m looking!?   Actually, I can’t stop looking... I’d be running if there was somewhere to run to... and that’s assuming my legs would stop wobbling long enough to be functional...}
Bomsey saw me peeking out from behind my fathers legs and chuckled.  As the giant pom-pom mop creature got closer, it - thankfully - slowed its pace.  Those once wildly airborne piles turned out to be hair, attached to what now presented as a dog... Bomsey’s dog.  The dog that went with the farm... the good-natured, curiously shaggy, insanely large, family pet.  
{That’ll be Mr. Pom-Pom to you!}

I had never seen such a shape-shifting phenomenon in action, and I was thankful that the intimidating appearance had settled.  Make no mistake, this was still a big dog... but nowhere near the size he portrayed while in mid-run.  Mounds of Rastafarian style dreadlocks twisted, forming ringlets that hung heavily, like an overgrown mop coat, ALL over his body.  

Bomsey, well aware of the anomaly, was ready to explain, “We have such a problem keeping the cows safe, that we got ‘Mr. Pom-Pom.’  He is actually an Old English Sheepdog, but works great at keeping the fox and big cats from getting to my cows.”  He leaned over and lifted tufts of dreadlocks off Mr. Pom-Pom’s eyes revealing a happily panting puppy face, “With all this matted hair it is really hard - actually impossible - for anything to be able to bite him.”  Mr. Pom-Pom sauntered towards my Dad, as Bomsey continued, “They have to get through all that hair first. On top of that, when he runs he looks really big and intimidating... nothing sticks around long enough to find out what he is.”  {Uh, ya think?!}

Dad laughed at the oddity, reaching down to pet and feel the masses... as I continued to resort to the behavior of my younger years, still hiding behind the safety of my fathers body.  It took me a while to wrap my mind around the notion that this ‘dog’ was not going to tear me apart... just seconds ago he was intimidating beyond capacity... no way anything could transform that quickly into a family pet. 

I looked to the fields, at the mooing cows in the distance, “How are they not afraid?”  Bomsey smiled, “They know.  He’s there to protect them.  They’ve learned that he is not the one to be afraid of.”

Dad lifted the piles off his back, showing me the dog inside the moppy coat.  Mr. Pom-Pom pranced around his legs, enjoying every pet.  I reached out and felt a handful of mop, trying as my father did to get to the dog beneath.  Bomsey was right!  Should something attempt to bite him, they would ne’er get through.  It was a virtual furry coat of armor. 

Dad and Bomsey moved onto the next faze of their conversation...  I stayed stuck, watching every move Mr. Pom-Pom made.  My fixated trance was broken when Dad let out a yell... half in pain... half in aggravation.  My attention was drawn from the dog to Dad... who was now stuck himself... to a nail.  Lifting his foot off the ground, a hefty plank of wood followed his every move.  Firmly attached, the nail went through his shoe and his foot.  Bomsey had to stand on the length of the plank, as Dad - with a wince - yanked his flesh free.  {Geez Louise!  I have had just about enough!?}

The offending plank thrown to the side... a brief shoe damage inspection took place, “Would you look at that!?”   He pointed out - annoyed - the hole the nail had left in his good work boot’s... {Uh, yeah Dad... I’m looking!?  Actually, I can’t stop looking...}

The flesh inspection waited till evening.  Too much 'manly' work to do for now...  

That night, sitting in the back room of The Old Place, Dad carefully cleaned the two holes in his foot.  Yup, I said two - one on the bottom of his foot, one on the top.  Aw heck!  Nothing a good soak with peroxide, an updated tetanus shot, and a please-don’t-let-it-get-infected prayer can’t handle...

"So... What did you think of Bomsey's dog?"

Looking at his foot, I thought about the events of the day... "I think it's too bad you didn't have some of that protective coat for your foot!"
I can't help but think ~ if Cousin It had a dog... ;)

"Ha!  Yeah, that would have been nice...."

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