The Most Natural of Events

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January 1, 2019 · Posted in Commentary 

 

By Katherine Hisako Glascock

[Katherine Hisako Fukami Glascock (August 31, 1940-October 15, 2017) was a musician, artist, and was best known as a landscape designer. She was married to Baylis Glascock, who we have featured previously on this website, for more than 50 years. In a May 22, 2003, article on her work in the Los Angeles Times, the paper’s garden specialist Emily Green wrote:

[“Katherine Glascock creates gardens that express the true nature of the land and the people who live there. No two are alike, but all bring together strength and elegance.”

[Baylis has made available to us several samples of Katherine’s writing. The first, “Finding Bambi,” written in the late 1990s, we featured in our October 1, 2018, postings.]

* * *

There is no reason on earth when love comes. It just does and it seems the most natural of events.

The messages were accumulating on the phone machine. I tried calling back my longtime friend with no success – leaving a chain of more messages. Late one evening I sat sewing on a dress for my daughter when an image of a dog appeared before me. It was clear while brief: black and brown with a white diamond shape on its chest, looking at me with brown eyes filled with canine wisdom.

Finally connecting by phone Jan said: “There is now in my house a very sweet dog who came to me during my usual walk with Petey and Rupert through the neighborhood. Nobody knows her; I asked around. She just crept out on her belly from under the bushes to me, sitting up asking to be taken home. What else could I do? She’s very quiet but terribly afraid of men. Has on a very heavy collar; probably was mistreated.”

Then I ventured, “Is she by any chance black and brown … with a white chest?”

There was a silence. “How … I didn’t tell you what she looks like.”

“Jan, the other night she came as a vision, an image. Really. I saw a black and brown dog with deep brown eyes and a white diamond on her chest.”

“Well, those are her colors. Absolutely,” she laughed. “Now you must come and see her and take her home.”

Because we were leaving for a two-week trip I asked her to do the things to find her rightful owner and we would check back upon our return. Better to not proceed until the field is clear.

I had put away my girlhood wishes for a dog for so long that I dared not open that door while we drove up the coast and visited friends and family. Yet the possibility of its happening began slowly stirring my hopes and to this day I can’t recall whether I mentioned anything to my spouse. He grew up on a farm and had no such unfulfilled yearnings as mine; in fact, livestock, chickens, cats and dogs, all figured as work and nuisances according to his usual telling. He raised a cranky curtain of resistance enough times to let me know we were constitutionally at odds on the subject.

Before him my father laid the foundation for obstacles of this type. While a child I was never allowed a pet larger than a fish or a parakeet. One summer night I placed a tiny kitten at the front entrance inside the screen door. Even in my hands it was small: a coal black furry triangle, its short tail rising to a point, a miniscule smudge which let out a modest meow.

Dad let out a bellow, a roar befitting a major insult: “Out of here! Take it right back!” I took the little kitten back in the dark seriously considering not ever returning home, but we had just moved into that neighborhood and I knew no one there. While I was away at college, he and my mother were owned and enchanted by their dogs, two in succession. Deprivation carved deep into my heart.

After our trip I checked with Jan: no responses to the search for Molly’s owners – Jan had given her the name.

“Why don’t you come over and meet her? Sarah will really like her she is such a good doggie.”

Somehow I managed to communicate something of our visit to spouse and the possible need for two adults in the car. He was duly grumpy; which memory as evidence clears me of having wielded subterfuge for this gateway/momentous event. The tension in the car was such that with my own mix of anticipation, joy held in check, with old rotten disappointment looming somewhere nearby, I was almost breathless.

At Jan’s house we all sat on the big carpet and waited to see how Molly would behave. She was a mixed border collie, black and brown. Fine feathers of black edged the tips of her erect ears and she wore a big white diamond on her chest. When she rose and walked feathers of her fine coat floated around her legs and tail. In spite of her deep fear of men she quietly approached us and rested her head on Sarah’s knee. As though for a long time intended. Somehow her choosing to join us, and selecting Sarah, was all that was needed to seal the deal for everyone.

With an old leash from Jan we all piled into our car and husband drove us home. There really was no discussion. I was speechless with happiness. Sarah and I with Molly, our first dog, were in the back seat and my heart was everywhere, skipping over and past old broken fences into new and better places. Molly was already beyond shyness, sitting between, then on us and looking out the window. The old arguments against pets were dragged out and murmured by husband at the wheel but the evidence itself, the happy dog in Sarah’s lap, was too vivid and real to quash with words.

Molly was immediately a part of us and alert to everything: her feet and toes on the path and in the house made new sounds. Her animal observance of the new setting, her acceptance of us as her family, happened easily and with only minor incidents. She quickly assessed the situation. By several month’s time she developed a calming influence upon the husband who would regularly go apoplectic at his computer. Her furry paw, her head upon the knee, the soulful look deep into his eyes, she had the technique and timing and used both ably.

On that first day I took her outside and showed her the back yard and she surveyed it quietly and with a certain dog-like dignity, at attention in every fiber. The sun was beginning to drop, her mealtime was approaching and we were unprepared.

Since we were in the midst of changing the course of our family history and, each of us taking on a new role, myself in particular, I was heady and afloat with no thoughts for practicalities. Looking back one could easily say, just take the car and buy some dog food. But the full presence of Molly in our kitchen, my kitchen, looking expectantly up at me, so new as to be a guest visitor to be pampered, made to feel special, welcome, impelled me to look elsewhere for a solution. This is our dog, my dog, who has come finally to stay: surely I can prepare something here and now without resorting to a hackneyed formula. Not ever having had a dog, not ever having purchased a single item known as dog food from a store, I looked in the refrig and began concocting Molly’s first meal: my own favorite quick dish reliable in an emergency. Chopped onion sautéed in butter, two eggs beaten with a splash of water, a half can of tuna drained, scrambled all together into a warm savory dish with a side of warm rice; to all of which I added a generous dollop of catsup. Whatever Molly thought or felt, she had the grace and appetite to appear content and happy as she ate her first meal.

Years later I found in his book The Kimono Mind, Bernard Rudofsky’s finding that rice is so prized in the Japanese culture that a fortunate family cat or dog would also be given her serving of rice in her bowl. Then, Molly’s veterinarian upon hearing of my peculiar tendencies advised me to eliminate the tuna and eggs, steering me along a more conventional path for her diet. To this moment I continue to marvel at Molly’s largesse in the presence of the personal needs and great happiness of her human.

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