John Eggers column: What I did on my summer vacation (by Simon)
This is what I did on my summer vacation. First of all I want you to know that I turned 1-year-old this August. I don’t know why my best friend didn’t give me a cake. Dogs like birthday parties, too. I especially enjoy eating the paper napkins left by the guests and the crumbs around the table. My best friend tells others I still act like a puppy. The truth is, I feel like I’m at least 7.
My biggest highlight of the summer was swimming. There is nothing more wonderful for a golden retriever to do than swim and swim and swim some more. What’s even more fun is when I come to shore and run towards my best friend’s friends and shake off all of the water. You ought to see them scatter. Of course, no one escapes me. I’m too fast. They all say, “Go away, Simon! Go away!”
At first I wasn’t sure what to think of the water. I walked carefully out into it and then I came back to shore and walked out again into deeper and deeper water. Then my best friend threw a stick out and I fetched it and then I had him try to catch me with it. When he was close, that’s when I shook off the water. I had the best fun ever.
My best friend kept throwing the stick farther and farther out into the water. That’s when I first had to swim. It didn’t seem hard at all. It came kind of natural. Now, I think if I had to, I could swim across the lake.
My best friend is trying to get me to dive off of the dock but I am not quite ready for that yet – maybe next summer. I do run and jump into the water from shore and make lots of splashes and scare all of the little fish away. They’re probably saying, “Go away, Simon. Go away.”
One time my best friend threw something into the water that sank. I looked and looked for it but I didn’t find it and I was sad because I hate to disappoint him. Finally my best friend’s daughter got a net and found it. What a relief. It was one of my favorite toys – the rubber end of a bathroom plunger.
What I don’t understand yet is when my friend is on the dock he has a long pole with a round thing on a piece of string that he throws into the water. For some reason he gets mad when I go out to fetch it. He says, “No, Simon. No, Simon. Leave it, Simon.”
We had lots of company this summer so I had lots of people to play with me. I love to run and bark and jump on them. Some like it and some don’t. I can’t quite figure that out either. My best friend says, “Down, Simon, Down, Simon.” I am not sure what that means. I think it means jump some more.
One time I followed one of the cars down the driveway and got in front of it and it kind of hit and bumped me. I ran back to the top of our porch and stood there. I didn’t feel so good. My best friends looked me over and saw that I had a few scrapes so they took me into town to see the doctor.
He poked me with something sharp that didn’t hurt too much. I was kind of sore for a few days. Guess what? I am kind of scared when cars come and go down our driveway. They sure are big. When cars leave, my best friend says, “Come, Simon, Come, Simon” and I come.
After I do my business on the lawn my best friend takes a shovel and scoops it up to throw in the weeds. I am so happy when he takes an interest in my business. I jump and jump all around to see what is on the shovel. When he throws it in the weeds I go chase it. I am trying to understand why my master doesn’t say “Good boy, Simon” when I do that. Maybe I will learn why next summer.
What I learned the most is that the food my best friends eat tastes better than the food I eat. I mean, it tastes a lot better. Now, if my best friend lets me, I sit right by the table and watch and watch everything he eats. Sometimes I will put my nose right on the table. Best friend says, “Simon, go away, go away.” Usually, I get something or something will fall and I get it before he gets it. I’m just too fast. If I’m lucky, a napkin will drop and it tastes the best.
I did lots more this summer. I chased the little chipmunks. They’re a lot faster than I am. I went for rides inside the truck to the dump. I also went on the pontoon boat out into the lake. Sometimes I just lay in the cool grass under a tree and watched the birds and butterflies and dragonflies. I think that’s what summers are for.
Well, that’s about it. It was a good, good summer but there is still time to take a little swim. I wonder if my best friend wants to get wet. I like to hear him say, “Go away, Simon. Go away.” I think it means get closer.
JOHN R. EGGERS of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.