In second and third grade there was a friend of mine, to this day remains the truest and best of friends, at least in memory.
As a young boy of the early 60s, I was forever outside at every chance. Unlike kids of today. Playing Army, building forts in the woods, riding bikes, roller-skating. I had many friends living in a middle class suburb of Seattle, the homes in my neighborhood distinctly different in style. Unlike the cookie-cutter style throughout the United States today.
As like these latter homes, so were the kids I played with, albeit one friend. Her name was Heidi. She was of German heritage and a few years younger than I. We got along famously! She was always amiable to my ideas of fun. When others were not to be found for various reasons, I could count on Heidi.
Most Saturdays, after breakfast and my assigned chores that my momma insisted be done before heading outside, I would set off to find Heidi. She always beat me outside! And was waiting for me.
A lot of times, during spring and summer, we would head down the steep-sloped hill that we lived on, cross the street to a somewhat swamp basin that caught the rain from the sloping hills all around the area.
The tadpoles, frogs were much amusement; catching tadpoles to keep in jars. While I was somewhat careful as not to get my Ked’s too muddy, Heidi seemed not to care. Her focus was locating frogs, her feet and ankles covered with mud.
Somewhat, I now sadly regret times I forbore her company when the boys my age came around to ride bike. Oh, she kept up all right, but I would tell her to go away! She was interfering with my fun with the other boys. She never seemed to hold this against me, as a good friend, she always forgave and forgot.
Afternoons in the summers of Seattle are glorious. Never too hot, cloudy most times, but the days that blue skies prevailed were a perfect fit with the emerald state.
I would often eat lunch outside on the deck off the kitchen, sitting on the bench with my PB&J, chips and Kool-Aid, and share my lunch with Heidi; she was always up for PB&J. My favorite picture is of her and I, me kneeling with my arm around her for she was much shorter than I.
We had a plum tree in the backyard that when in season produced tasty snacks and Heidi and I would each have one, though her favorite were apples. My momma would core and quarter them for me and of course Heidi got half.
In the corner of our fenced backyard we had a tall mature fir tree perfect for a young boy to climb. Heidi wasn’t a good tree climber, so she would wait patiently as I would explore its heights from time to time. She was a good fence climber, though! The 6-foot privacy fence that surrounded the backyard, which my daddy built, was but a small leap and shinny over for her. She was athletic to be sure; much faster than I. Probably the German heritage.
When the thirst demanded reprieve from much activity, we headed to the deck for a glass of juice or water. Heidi seemed to get water everywhere; slurping and looking up at me with water dripping from her mouth, licking the water with her long red tongue from her hairy nose.
As you have all ready guessed, Heidi was a German Sheppard, small in stature even for a female Sheppard; our family dog. But she was mine. My companion. She slept with me on my bed, even pushing me to the outer most edge while she pushed her legs against the wall to get most comfortable. But to m that was fine. Heidi was ther with me. Heidi consoled me in the dark of night.
TO BE CONTINUED…