Taking Aunt Susie and a little pup like me on a hike to Twin Falls wasn’t one of Mike’s best ideas. Too much uphill slogging for us girls! I saw a chipmunk; big deal. I was damn tired when we got back, and poor Aunt Susie needed two ibuprofen before getting on the flight home. On the other hand, a lot of strangers of various ages oogled me on the trail. One teenage boy kept pointing at me and saying, “That is one cute dog.” Can there still be any doubt?
We were finally on the way back, almost all the way down to river level, when two people with a tall, black poodle came uphill toward us. At an elbow at one of the switchbacks, Mike told me to lie down and stay until they passed us. I did pretty well for a while. Then Frenchy tried to tiptoe past, looking rather nervous and confused, if you ask me. I hopped up and started prancing around, trying to get him to play, but he froze. Mike quickly put me in another down stay. Frenchy’s female master admired my good behavior, and her husband apologized for their dog, saying he had “schmutz for brains.” Perhaps to prove it, he coaxed the poodle to walk under his spread-out legs. Again, what’s the big deal? I learned that trick in puppy kindergarten. “It’s his first dog, so he has to show off,” the wife explained.
After realizing Mike and Aunt Susie recognized her husband’s Yiddish idiom, she wanted to know where they were from. Apparently it’s not often that you run into other Jews wandering in the wilderness. Susie replied that she was from Syracuse, and that Mike was from Seattle. Volunteering the name of the congregation they attended, the woman asked Mike if had one. Mike shook his head. “We’re bad Jews,” he admitted. “A lost tribe.” At least he didn’t point out that he has a German dog to boot.
Frenchy’s father’s cellphone rang. He took it out of the pocket of his shorts with one hand just as he gave his dog a treat with the other. For a second I thought Frenchy was going to answer the phone–now, that would have impressed me, let me tell you. But no, Frenchy’s dad answered himself and immediately launched into animated conversation as the three of them continued up the forest trail toward Twin Falls. It must have been an important call.
Mike, Aunt Susie and I went downhill, back to the car. We never found a minion.