Being of low stature and superior olfactory prowess, I find a lot of shit on the ground, literally and figuratively. Most of it is just flotsam in the sea of life, but every once in a while my nose leads to something of real value. A piece of ham sandwich, for example, or a half-eaten bag of oyster crackers. In fact, that’s the reason it’s always important to sniff the block between the park entrance and the bus stop. Bus riders seem to toss a disproportionate amount of food compared to the general population of park-goers. Maybe they think they’re doing their bit for wildlife, such as the park’s rabbits, raccoons and feral cats, as well as me.
But last week, within the span of a few days, my daily travels turned up two more significant items. First I dug an old baseball from under a bush on a street above the Ship Canal. The ball was stuck under some vines, but I could smell its sodden horsehide, and I clawed at it excitedly until I pried it free, grabbed it in my teeth and carried it all the way home. They actually let me keep it.
It’s not official Major League Baseball material, but it is a regular baseball, about the size of Wiffie, but a LOT heavier. It’s just small enough that I can get it into my mouth for gnawing, which I like. When it comes to chasing it around the house, however, Mike cannot toss it around like he does with Wiffie. This ball makes a big clunk when dropping from my mouth to the floor, which is just a couple of inches. When I roll it around myself in the dining room, downstairs it sounds like a bowling alley. Here’s a sampling of the action:
Mike normally laments me gnawing on something until I break it apart, but in this case, I think he would rather I stick to gnawing this ball instead of tossing it around until something breaks. Unlike those purple racquet balls, there’s no way I can chew this one into oblivion.
While he was OK with my baseball, Mike liked my next discovery even better. Remember, it was just a couple of weeks ago that I rescued a woman’s iPhone, so I must be getting good at scavenging. A couple of days after I found the ball, I led Mike to a wad of money. Well three bills, piled together and neatly folded into quarters, but wet, indicating they had been there a while, at the upper edge of the parade grounds, not far from the Discovery Park historic district’s flagpole. Since it wasn’t something I was interested in eating or even gnawing on, I let Mike pick up the soggy bills ($10, $5 and $1) and put them in his pocket for safe keeping until we add it to our annual donation to the park’s plant fund. I’m sure all of you thought Mike would just buy beer.