Meadow, the Bagpiper and the Toddler

Some evening strolls are full of pleasant surprises.

Meadow and I wander over to Juanita Beach Park in the early evening. It's finally cool enough to be comfortable for her. Maia was invited, as always, but elects to stay home. At her advanced age, she seems to be easing into an every-other-day schedule, and that's okay.

At the nearby old folks home, I spy Jim, who I've written about before in this blog. This evening, he's using a walker rather than his wheelchair, making a beeline for the upscale restaurant across the street. For some reason, I get the sense that he's late for a date. He's a charming, flirtatious guy. I wave at him; he waves back but doesn't break stride. He's on a mission.

Getting close to the park, I hear bagpipes playing. It's beautiful, flowing on the gentle evening breeze. And unexpected; it's just another weekday evening with no concert or other event going on. I've always been intrigued with the bagpipe and love its unique sound. Maybe someday I'll learn to play one. I encourage Meadow along toward the music; I want to see who's playing and why.

Crossing the street into the Park, I see a man standing alone on the grass among some big trees near the parking lot, playing his bagpipe. He finishes a song and takes a break. I approach with Meadow. I tell him I'm enjoying his impromptu concert. He doesn't hear me - he's got earplugs in! He pulls one out, and I repeat that I'm enjoying listening to him. He thanks me for the compliment.

Meadow meets Mike the bagpiper.

I discover that Mike is part of a Firefighters Pipe and Drum corps. They play at funerals for firefighters and police officers, as well as other ceremonies and sometimes at parades - like on St Patrick's Day. He's been playing for two years, having taken lessons from another member of the corps.

Mike and his family have an Aussie. We briefly talk dogs. I promise to email a copy of the photo to him. Parting, Meadow and I meander around the park to the soothing notes of the bagpipe as Mike resumes his practice.

Finishing our circuit of the park, Meadow and I head home by going through Juanita Village. It's one of those evenings - we're stopped every few feet by someone wanting to meet Meadow. I so enjoy these random "I love your dog!" encounters.

I see a woman approaching, pushing a toddler in a stroller while talking on her phone. She sees us and smiles. As we get close, I hear her tell the person she's talking to that she has to hang up, there's a really neat dog. She stops right in front of us. As her son stretches his pudgy little hand toward Meadow the woman also reaches for Meadow's fluffy head and asks if they can pet her. 

"Of course!" I say. I encourage Meadow to sniff the toddler's hand. She does, and the mom tells her son, "Kiss the doggie!" The toddler leans over the tray on his stroller, moving his head toward Meadow, who moves her nose toward him, and...the boy gently opens his mouth and licks the tip of Meadow's nose! The mom laughs along with me, and only then do I think to get my phone/camera out. Too late for the licking shot, but I get some others.

Mom tries to get son to kiss Meadow again, but he and Meadow are too embarrassed by such public displays of affection to do a repeat for the camera.

I move around to the other side of the stroller, hoping for a better shot. I drop Meadow's leash and tell her to stay. The toddler is much more interested in the leash than Meadow.

So I go back to that side, and hand him the leash.

He loves this development, yanking the leash up and down. "Giddy-up!" mom says. 
Rebecca WallickComment