“Want That!”

A middle-aged man pushes an elderly woman in a wheel chair. I am sitting on a bench, watching over Ellen’s seven-year old Golden Retriever, Callie.

“Can she pat him?” the man asks, smiling.

“Sure, but, watch out, she might take off an arm.”

The woman reaches out to the dog and pats the thick, wet-from-the-lake fur. She looks to be in her early seventies, dark-pink suntanned skin wrinkled and spotted.

She says something, but I can’t understand her. The son gestures above her head, making a strange set of hand and mouth gestures, with one quick eye roll, that he hopes describes her situation.

“She could be a therapy dog,” I tell the man, realizing as I say it that the remark has social problems. And what about that torn-off arm joke, anyway?

The woman is saying something, so I turn and look into her eyes and let her talk. I nod and smile but remain unable to interpret her mumbled words. It doesn’t really matter. She grabs hold of my wrist; I lean in. The son, eager to move on, lightly pulls away his mother’s hand. She resists as he pushes the wheelchair, literally putting her foot down.

“Have a good day,” he says to me, a slight frown on his face. Then, turning in her seat, reaching out, the woman springs clear of her mumbling haze. Declaring, clear as day, pointing to Callie:

“Want that!”

The man breaks into laughter. I want to see the look on his face, but mother and son have already moved on.



Main Street, Frankfort, MI