Google+ Badge

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Post # 40: Frank the Billy Goat?

We had two dogs buried in our back yard.  We had Katie, who loved to climb trees.  And we had Henry, our stealth dog who got into trouble in sneaky ways.  I think Frank was channeling both dogs.
One afternoon, early in June, I was outside grilling a steak for Wife and me.  PD started barking.  I thought PD and Frank were arguing over one of the toys.

I looked around to see what toy was being argued over.  I could see PD, but couldn’t find Frank.  PD was looking up at the trees, barking like he does when the squirrels are harassing him.  I noticed movement over the little hot-tub house in our backyard.  I looked up and found Frank scampering around on the roof!

I hollered for Wife to come out.  I told Wife to watch Frank while I got the ladder.  She was pretty sure she wouldn’t be able to catch him, but she agreed to watch Frank, anyway.

I grabbed the ladder and climbed up.  I called Frank to me.  I wasn’t even sure if Frank knew his name, yet.  I was both surprised and relieved when he came. 

I ran to the hardware store after supper to pick up a role of aluminum flashing and some screws.  Wife thought she knew which tree Frank had climbed.  I thought the climb was awful steep and guessed that it might be a different one with more of a slope.  When I got home, I began screwing the flashing in place around Wife’s tree so that Frank couldn’t get a toe-hold on the bark.  I covered the sharp edges with duct tape, since I was pretty sure Frank (Mr. Persistence) would probably continue to lunge at the tree and try to climb it.

As I stood back to inspect my work, PD started barking again.  Looked up, following PD’s gaze.  I guess you could call PD a tattle-tale.  Except that it was his barking a few years earlier that saved me from a deadly fall off the roof when he called Wife outside for me.  So I won’t call him a tattle – tale.  Instead, I think he just recognizes that some folk simply do not belong on tall objects.

In any event, I looked up, and there was Frank.  This time, Frank was walking across a narrow branch that hung about two feet above the roof of the hot-tub house.

I ran up the ladder and called Frank down.  I held my breath as he jumped off the limb and onto the roof.  He ran over to me and I brought him down again.

All of the trees in our backyard wore bright shiny aluminum collars before sunset.

We had bought a small house in Victoria as a place for me to stay when I was teaching.  The yard was tiny, but had a large tree.  I put an aluminum collar around that tree during my next visit.  Frank still thinks he is a Billy Goat, and I’m doing my best to convince him he’s a dog.

Did I mention he’s persistent?