Page 15 - I Remember When

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D.P. and Winnie  7
her. D.P. did try once to teach her to drive and that might
explain why she never learned. His approach to instruc-
tion involved shouting, grabbing the steering wheel, and
stamping hard on the floorboard to simulate braking.
Winnie loved small children and pets. In the house
she had some common goldfish in a tank, and a complete
menagerie outside the house. She had somehow trained
the goldfish to come to her when she called and tapped
on the tank. Sometimes if she left the room before the
fish were ready to let her go they would hurl themselves
out of the tank onto the floor and attempt to follow her.
Usually she would turn around to say goodbye, see one
or more little fellows flopping after her, and be able to
make a rescue before it was too late.
Outdoors, she also had a bit of a following. Winnie
would take a seat in her favorite rocking chair on the
screened-in side porch. Soon some rabbits, a squirrel, a
blue jay or two would appear at the screen door begging
for attention. She kept them all fed and petted and they
reciprocated by keeping her company on warm, lonely
afternoons. Being stared at by various woodland crea-
tures that were outside the wire cage made it feel a bit
like being an exhibit in a reverse reality zoo.
Winnie’s all time favorite animal was Trixie, a fat,
white short-haired terrier who was her dear companion
for a long time. There was a certain animosity that D.P.
and I shared for that dog. In my heart, I despised Trixie
because Winnie had given my own dog Bimbo away
and substituted Trixie while I was at sleep-over camp.
Did she really think I wouldn’t notice the difference
between a big black lab and a yappy white terrier? D.P.
hated Trixie because he was jealous. He claimed Winnie