Among modern day film buffs, “You shall not pass” is one of the more popular movie line quotes. For my wife and me, it has a secondary meaning. It refers to the 'tude we often get from our little dog Gandalf.
Over the years, we've had dogs that seemingly barked at nothing; something with which many people are familiar, I am sure. With our dog Romeo, when he’d bark at seemingly nothing, we used to say, “Well, somewhere in Orlando a doorbell just rang.” It was only a slight exaggeration.
In the case of Gandalf, oh, he has quite the listing of things he likes to show that he’s the boss. First are the neighbor dogs. As with all dog societies, there’s a pecking order. In the case of tiny dogs, Gandalf is all of twenty-five pounds and the grass scratches his belly; even when the grass is very short, well, tiny dogs truly seem to have an inferiority complex, which they desperately over compensate. Any dog in our complex that Gandalf sees, he barks at; it doesn’t matter how big the dog is. In fact, the bigger the dog, the louder he barks.
Then there are the neighbours and cars that go by. He barks at car, but usually doesn’t chase after them. If he does, it comes to nothing, as he also wags his tail the whole time.
The folks in our complex have learned to just smile and bend down, waaayyyy down, and pet him. In the case of cars, trucks and other vehicles, we hold him back. Actually, we usually just pick him up!
Every time Gandalf barks at a car, it reminds me of a Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam cartoon, where Sam tries to rob a train. Sam stands in the track, guns out and the train passes right over him. If you’ll recall, he was short.
I honestly think that, if Gandalf stood in the driveway in front of a vehicle, it could drive over him without hurting or even touching him. I’m not about to put that theory to the test. I’d be worried about the poor little fellow getting hurt.
Finally, there’s the big one, the truly big one, the item that sends Gandalf over the edge into fits of virtual apoplexy. He barks at airplanes.
We live due north of the Orlando International Airport, which is a sizeable airport. It has to be, it services Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and every theme park and amusement center for all of Central Florida. We get people flying in here from all over the world.
This means a plane lands at the airport practically every few minutes. All the planes that come in from the north, quite a few, in fact, fly right over our home. If Gandalf catches sight of one, he goes thermal! He treats us to a minimum of five minutes of unending barking; sometimes he even hops a bit on his front legs in a vain effort to get closer to the offending object.
I would love to get Gandalf next to one of those Boing 747 jets, as it sat on the tarmac. The size differential would be incredible and I can only imagine his reaction. Yes, he is determined to live up to his namesake and make sure that no one shall pass.m
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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