"My work may be garbage but it's good garbage." Mickey Spillane
Some of the happiest and saddest moments of my life were built around pets.
I almost always had a pet of some kind.
My Uncle Pete (the one I named the parakeet for) had a high-strung wife named Sunny (not to be confused with Uncle Sonny). She mellowed out as the years went by, but she was very nervous still when I was in first grade.
We moved to El Monte for a year. Back then most of El Monte was semi-rural and the houses had very large, deep backyards. I wanted a pony, but we compromised on a goat.
Billy was a good goat. He played with me and was more like a dog than a goat (although I also had a dog at the time, an idiot poodle named Bebe). In order to get him to chase me, I used to wave a small branch with leaves on it under his nose.
Sunny was pregnant with their first child. Mama had a washer, but not a dryer, so we hung our laundry on the line. One day Pete and Sunny came to use the washer. Pete, who was a wino, was soon drinking and hanging out with Papa in the garage. Usually when they came, I was required to tie Billy up because Sunny was afraid of him.
While Sunny was hanging out the laundry to dry, Billy got loose and went to investigate her. Sunny was very thin, tall, and boyishly built. Her breasts were so small that she used to wear falsies (that’s the subject of another story, which I intend to call “The Falsies in the Soup). Sunny had this sack like dress on that tended to wave a bit when she moved. It was a very hot summer and no one was really comfortable at the time, especially Sunny.
Billy came up and nuzzled her, investigating the dress. Sunny started leaping around, trying to discourage him, shrieking and flailing her long thin legs. At the same time, Sunny was refusing to let go of the clothes pin that she was attempting to pin onto a t shirt on the line. So there she was clinging to the clothes line, the clothes pin, the t shirt and jumping around. Billy decided to nibble the hem of her dress.
I struggled not to laugh at her as I rushed to the rescue. It was really quite a spectacle. I grabbed Billy by the collar and freed the hem of her dress, trying not to get kicked by Sunny who was still shrieking and jumping about.
Meanwhile, Bebe had gotten out of the house and was barking at Billy and Sunny.
Bebe was not my dog of choice. Mickey had won him in a game of guess how many jelly beans were in a jar, and dumped him on me.
Billy did not appreciate being barked at. He pulled loose from me and ran at Bebe. I soon found myself chasing the goat that was chasing the dog and Sunny was still screaming.
Papa and Uncle Pete arrived, but instead of helping me catch Billy, they stood and laughed at Sunny. I caught Billy and tied him up again. Then i put the very stressed out poodle back in the house. Mama spent a long time calming Sunny down, while Papa gave me a long lecture about tying good knots.