Thursday, April 28, 2011

To the Dogs

Back in the 60s Lorne Greene had a singing career. Yes, I mean the actor who played the Cartwright patriarch on Bonanza and Commander Adama in the in the 1979 version of Battlestar Galactica. He even had a hit single (Ringo) in 1964. He didn’t really sing. He simply spoke lyrics in that bass voice of his, so his albums (six of them!) are really in the nature of poetry readings. He wasn’t afraid of unmitigated corn, and if you aren’t either you may want to sample a track or two. Or not. Anyway, in the late 60s or early 70s he appeared on some variety show. I no longer remember which one: imdb offers several possibilities and a quick search of youtube fails to turn up this particular clip. I do remember the recitation he gave, however, because of the opening line. He began, "They say a man needs three things to make his life complete: one good dog, one good horse, and one good woman." In that order?

Well, I covered the horse a couple posts ago. The dog was a Great Dane named Woody. We were pups together, which makes a bond that can’t be repeated. He wasn’t mine alone. He was the family dog, but that made him all the more a part of my life at that time. Though Woody did come inside, he was too big and rambunctious really to be a house dog, so he spent the night in a dog house my dad built for him. The dog house was as big as a garden shed, had electric heat, and opened to an oversize dog run. Woody lived for 13 years, which is long for a big dog. My sister Sharon (1950-95) was the poet of the family, so I let her say the rest. She wrote this at age 16 or so. It’s right up Lorne Greene’s alley.

My dog runs after
the sticks I throw him.
black-striped and muscled,
he has a mournful face.
Alone in the sun
I daydream of loves
and lavish my loving overflow
on my dog, hugging him.

He asks for nothing but sticks and loving
and does not complain
when locked up for the night.
                    – Sharon Bellush

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