, , , ,

The wall became a problem for us when we played any game involving a ball (the ball tended to leave our yard and land in the neighbor’s). What to do? It was obvious we had to get the ball, but how?

In addition to the wall, there was a bigger problem with retrieving our ball; each of our neighbors on all three sides had dogs! The neighbor to our right had three Chihuahua dogs. These were not your normal Chihuahua dogs; they were huge, vicious, long-toothed, some type of hybrid breed of Chihuahua dog. Timmy and I were scared to go over there and get our ball (it never occurred to us to walk around to the front of the house, ring the doorbell, and ask for our ball).

Simultaneously, we came up with the same plan; we agreed, prior to asking, to send Kathy over the wall. But how to convince her?

Initially I tried to bribe her and said, “Kathy, I have some candy I’ll give you (I don’t mess around), if you’ll go get our ball next door.”

Timmy chimed in and begged her, “Pwease, pwease, pwease Kathy, would you go get ow bawh?”

Kathy wouldn’t fall for either ploy and responded, “No. I don’t want to. Besides, ahn’t theh dogs next doah?”

I’ve been known to lie, and said, “Kathy, those are little Chihuahua dogs that couldn’t hurt a flea. I’ll give you all my candy. Please?”

“Okay,” was her response and I had to assume it was that final bribe that put her over the edge.

I know what you’re thinking; what a cruel thing to do to your little sister. I never felt guilty about it until the event was over. Besides, we didn’t have a choice.

Timmy and I got Kathy up on the wall, and we spotted our ball across the neighbor’s yard. No dogs in sight. As we slowly lifted Kathy down, we told her to hurry up before the dogs were the wiser.

As she grabbed the ball and headed back to the wall, out of nowhere, the three amigos, I mean Chihuahuas, bolted toward her. As Kathy tried to climb up on the wall, the dogs jumped all over her, biting her bottom and pulling down her pants.

Meanwhile, safely sitting on the wall, Timmy and I were very helpful.

“Kathy, thwow the bawh ovah the fence,” Timmy offered.

I followed up with this encouragement, “Kathy, don’t worry, those dogs aren’t hurting you. Timmy and I will pull you up, but you have to throw the ball over the fence first.”

The only words out of Kathy at this point were, “Waaahhh!”

We finally convinced Kathy to throw the ball back into our yard, lifted her over the fence, pulled her pants up, told her not to tell Mom, and then went to the tree in the front yard to pull a switch for the discipline that surely would come. In all future endeavors involving balls in neighbor’s yards, Kathy was not involved.

The neighbor behind us had a dog too. This dog was a bit larger than the Chihuahuas and much more aggressive and faster. He was black and white (a cocker spaniel), had very thick fur, and his bite was worse than his bark.

When the ball went over the wall into this dog’s yard, we had to work on our strategy. You couldn’t just climb down the wall into the backyard, because before your foot hit the ground, this dog was all over you, tearing you to pieces. He was a smart dog (adept at undercover work and counterespionage), always hiding behind bushes, beside the house, or wherever he could conduct his surveillance. It didn’t matter what time of day it was, you could not get a foot down and that dog was right there, no bark, just wooosh! He was there.

We weren’t about to let any dog outsmart us however. Our strategic battle plan was brilliant. If the ball was on the east end of the yard for example, one of us would go to the west end of the yard and begin the climb down. This time we had him fooled. While the decoy was on the west end, the other kid was on the east end, where the ball was located. The decoy never intended to set foot in the yard, but the strategy was effective.

The dog ran over to the kid on the west end, and in the meantime, the other kid quickly jumped down, grabbed the ball, and was safely up on the wall before the dog knew what hit him. Then we sat on the wall, stuck out our tongues, and made fun of the hapless dog. If nothing else could be said about us, we were smarter than a dog, at least on this occasion.

Get your copy of Little Heathens here.