I have cohabited with canines for at least the last 25 years. So, and I mean this literally, I’ve been a dad for more than a quarter century.
But Sunday was the first time I felt Father’s Day.
Perhaps because it was the first without my father. Or maybe I’ve finally teetered into that creepy ‘dog guy’ zip code, which is ‘cat lady’ adjacent.
Regardless, Fortuna blessed me with something Hallmark could never sell, let alone sloganize.
I was in Big Bear, which is so jaw-droppingly beautiful I lack the vocabulary to insult it with a description. Esme was there, too, because Esme finds doggie daycare living as packed as dimples on a raspberry.
As we sat in downtown Big Bear, underneath the dwindling shade of a dwindling tree, two women, perhaps in their 50’s, waddled past, their arms struggling to hoist the bags from trendy mountain-town shops.
Then, I hear one lady say to her shopping pal, “I can’t stand the look of Boston Terriers. French bulldogs are so much prettier.” Said it not to me, but in a loud, nasally squawk to her friend. As if she usually talked over traffic.
I didn’t do the heroic thing. I didn’t get in her face, raise my voice, point a finger or shred her with a quip about how hypocritical it was to critique appearance when you’ve got the figure of a fire hydrant, too (though Esme doesn’t try layer).
Instead, I watched, mouth agape, as they strolled past. Either not realizing I heard them, or not caring. Suddenly, I thought, ‘So that’s why parents beat each other silly at Little League anything.’
Esme, of course, was the maturest of the bunch. She was watching an actual horse, pulling a cart of tourists through downtown. And her feelings didn’t seem nearly as fazed as mine. She’s sleeping now, and doesn’t know I’m writing this. But, on this fading Father’s Day, a message to fashion critics. And that lady: