I took Indy to the vet today for his weekly weigh in. I was several days late. For whatever reason, I just never took him earlier in the week. But as the saying goes, everything happens for a reason.
As I was standing in the lobby chatting with Liz at the front desk, an older gentleman came in to pick up a prescription for one of his pets. He was taken with Indy—and who wouldn’t be, he’s such a handsome boy—and after asking several questions about Indy, his breed, his weight, his age and any other questions he could think of, he launched into a tale about the assortment of strange animals he had known throughout his seventy four years.
It was a yarn that would impress even Mark Twain.
He started off with a story about his time in the Amazon. He spoke of pigmies being swallowed whole by the anacondas and of people who fed on human flesh. “As in cannibals?” we asked.
Admittedly, I was tossing in my own clever little remarks as he went. I wanted to know if they cooked them first, but I kept that question to myself. Still, I couldn’t resist interacting with him as he talked about the enormous snakes and other wild creatures.
He reined himself in as Indy shifted his large body into a new position; he then launched into a story about the giant grizzly out west that nearly cut him to the bone with its six inch claws. He shot it three times with a rifle and still it reared up on its back legs and came after him. It even pulled another man out of a tree by his boot. It was a miracle they survived.
Not so lucky for the bear, so it seems.
From the bear story he segued into his memories of Hank Williams, Jr.’s house cat. The man had occasion to spend time at the home of Hank Williams, Jr. and he apparently had a mountain lion as a house pet. Lucky for him he didn’t have an ordinary housecat as he also had a barn owl that nested in the stonework of his fireplace. The owl would just fly around the house as the cat lounged below.
He took note of how Indy sort of looked like a mountain lion in the body. I agreed.
He went on about how Indy was such a big dog and asked me if it was hard work to walk him. I told him he was a joy—not always the truth, but he was being so good laying on the lobby floor while I listened to the storyteller, it was easy to forget his minor flaws. The nice old man then told us about three very rich old women who lived in near him some years before. They wore expensive jewels and furs as they took their exotic pets for daily walks along the sidewalk in town. One woman had a wolf with the blackest fur and blue eyes. One woman had a red fox. The third walked a badger at the end of her leash.
Yes, a badger.
Liz asked him to clarify, and he was sure it was a true badger, “angry teeth and all.”
My wisecracking self suggested the women might have been raising their own fur coats, to which Liz laughed and made me promise I would include that comment in my blog (so here it is). The old man didn’t know why they had such unusual pets, but he was emphatic that he saw them on a regular basis. Three wealthy socialites dressed to the nines, walking wild animals.
He finally paid his bill and said his goodbyes.
He was a nice old man, but he could talk your ear off. He has certainly seen an awful lot in his seventy four years, and as strange as his stories may sound, who am I to doubt a single word?
Until the next time…I’ll be looking up badgers online!