It’s a Wednesday afternoon for Pete’s sake, and three weeks from the start of summer at that. Downtown looks like Mardi Gras. Who are these people? Where’d they all come from? Across the street, in front of the Emporium, the guy with the steel drum is ringing away. Ahead of us, mixed in with the lollygaggers on the bench in front of Tom’s Market are a guitar player, a guy with a zither and that damned Kenneth with his big, incessant drum. A juggler is entertaining them from the sidewalk.
I wonder how the pooch will react. She’s been in a mood all day, ever since we arrived at my office building to find a crowd of lingerers hanging out in the vestibule. That got her on a barking spree that finally ended when, a couple hours later, I told her it was time to go home.
The bench closest to us is empty, so I decide to sit and let the little heeler take it all in. She’s being good and sits when I do. People walk by; the big trucks and motorcycles roar through town in front of us; people call out to one another as they cross the street. Not a whimper.
A young man sitting with a girl with spiky hair on the bench next to ours comes over to talk to me about the dog. He reminds me of myself when I was his age. I used to go to Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village on sunny afternoons in the spring to hang out and take in the scene. I suppose this is no different. It turns out the kid has a heeler, too. So, we have a pleasant conversation and the dog lets him pet her without taking off his hand. At this sign of progress, I decide she is ready to run the gauntlet of street entertainment.
Suki is calm as we approach the juggler, who backs up to the curb to let us by. I wonder how she will react to the drum, but as we reach Kenneth she manages only one small, disinterested woof and we move on.
And now this:
USA Today: 30 U.S. towns will compete for top honors in Best of the Road contest