By Reverend Tom White, October 25, 2017 — During the short time that we were engaged (six weeks, one day), Edna’s mother told her that she could take the dog, Susie Q, with her when we were married. This was not an unmixed blessing. In marrying Edna, I knew I was getting a most lovely, clear-headed, intelligent and psychologically stable spouse.
But I was also getting a neurotic dog.
For some time I was treated as an interloper in my own home. You could see it in her eyes as she looked plaintively as if to say: “What is he doing in our lives?”
We had been married four months when we celebrated our first Easter together. We were still getting to know each other, adjusting to some of the ways we did things. For instance, Edna put a bowl of Zitners chocolate-covered coconut Easter eggs in an open bowl on the coffee table. A day later, I noticed that most of them were gone. I didn’t say anything to Edna; nor did Edna say anything about my supposedly gluttonous practice of eating so many of those Easter eggs.
I woke up that night around 2:00 am, my hand and shirt were black with something. Whatever it was, it smelled sweet! It was melted chocolate. Susie had taken those Easter eggs and hid them under my pillow!! I swore that she did that on purpose!
A few weeks later, I came home from a meeting that ran later than usual. Edna had already gone to bed, and I tried to ease myself into bed without disturbing her. However, Sue was asleep there also—right in the middle of the bed. She started making little grunting noises as if I was intruding on her person. Finally Edna awoke just enough to say, “Tom, you’re inconveniencing her.”
“Inconveniencing her”? I was about ready to “inconvenience her” right down to the floor. But I didn’t. I just lay there hugging the edge of my side of the bed saying to myself (adjust, animal).
Did I say that Susie Q was neurotic? Well, as a puppy Edna’s mother often scolded Sue with a rolled-up newspaper. As a result, Sue reacted negatively to magazines and newspapers. She did not leave the room quickly; she did it in slow-motion. If you even just rattled a paper or lightly touched her head with paper, she would get up in slow-motion, as if to say, “See how you so grievously offended me.”
On day, the three of us were sitting on the living room sofa, I on one side of Edna, Sue on the other side. When Edna turned the side of her newspaper, it just barely touched Susie. The “poor-me” act began. Slowly getting up, one paw held forward. Edna in a most rare act of displeasure said, “Oh, get down if it bothers you so much,” and gave her a good shove on her rear. Susie marched toward a hallway door. At the last second I said, “Aw, Susie, come on back.” She turned and I could read three words expressed in her eyes: “Go to Hell,” and she disappeared from view.
Like I said, she was neurotic.