It turns out that the pond is just the gift that keeps on giving. Owen and I went out last night and the water was hazy and there was a layer of brown frothy scum on the edges. A lot of people were out eating ice cream in the kind of family groups you find lingering after a high school graduation. It is graduation season in the Happy Valley. Every weekend you seem to hit a traffic snarl when you least expect it.
On the back edge of the pond is an impromptu park bordering a cemetery. Last night I came across four gentleman lined up on the bank, right above the goose poop zone. One was puffing a cigarette, two were singing badly, and the one on the end wanted to pat Owen and chat.
His name is Wayne, he said they were out because if they stay too long in the veterans home they go even more crazy. He reminded me of Jimmy in some kind of way. Unapologetic about his swearing, his lack of tact. But he was sincere and respectful and that was all I needed to plop down on the grass beside him, making it a row of five, with Owen satelliting me as the leash allowed.
Wayne said after Vietnam he married a mean lawyer named Wanda. I knew that was a start of a great story and it was.