I had a visitor named Steve.
Steve and I were interviewing each other for the purpose of forming an alliance of sorts, a volunteer team that would help in the seemingly endless growth of the homeless population in our city as in many others.
We were at a point in our conversation where our mutual enthusiasm was producing frequent interruptions and suddenly, out of nowhere Steve shouted “Trick Dog – Trick Dog”; he reached for his I-phone and punched out a number that obviously was not in the devise’s memory and soon shouted once again, “Trick Dog – Trick Dog”. And he laughed and talked with even greater animation than had characterized our enthused behavior of minutes ago.
I went to the kitchen and made some cookies and coffee as Steve continued his animated conversation and every so often I would hear once again, “Trick Dog – Trick Dog”. And then again, much laughter.
Steve, who was in his early thirties hadn’t spoken with his twin sister in nearly twenty years; as we were talking an hour or so earlier his eyes had strayed to a nearby tabel. On this table was a reproduction of a cast iron dog and a clown holding a hoop. The dog had a quarter in its mouth and was secretly attached to a tightly coiled spring. When a trigger was pulled the dog would leap through the hoop and deposit the quarter into a keg conveniently placed to receive the air-borne bounty.
When Steve and his sister were children they shared a toy identical to the one that had spurred him to make this phone call, a toy cast iron Trick Dog that had given them some very good memories. Today was their birthday.