At the swimming pool I met a family whose pets were all the wrong colors.
Steve and his brother Eli cleared land with chain saws for a living. Steve had two daughters who had no fear of strangers (or at least of me). The ten year old asked me all sorts of questions: Where do you live? Where'd you get those ugly swimming trunks? Do you like hamburgers or hot dogs better?
That last question somehow led to me getting invited to the family cookout. I rode to their place in the back of Steve's pickup with Eli's dog, a red Doberman pinscher named Gertrude. I was a little apprehensive about getting close to a strange Doberman, but I felt better when she slunk over to me and pushed her head under my hand to be petted.
I had never seen a red Dobie. She looked about like the inside of a red velvet cake. Eli said she was one of only 60 in the country. He had paid good money for her. He mentioned all the surgeries she had had because of her stomach problems. "Didn't you have surgeries?" he said in a baby voice and kissed her on the mouth.
Once we arrived at Steve's place, he brought out his own pet. I nearly dropped my hamburger. The pet was white and had demonic red eyes, and the first thing it did was run up Steve's left sleeve and come out his right.
"It's an albino ferret," Steve said, too late to prevent my stomach from jumping onto my left shoulder blade.
I never found out why both brothers had chosen pets of unusual color. When I mentioned the subject, Eli said “I don’t consider Gertrude a pet. She’s more like a child.”
Later, Steve said, "Eli goes overboard about that dog. Doesn't he, Precious?" And he kissed the ferret.
Photo: Marshman/Creative Commons