When I was somewhere around two and a half to three, I got to eat cake and ride in a police car all in the same day. I still consider those two activities key ingredients to a perfect evening- although its generally better when the cake follows the ride in the police car.
I don't remember the looks on my parents faces nor do I remember feeling like it was a big deal. What I remember is sitting on some lady's house eating chocolate cake and refusing a napkin.
I remember seeing Sherman's leather leash hanging by the door. I think I even remember looking up out the glass window in the door- through each of the four squares and thinking to myself that today would be a wonderful day for a walk. A walk with Sherman.
Sherman was the most perfect bulldog ever built. He was mostly white with some tan and black splotches placed randomly across his squatty body. Although he would later become dangerously aggressive with people outside the family, on this day, he was still a gentle soul. Gentle enough to allow a two and half to three year old girl clip a leash to his collar and wait eagerly by the door for a walk around the block.
I'm sure his dog tags jingled when I clipped him up. Then, without an indication to anyone else, we slipped out of the house and began our adventure. Now, I can't remember anything about the walk. My memory essentially goes from looking at the leash to eating cake- so I'll try to fill you in with information based on third party accounts.
Apparently we made it pretty far. I don't know about miles- but definitely blocks.
And blocks my parents would assume would be too far away for my two and half to three year old legs to take me. Come to think of it, I don't know if they realized I was missing before the got the phone call or not. I can imaging Sherman doing most of the leading- but never pulling hard enough to pull the leash out of my little hands. He would trot along and stop to sniff at trees and bushes- with that characteristic bulldog snuffle.
A neighbor lady saw us walking along and realized that although it was the early 1970's - long before kids were forced to play indoors for fear of pedophiles and shootings, two and a half to three year olds should probably not be walking large, albeit obedient, bulldogs unsupervised.
And again, because it was the early 1970's, there was nothing untoward about a perfect stranger inviting a child into her home for cake. In our family, we didn't start being quizzed on kidnapping scenarios until the early 80's.
So, at some point she gets me in the house, slices what I remember to be a giant piece of moist chocolate cake and calls the police.
The police man, demonstrating an advanced level of detective work, simply looked at Sherman's dog tags, found a phone number and called my parents. Okay so it may have been a little more than that. I don't know if they actually had their number on the tag- or if they had to pull the information from the rabies vaccination tag and look something up. So I'll cut the friendly stranger some slack.
Thus began the final part of my adventure- the ride home. I do remember pulling up to my parent's house in a car that was outfitted with lots more than the basic steering wheel and gear shifter. But I don't think they made me wear a seat belt. And they were probably smoking. Nah- I just made that part up.
I also don't remember the actual reunion very well. But to close it up I'll say that I don't think I got into too much trouble. I'm sure they made sure to keep better tabs on both Sherman and me. For me, however, it was just the beginning of many unauthorized explorations- creek crossings, tree climbings, fence hoppings. I didn't have Sherman there as either a rescuer or a co-conspirator for those adventures- but I'll always remember him as the catalyst.
Assignment Notes: In honor of what is arguably one of the best television shows ever made, write about a time you, or someone you love, was Lost.