I was watching NETFLIX'S "The Crown" episode entitled Tywysog Cymru a couple of nights ago as Prince Charles is sent to Aberystwyth to learn Welsh from an ardent nationalist in preparation for the ceremony for his investiture as Prince of Wales. The Prince arrived in town with signs of welcome and disdain. He had never been there before and had presumably never done anything to any person there worthy of such scorn. And this reminded me of how my beloved Gertie (above) was treated the first, second, third, and fourth times we walked past the former Strunk Lumber barns in the 100 block of Simonton Street shortly after we moved to Key West in late December 1993. Until then Gertie had lived her entire life in the privacy of her backyard in Denver. I don't recall her having interacted with any other dogs (other than an occasional sniff while walking and that one time she got pregnant on purpose) and certainly know she never met a cat.
We had just moved into the former Eaton Lodge at 511 Eaton Street in Key West which we purchased at auction in October 1993. The place had been foreclosed by the Small Business Administration which boarded the place up to protect it while under foreclosure - two years of neglect. We moved in, bought a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, and fell in love with Key West in an all new way. Spend Christmastime in Key West and you will understand how enchanting this little town becomes.
I put Gertie's lead around her neck and walked her one-half block to Simonton Street, turned left and walked north past the old Post Office, Cypress House, and headed to Gulf of Mexico two blocks beyond. At that time there were multiple lumber barns on the east side of Simonton Street which were no longer being used as Strunk Lumber had sold the lumber business to Manely deBoer who relcated the lumber business to Eaton Street. Tall corrugated chain link fences kept ne-er do wells out. As we passed hissing sounds abounded from inside the barns. Gertie paused and turned her head to the right to take in the sounds. She was puzzled. She knew nothing of cats or hissing.
Town homes replaced the former lumber barns on Simonton Street
We made out way to the end of Simonton Street. The Key West Hotel was located on the east side of the street. There was a small wood pier that extended out to the Gulf of Mexico. Gertie and I walked out to the edge of the pier to survey the water as early morning light tickled the waters. We both saw fish swimming in the water. Gertie knew fish even if she did not know cats. We had had a large fountain in our former home in Denver which had two very large KOI.
We walked back to the land and moved over to the waters' edge. Gertie stuck her snout into the water. She recoiled back and hacked the salt water out of her mouth. "Egads" she said in dog-speak. Never again.
As the days progressed Gertie's appreciation of the cat hissing turned from puzzlement to rage. Gertie would start to growl and try drag me across the street to show those cats who was the boss. Gertie never met any of those cats in person. It would not have ended well. She met a couple of people who climbed over our fence in Denver. One ended up in jail after his leg ended up in Gertie's mouth.
I am thankful to have had Gertie a part of my life for many years. I think of her often. I am very thankful that I live on this little island out in the middle of the ocean. Far away from all the craziness up north. In America.