Monday, June 21, 2010

Davidson Park and the Dog That Wasn't Mine: Champaign 1994

Since I stayed home with the two girls when they were babies, toddlers, little kids, in spring summer and fall I'd take them around to the parks in their stroller. At that time they watched a movie called Totoro, which they loved. In Totoro two young girls would find acorns (among many other things in the movie) and so, as I walked them in their stroller, both little blond-headed girls riding in the cart, they'd look for acorns. And there were plenty. Because if nothing else, Champaign had some wonderful trees. I'm talking great big oaks, maples, catalpas, tulip trees and many other big hardwoods--but especially oaks.
One park that had tons of these big trees--maybe the prettiest park in the city--was Davidson Park. It was off Church Street, up a ways from Miler Street (towards downtown) and was a very pleasant walk to get to. The park had some grand homes around it--all under leafy shade with big yards--and the place itself was a nice smallish horseshoe of a park, a round drive around it, with swing set and slide and jungle gym. It also had those huge spreading mature oaks and maples and sycamores all among it: lots of shade and birds and acorns to find. The girls loved it--but then, they loved about anything at that age. I probably appreciated it more then them, but it made a fine destination for a stroll. And, on the way back, you could stop at Hubers and buy them candy from the window.
Anyway. One time while we were there, a dog showed up. It wasn't a big dog, also not a small dog. It was rambunctious but not as puppy. It was a bit troublesome but also a rather comical dog. It ran around and tried to engage my little girls in play, but I found the dog (not a stray, you could tell) to be too rough for them, so, we left. But as we left the park--the girls in the stroller--the dog followed us.
The girls were fine, so I made no effort to shoo it away. But as we walked down Church--before Hubers and the candy--a youngish guy came walking towards us and he had a dog and his dog was on a leash. Well, the troublesome dog trotting next to us ran right up to this guy's dog and began yapping and nipping and just plain teasing the leashed pet. When we got up to them the man looked at me, giving me the evil eye.
Ah! He thought it was MY dog!
"That's not my dog," I said and strolled right on by. And the guy, realizing he'd been giving me the evil eye for naught, went about trying to shoo the dog-that-was-not-mine away--without too much success.
I was glad I had babies.

No comments: