Dog sat watching Old Lady and Little Old Man at the dinner table. From the first sounds of food preparation, she had abandoned her Dog Doings – which usually involved sleeping soundly when there is not food to be begged for – and jumped up with enthusiasm for whatever scraps might happen to fall upon the kitchen floor as she awaits her Fair Portion of the Feast. Dog particularly likes it when Little Old Man is cooking, for far more of her Fair Portion falls to her then. She would prefer to receive IT ALL.
Dog has spent years working on the perfecting of the “Earnest Eyed Gaze” and the “Crestfallen Tail” – that very moment when she perceives that food is not going to fall into her open mouth – not to be outdone by the maneuver of “Twin Streams of Drool” flowing from her mouth to flood the kitchen floor. More than once this punishment has sent Little Old Man and Old Lady arm twirling to maintain their balance so as to not fall. No Old People want the risk of broken hips, and Old Lady has compared it to “iceskating” upon the pond of her childhood. Old Lady never quite mastered the love of iceskating.
With the Great Sigh, Dog watches the food move to the table for consumption by Old Lady and Little Old Man. As the Twin Streams begin to form, Dog sighs again, circles precisely once, and thumps her butt on to the floor – loudly so as to get noticed – then slides forward noisily from her front end to lie beside the table, ears constantly perked for any motion by her Old People toward the action of Feeding Her Dog Self.
Little Old Man asks Old Lady to get him a glass of water. Old Lady slides the chair back, and Dog leaps up, the first of many calisthenics in the “Dance of Waiting for Food.” Old Lady sarcastically says this is the most exercise Dog gets. Old Lady delivers water to Little Old Man, and the two resume eating, watched by the “Earnest Eyed Gaze” – Old Lady calls Dog her “brown eyed girl.”
Dog sighs again eloquently – “Can’t you see I’m watching you?” Her eyebrows flick in the direction of Little Old Man, and she rotates her position. Little Old Man steadfastly ignores Dog. Afterall, he has engineered that a portion of the human dinner fell to the floor so she has already had her Appetizer. Old Lady and Little Old Man gaze at each other over the dinner table. At their age the fixed eyed stare is less romantic in appeal and more centered on the thought, “Aren’t Dog’s antics funny?”
Finally Old Lady pushes back her chair to take her dishes to the sink. Dog leaps up! Finally! Old Lady puts her dishes in the sink without putting her plate down for Dog. Dog sinks down again with a sigh. Little Old Man leans over and puts his scraps down for Dog. Dog leaps up again! This is more like it! With precisely two swishes of her pink tongue, the plate is clean. Old Lady asks Little Old Man to please pick up the plate he has put down for Dog, and goes to get Dog’s bowl. Finally! Dog’s tail is happily curling upward. Old Lady prepares Dog’s meal, which Dog devours in short work. Now Dog’s tail is curling downward, “Is that all???” Little Old Man and Old Lady have learned to tell each other that Dog has been fed, since Dog has proven herself fully capable of lying to them on the matter, and packing away as many meals as she can con the humans into feeding her. She has no shame about her round tummy.