A Tale of False Clues and Missed Connections

opening screen door
Pettigrew has his own handle on the screen door so he can come and go at will.

Pettigrew lifted his head and surveyed his surroundings. There was a familiar bustle in the kitchen. The slam of the oven door. The sweet smell of roasting vegetables.

He sauntered into the dining room and immediately noticed the drape of the white cloth as he pushed his way between the chairs to settle under the table.

One son pulled china from the buffet. Then the acrid smell of smoke permeated the air as he lit a match and melted the bottom of the candles so they would stick.

The other son opened the dishwasher and crashed the clean plates back into the cupboard.

When the veggies and hummus appeared, Pettigrew’s last doubts were laid to rest.

While Pettigrew is not found of either veggies or hummus, he is fond of rawhides. If the family was putting a cloth on the table, lighting candles, emptying the dishwasher, and serving appetizers, that meant Pettigrew’s grandparents were on their way, bringing him one of their special twisty rawhides.

With a graceful leap, Pettigrew landed on the window seat.

He peered out into the gathering dusk.

His body taut, he paced across the cushion, looking out the window. Watching. Waiting for that glimmer of headlights.

I knew what Pettigrew was up to, but was helpless to communicate that the signs and signals he had so carefully learned were leading him astray. Grandmom and Pop Pop were at the beach.

It got darker and darker. Pettigrew’s body was stiff, he could no longer settle into a comfortable position.

Finally, he glimpsed flickering lights.

With a joyous bark he jumped down and pawed frantically at the door.

Once released from the house he struggled with the screen, finally calming himself so he could hook a paw through his handle and pull. Then he burst down the stairs and rushed the back gate. Leaping and yelping with excitement.

I grabbed a rawhide and hurried to his side. He mouthed it distractedly from my hand, took two strides into the grass and negligently dropped it, resuming his vigil.

By now my husband had gotten out of the car, collected his belongings, and was opening the gate.

Pettigrew stared in disbelief. ”You aren’t whom I was expecting,” he seemed to say.

Quickly taking stock of the changed circumstances, he retraced his steps into the grass, looking for the previously rejected rawhide.

A rawhide is a rawhide after all. He might as well salvage something from the evening.

For another take on Friday nights see The Command I Never Tried to Teach Is the One Pettigrew Knows the Best.

6 thoughts on “A Tale of False Clues and Missed Connections

  1. Hi, Ruth, this is good, I haven’t read much recently, think I told you I had some eye laser surgery and the computer screen is harsh. I wanted to tell you I did start a blog, through the writing center. You can access it through the website if you want a read. Words about writing, life, my work. So, I’ve begun. How is this little blog working for you? Are people giving you feedback? What keeps you going–it’s clear you enjoy it, and this story about Pettigrew is so piercing. Hope you are okay in the balance, best, Helena

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Helena, Thank you for dipping back into my blog especially given the effort it takes to read on a screen! I did see your blog from the writing center and posted a comment on it. I had thought comments on the blog would be sent to you. If you didn’t receive it, you may want to check with the writing center to see if there is a way to configure the blog so you do receive notification when comments are posted. Basically, I think it’s great you started and the subject area you chose to focus on makes so much sense since you have been advising so many of us over the years as we develop as writers. You have a lot of wisdom to share and a blog is a great way to do it. Plus, having the technical support from the writing center makes a lot of sense. Personally, I have really enjoyed writing my blog. The discipline of posting once a week is helpful for me. I get some feedback both in the comments and just seeing what countries people who read my blog live in. It boggles my mind to be able to reach people around the world. What keeps me going is the feedback, the pleasure from writing and being able to share, the challenge of creating a new post on deadline, and the format suits my writing style/voice well. A blog post can stand on its own, whether or not there is a story arc.


  2. This is truly wonderful. I love the buildup, and how it’s both exciting and not scary. Just as my enjoyment of the tale might have been tempered by feeling sorry for our hero, the rawhide appeared. Then I got to enjoy as the rest of the tale unfolded.
    What a lovely picture you paint, of rituals, community, harmony, love, and taking care of someone, or several someones, who are special. This felt perfect. Thank you for writing it

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so very much for sharing your reaction to this blog! I find it hard to get perspective on my own writing. This piece was written in a different style, with something of a different voice than I usually use. It’s actually closer to the style I used when I was drafting children’s stories. I had a lot of fun writing it, and it made me so happy to hear you enjoyed it and the themes that you saw in the story. Thank you!!


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