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.