By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
Every morning, I owe Bix the Mississippi mudhound a walk, so he can sniff out the news and handle his necessities.
For the most part, I’m grateful because he is my exercise plan.
But it’s not always convenient. A stomach virus went through the family a couple of weeks ago – and, yeah, “went through” is the right phrase. It was a struggle to find someone healthy enough for Bix’s rounds, but we managed.
We had another problem the other day and it was of my own making. I went outside, looked to the west and saw dark, ominous clouds. I should’ve gone back inside to get a raincoat, but decided we could take care of business before the rain hit.
I was wrong. We were about halfway home when I felt the first drop on my arm, then another blew against my leg.
The trouble was Bix didn’t have the same urgency about the situation that I had. He still had trees, mailboxes and bushes to sniff.
“I’ve got to know what’s happening, Boss,” he said. “Shadow had pizza crusts last night, and Ginger’s mother isn’t doing too well.”
“You’re telling me you picked up all that by sniffing the bottom of a recycling container? Come on.”
“It’s not just the nose, Boss,” he said. “It’s the nose and brain together. You should try it. Here, have a whiff of this?”
“No. No. No. And one more time, no.”
“The rain’s getting harder. Let’s hurry.”
But he didn’t hurry. He told me that I wasn’t going to melt, and I said, “But you’re going to smell like a wet dog.”
We quit talking after that, and I listened to the sound of leaves rustling in the swaying trees and the smacking of rain as it hit the pavement with increasing frequency.
I remembered when I was a kid and tried to outrun an advancing summer shower on my bicycle and ended up drenched for the effort. I also thought about riding my bike home from football practice and enduring the windblown sting of heavy drops.
That kind of kid stuff ended when I got a driver’s license and access to a car. From then on, I usually got wet only when racing from the car to a building.
Walks with Bix changed that. In the spring, summer and fall, I use my camping rain gear. In the winter, I have ski pants and a jacket. I’ve gone snow skiing twice, but the pants and jacket are well-used thanks to Bix.
In some ways, I enjoy gearing up for a rainy walk, when the water drip-drip-drips from the brim of my hat.
When neighbors spot me, I assume they think I’m an idiot for sloshing around, but I’m often a happy idiot. I guess it has something to do with being outside like a kid who doesn’t have sense enough to come in from the rain.
“Boss,” Bix said, waiting for me at our driveway. “You’re dawdling, and getting wet.”
“You’re right,” I said, running a hand through my hair. “I guess you’ll be wanting breakfast now.”
“Now would be good.”
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal entertainment writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.