I should have known, but I knew that if Godfrey knew that I knew, he may not have set out home to Wales. He was tired, that last summer. Often too tired even for Daft Tuesdays, I caught him up once, winded on the landing, told me a spider had startled him..I should have known, but I let it go.

One last daft Tuesday- On Wharf Street, corner of Woebegone and Neglect, an art gallery had folded, replaced by a high end liquor store. Mid morning, Godfrey and I headed out, to see where the days daft may waft us. A beer crate laden tippler, looking the other way, as we passed, stepped on the insensitively located bowl of dog drinking water out side the shop. The cold contents splashed up Godfrey’s was “feh” and” poopah”on the #50 bus with a wet behind…

“Dog water indeed”. So for lunch I introduced a new treat- Hummus, he ate an entire pint, “A savory he noted, unmarred by the intrusive beet”. His humor could be droll, yet he was never unkind, as he boarded the bus with a sodden behind. “Said, “I am sorry to the driver for the two dampish seats, he well knew us this chap, knew that Godfrey disliked beets.

At Fresh-Co’s- “I dislike beets, he told the young clerk, in produce who had not been long at the work. But he said it in Welsh, and more idioms silly, I warmed him, Welsh words will backfire on you Godfrey….

Was it the dog water?, The spinach dip at lunch?, an odd plant or biting bug he touched?. for he broke out in hives half way home on the bus, and though crowded, nobody sat near us. Godfrey itched, he itched like a pony at a fence post, itched deeper than a Chinese Mine, itched far worse than his sister drove, itched longer than Jaques Cousteau dove.

He itches, I told our odd neighbor, Mr Ghostley, peering out his door a crack. Of Mr Ghostley you ask? Our Land – lady Mrs Feerce once whispered to me, that he had not left his room since 1953. “He lowers his rubbish, by way of a contraption to the bin, and allows no one in, not even his  cousin Father Paul. Father Paul once a week leaves groceries out in the hall. “I had peeked in his door, very tidy, many books, a cactus, and nothing more.’

Mr Ghostley and Godfrey played Scrabble, Godfrey stretched on the hall floor, Mr Ghostley reaching one long arm out the door. He refused to come any further out, I never asked what the two talked about.

This itches, squirmed Godfrey, as I scoured the loo, for the “Margo Alive” he bought when I had the flu, we mixed it with green flecked, herbal balm, and he slathered it on. As the welts go worse, came a rolling “clink” and tap at the door, an ancient dried up bottle of Calamine Lotion- kind cat-lady Miss Pettigrew’s contribution.

I gave Godfrey cornstarch to sprinkle in private, and an old sheet to cover my turquoise chair, he looked like Quasimodo in Kabuki makeup, sheet wrapped about him, curled up in despair. My husband took one look- said” should your breathing stop, run get me I will be down in the luggage shop”.

He was no buffoon, but had an unbridled sense of the absurd. And as was Godfrey’s way in times of pain, resorted to music and word.  It itches, he strummed his guitar, I have the dreaded dog water itch, twas my morning to be caught up the kilt by a splash. A reckless chap carrying beer, water pan placed too near. Now I sit in the turquoise chair, in a sheet with hives I have here, here, and there. OH, I be allergic to many Naff things, rabbit dander, daisies, and all the small bug stings, I dislike beets, fear moths, dolls and old antique shops , yet only beets beat the misery the dog water rash brings.

By dawn the rash passed, it occured then to us- perhaps not poodle or soup-hound slobber caused it, it was all the hummus he ate, the hummus, the hummus, never after did Godfrey indulge in that deli. On our burnt fire escape, he sang all night in chorus, wrapped sticky in a sheet, had a boot thrown at him, twas the hummus…

All so many years past now…there are nights I’d sit up awake, on that partially burnt fire escape, knowing that letting him go was not about me, but fulfillment of his destiny. It’s been a rough summer, changes at the corner of Woebegone and Neglect, our crumbling character of a building” restored” to modern, clean and quiet . With paint dry, and scaffolding down, new owners came, Mrs Feerce has left town. Shed a tear for “The Bug Chandelier”  And early this morning, without warning or say, a committee from the city came…and took Mr Ghostley away…


9 thoughts on “THE DREADED DOG WATER ITCH- From Worzel

  1. Should I one far, far day,
    on some Canadian thoroughfare
    Indulge my hearts desire
    in hummus from Levantine hills
    Berate me not for itches to my skin
    And do not blame a dog
    For all my unloved ills.
    I will not change my dread
    Of any kind of beet
    And neither is it any form of bread
    Or any cut of meat.
    But help me stear away
    From hummus and chick peas
    For they bring on an itch
    Far worse than that from fleas.

    • Thank you dear John for sharing thy wit and wisdom across the glob- helping the likes of me carry on. “War and Beets” coming soon. You are cherryished- said Godfrey.

  2. “It was the hummus”, I said to myself the minute I read about the hummus you gave him for lunch. Hives are terrible, and it seems nothing will help, you just have to let time pass, and they will mysteriously disappear.

    • So true, Diane, the misery of hives. My mother wed in the old, cedar log church up island, on her wedding night-hives, she was allergic to cedar of all things. Oh, the hummus- thank you.

  3. To me, “I should have known” foreshadows sorrow, so I read this oft funny post with a heavy heart. I’m afraid of what’s coming. However, I had to giggle at the list of things as bad or worse than Godfrey’s itch and Mr Ghostley and Godfrey playing scrabble through a crack in the door; and I guffawed at “He looked like Quasimodo in Kabuki makeup.” But then I felt like crying when I read about letting Godfrey meet his destiny and the changes in the neighborhood and the building and a committee taking Mr. Ghostley away. As often happens, you put me through an emotional wringer, Sheila, and I loved every minute of it.

  4. Our delivery driver came in last Thursday, in tears laughing, he had dropped a case of “Gutshot Fermented Beet and Ginger Beverage”, yes it is gross as it sounds, on the sidewalk middle of town- it coagulated on contact with the hot tar, and looked like a crime scene. I am still guffawing…

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