Quality Snacks Excerpt

December 16, 2013 — 2 Comments

Thanks for visiting the new site! Thrilled to give a sneak peak of my latest book, QUALITY SNACKS, out in 2014 from Wayne State University Press:

 
Dogs I Have Known

  1. The Dog I Have Never Owned

It is said that dogs are good. People with dogs live longer, are happier, and are less likely to have their homes burglarized.

I have never owned a dog. This is in part because I am afraid of them but also because I do not want to take care of an animal. My daughter would love a dog, but I will never buy her one.

So I guess you know what kind of person I am.

  1. One Dog’s Neighborhood

The dog has his memories, a street where trees don’t grow very tall. South Milwaukee. Small houses with complicated roof lines: dormers, additions, awnings and porches. An air-conditioner punched out a window like a Pez in mid-dispense. Gutters sag, downspouts dangle, shingles grow moss. Inside, staircases with hairpin curves, dining rooms with old built-ins, upstairs bedrooms with slanted ceilings, tiny closets shaped like mathematics problems.

One scrubbed kitchen smells from years of meat, a century of congealed gravy, coffee grounds, boiled spinach. A candy thermometer has fallen between the stove and the cupboard, visible with a flashlight but essentially lost forever. The backyard is exactly one tenth the size of a football field, with a white Virgin Mary statue on a pile of stones at the fifty-yard line. The dog lived and barked and dished here, between white picket fences, his own classic wooden doghouse back-to-back with the garage on the alley.

Next door stands a corner tavern, also like a house, with the bar on the first floor and a family—my family—upstairs. Big square Pabst Blue Ribbon sign lit from within. A block over, the parish school, made out of the same rusty bricks as the foundry four streets away. Wedged into the complex like a gymnasium is a church with surprisingly beautiful stained glass windows. Then there’s the gymnasium itself, with its accordion bleachers and caged lights.

The dog was a nipper, yet loved by all. At first communions, he was always invited into the picture, sitting on his haunches by the girl in her white dress or the boy in his little suit. The closeness of the pair gave the impression of an imaginary wedding in a children’s game. I have such a Polaroid of Max, the dog, with Ginnie Lee, my first love.

Outside, the marquee reads: Divine Mercy Catholic Parish. Excellence in Academics. Den of the Wildcats.

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2 responses to Quality Snacks Excerpt

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