They have a farmers’ market in Union Square in New York City. Manette once told me that famous chefs go there to purchase organic produce for their restaurants. About a month later she told me the same thing. The next month, too. And the next month. It's become a standing joke between us that any time anyone repeats herself, we tell the story about the famous chefs shopping for organic produce in Union Square.
We both watched an episode of the Dog Whisperer in which Cesar counseled a couple who owned a neurotic German Shepherd. It seems the reason the Shepherd was frantic was because it was unable to fulfill its purpose in life. Cesar gave it a backpack to carry around bottles of water--he must've seen the same cartoons I did as a kid where the St. Bernards had casks of brandy around their necks--and the dog was cured.
Styles isn't neurotic. He knows his purpose. So do we. It's balls.
He chases them down and brings them back in the driveway. Now that the pool is closed, he roams the entire back yard, running across the pool cover if necessary to retrieve them. He chases them down at Staib Park, where the neighbors have an informal dog park at 5 p.m. every day. There, Zac can throw the ball a few hundred feet and Styles tears after it to the amazement of everyone. When he was a puppy he was fast. Now he's unbelievable. I can’t remember if Superman had a dog, but if he did, it would be Styles.
|Styles in the goal|
He’s also a soccer goalie between the kitchen and the dining room. Any time of day he’ll stand there, in the doorway, his goal, waiting, poised to save a shot kicked at him. He’ll slam his feet together to stop a rug-burner, or snap a lifted shot out of the air in his mouth. If he isn’t in position, from any room in the house you say, “Get in the goal,” and he’s there in a flash. We ask the neighboring kids, Nikki and Tina, to come over a few times a month, usually when we’re out, to play ball with Styles. He knows that’s the only reason they’re there. He goes crazy, jumping, then runs to find a ball and heads for the door.
Every other time I come into the house after playing ball with Styles out back I tell Manette that Styles' purpose in life is to chase balls. Then she tells me about the famous chefs at Union Square.