Mood: hug me
Topic: "Time With Friends" (3)
Weekends in the Shire have a discipline somewhat different than the days when Frodo must toil upward on Mount Doom. After breakfast, Fiona and Mick, the Wonder Dog, join Frodo for a game of soccer in the schoolyard abutting the Shire. Once the soccer game is concluded, Frodo bounces a tennis ball off the concrete facing of the school, and Mick, the Wonder Dog, supplants Michael Jordan and Michael Johnson as the premier jumper and sprinter in all the world as he hurdles himself in pursuit of the lime-green treasure. Fiona merely scans the horizon, looking for trouble.
After an appropriate rest period, while Frodo accomplishes assignments for which he receives gratuitous compensation, there is a hopeful staring desire for a leisurely walkabout all the lands surrounding the Shire. Sultry summer Shire days drain the aging Mick, the Wonder Dog, more than Frodo wants to admit, and Frodo finds many excuses this time of year to not push his friend. Mick, the Wonder Dog, naturally lacks endurance, but he will not be denied the opportunity to check the canine telegraph when the weather is overcast and it is a bit cooler than a fortnight ago.
The walk gives Frodo an opportunity to supervise all the construction projects, landscape alterations, raucous housepets, and the greetings which characterize the anonymous persons who wave at the Hobbit and his friends. Perhaps it is the hat that Frodo purchased at the "Alligator Farm" in St. Augustine, Florida, some years ago, which Frodo feels gives him the ambiance of "Crocodile Dundee." More likely, it is the unlikely triumvirate themselves, for the charming Fiona, who resembles a miniature chocolate labrador retriever, and the gregarious Mick, the Wonder Dog, who is an unmistakeable working dog, are usually pulling hard on Frodo to get his two legs on a par with their eight. That is, until either one catches or feints an interest in some odor attached to almost anything, and it has been thoroughly investigated and answered in urine. At such a point, Frodo has ample opportunity to take note of the world around him.
Cloudy days seem to detract from the aromas of the Shire. Even the magnolias seem sterile, and tarrying too long anyplace is answered by the presence of tiger mosquitos, who have arisen in abundance with recent thundershowers in the Shire. Blackberries are mostly all picked over, by man and beast, and even Frodo has been able to assemble several quarts for Sam's gifted blackberry cobblers. The high trees of the Shire are nesting spots for the soaring predators who ride winds in search of careless squirrels or thoughtless songbirds, and they whistle to each other when there are no other sounds to be heard.
Suddenly, Fiona bolts from the brush and is on her way with Frodo and Mick, the Wonder Dog, making every effort to re-establish the normal gait for the walkabout. It takes a minute or two for everyone to come disentangled from the leash that binds them as one, and to stride normally. Motorcars pass hither and yon and nearly everyone has a friendly wave for the Musketeers.
They must, indeed, be handsome travelers. Frodo will long remember moments such as these, and wishes they would never end.