Me & Jimmy

me and jimmy

That’s me when I was younger than I am now. It’s a terrible photograph because it was developed just a few years ago from some long-forgotten negatives discovered in a box in the bottom of a closet under one of the many piles of junk in my mother’s hall closet. The photo place didn’t think they could even get an image, but they did. And there I am, plain as day.

If you squint and look very closely, you’ll see I’m sitting on a sawn-off tree branch and that the tree branch has a thick rope around it.

That branch was my dog, Jimmy.

Even though, when I was 3, I had been bitten in the face by a neighbour’s dog and required several stitches and still have some faint, but visible scars from that encounter, I madly and passionately wanted a dog of my own. I held no grudges against dogs nor even, Pogo, the dog that had bitten me. No, I loved all doggies soooooo much. (Which is why I had been bitten in the first place…because I was trying to love poor old Pogo while he was trying to eat his dinner).

Anyway, my parents were absolutely dead set against adding a dog to the household. So, one day while my dad was pruning trees, down came this branch that miraculously had 4 shorter, stubbier branches attached to it – 2 at the front (as shown in the photo) and 2 more just like it in the back.

I fell instantly in love with that branch because, except for the fact that it had no head, it looked exactly like a long, skinny, stiff, furless, tailless dog. I named him Jimmy.

I begged a length of rope off my dad and dragged Jimmy around with me wherever I went. I made him a bed in the basement and shared my meals with him. I sat on him, I ran around with him, I talked to him and played with him. For a couple of years, he was my one and only pal since, at the time, I was still an only child and lived in the middle of nowhere. 

Okay, so one day my dad was building a hot-house to start some seedlings for spring. As you can see from the link, this involved lots of thick, plastic sheeting. Knowing how destructive puppies can be, and how Jimmy, in particular had a bit of a destructive bent, my dad made a point of telling me to “keep that dog away from this plastic.”

But as soon as Dad’s back was turned, Jimmy went and jumped right through the middle of that hot house, not once, but several times, tearing the plastic to shreds. I don’t know why.

Jimmy was cremated that evening in the backyard incinerator along with a lot of household rubbish, because that’s how dads got rid of stuff back in the days before recycling.

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35 responses to “Me & Jimmy

  1. This is THE funniest thing I’ve read in weeks. Freaking hee-larious. My mouth dropped open. I was afraid you were going one place but then to my delight, you went in a totally different direction. Hell of a story, XUP.

  2. A viking funeral, no less, for Headless Jimmy Hammerpaws, Destroyer of Hothouses. How noble. (Did you get to attend the ceremony or were you unjustifiably grounded for Jimmy’s misdeeds?)

  3. Reminds me of my first two-wheeler bike which was really a cast-off tricycle missing one wheel. Why relatives and neighbours thought that passing broken toys and wornout clothing to my parents’ large brood was a good idea but that’s a different topic. Anyway, I was sure, as only a stubborn five year old can be, that I was going to sail down that long farm laneway on my new two-wheeler! No amount of leaning to the left ever got that baby off the ground . . . I still lean a little to the left.

    I loved this post. My dog scar is just below my right collarbone. And, um, nice apron?

  4. What a convenient pet to have! But I have some questions:

    1) When Jimmy did his “business”, did you, or your dad sweep up the sawdust?
    2) When he wanted attention, did he say “bark, bark”?
    3) Female dogs are called “bitches” (Honest! Look it up!), was Jimmy a “birch”?
    4) Did you pine for him after he was gone?

    I could go on, but I can hear the faraway sounds of groaning…

  5. My daughter had an invisible pet dog. She talked to him all the time but he was very well behaved. She also had a pet ladybug. She cried when it flew away from home.

    Her son was pushed into a pit bull’s cage when he was little. He still has a massive scar right next to his eye. He still absolutely loves dogs.

  6. RR – Alas, yes, poor Jimmy had to be put down. (They still do that to dogs that misbehave these days)

    Julie – Glad to provide enjoyment at the expense of my traumatized younger self!

    LoLa – Why thanks. Where were you “afraid” I was going? I’d love to know.

    Loth – Oh ya, I HAD to watch the whole sorry event. First poor Jimmy was hacked up with a dull saw and then thrown limb, by limb into the pyre.

    Jazz – Loth IS brilliant. We are starting a committee of Ottawan bloggers to try and convince her to come to Ottawa next time she does her annual visit to Halifax. Wanna join?

    Grace – It’s a little pinafore. Kept the dress neat longer or something…I don’t know. That’s hilarious — you on a trike with one missing wheel. Kids back in the day were so damned resourceful, weren’t we?

    Trashee – BWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA. I wish I’d thought of those to include in the post.

    Sheryl – I think once a kid’s been bitten by a dog there’s some sort of bodily fluid bonding that takes place and we’re “as one” with the canine world forever. Sort of like werewolves, I guess.

  7. Dave – Gosh! Do you really think so? That would be swell. Thanks.

    Hallie – This was more burning THE stake. But I’m glad I found these negatives, too. There were some weird, never before seen photos on them.

    Dr. Monkey – You’re welcome. Glad YOU enjoyed my childhood.

    Violetsky – No, I never had a dog of my own again. A stray followed me home once when I was about 12 – he was adorable and I wanted to keep him so much, but the parents disappeared him, too.

    Meanie – It never works with my child, but maybe it will with yours. Be my guest.

  8. Oh XUP!

    I desperately wanted a horse of my own when I was little. My dad was totally anti horse because my mom loved them and he knew a girl with a traumatic brain injury from being thrown from a horse. He said they were dangerous.

    He was right.

    I have horrible scars on my left knee because my banana seated 2 wheeled blue horse “Vixen” shied at a snake on the road and bucked me off. He wasn’t usually so jumpy, it must have been the oats I fed him (shoved down the tubular handlebars)

    Anyhow casts, and stitches and gory infections later I found myself terrified of riding BICYCLES (of all things!) and got to take horseback riding lessons.

  9. When I was 3 my parents gave in and bought a puppy because I adopted one of my dad’s soccer shoes and pretended it was a dog. I took it everywhere. To this day I’m not sure they gave in out of love for me, or if they were worried about what the neigbours were thinking about me and my shoe Snoopy.

  10. 1. Trashee took all the really good puns…that was rough.
    2. I thought that was pretty harsh of your father.
    3. I can carve you a new dog if you would like out of Cedar.

  11. Mudmama – Parents are so cruel! See what they reduce us to? Sheesh. You probably would have sustained far less injuries on a real horse. Everyone knows things with wheels kill humans.

    Alison – Shut UP! I thought dragging around an old branch was sad, but obviously dragging around an old shoe is so pathetic it actually inspires parents to get you a real puppy. You were such a spoiled brat!

    Cedar – Thanks, but I’m totally over the wooden dog phase. When I retire, I might get a puppy of my very own finally — when I have time to spend with it. I’m a big girl now and can do whatever I want with respects to acquiring pets.

    Geewits – That Loth is a barrel of laughs, isn’t she? Do you read her blog? (Gym Isn’t Working) It’s loads of fun.

  12. I love finding long forgotten photographs. Such a cutie, you are. What’s in your right hand? Flowers? Treats for the dog?

    My oldest girl was smitten with a potato for quite a while. Carried it like a baby everywhere she went. Was all fine and dandy until her baby starting sprouting extra appendages.

    The twins now have a sweet potato they pulled out of the pantry. Simple pleasures.

  13. Ellie – What can one expect from a dog with no head anyway, right?

    Julia – Ah thanks.

    Heathen – I used to look like a monkey. I thought that was the best part, but no one has yet dared mention it.

    OTC – You think I’m cute? I think I look mean and freakish. And I think I’m holding a rock to throw at my pa as soon as he releases me from the photo shoot. Or maybe it’s a potato. I only had rocks, sticks and root vegetables to play with when I was a child, too.

  14. Such a bad imaginary dog.
    The Boy also wants a dog. I picked him up from daycare and Johnny the educator says “I’m really sorry that your dog is so sick.”

    I stood there stunned for a moment. Then I remember The Boy telling me that Charlie, a stuffed St. Bernard, had a cold and was “very sick”. So concerned was the child for Charlie that Johny was convinced he was real.

    No plastic was harmed but a few tensor bandages disappeared. Alas.

  15. When you said your dad was building a hot-house, i was afraid you were going to wake up one morning and find he had used Jimmy as beam. I was glad YOU were the one with the action…

  16. Nat – For god’s sake get the boy a dog or he’ll grow up all warped and demented like me.

    LoLa – No, you can’t use a tree branch for a hot house beam! That’s just crazy. It’s a good thing I didn’t have a pet 2 by 4 though.

    Leah – Ya, poor old Jimmy. At least he lives on in one blurry photo and now a blog post.

    Flutter – Welcome to the blog! Yes, Jimmy was a mischievous little fellow.

  17. I think I’ll e-mail this to my husband. The kids have been begging for a dog for years. My mom needs to read this, too. She’s been telling me I need a dog like “another hole in my head” (straight from the parent handbook).

  18. I loved that story. And I think every tree secretly wishes that someday it will be consumed in a fire. It just seems far nicer than rotting on the ground..