Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Heard My Dogs Barking

On any given evening at my house I am probably outside – grilling, looking at the vegetation, having a cocktail, smoking, admiring the sunset, etc. On very few occasions our two Golden Retrievers begin to bark. This happens when cats or groundhogs attempt to race across our property or when anyone pulls up in a car in the front of our house. (If you are not familiar with Golden Retrievers they are the friendliest and least ferocious of all dogs. They love people but will bark and carry on, jump, lick and waggle when you arrive on the premises. Then they will love you.)
This very evening they began to bark. I was in the back of the house and my sweet wife, Sarah, was inside so I figured she could handle whatever was going on. And she did. She opened the front door and allowed the census man inside – gave him a seat, actually, at our dining room table. Then she called me in to let me know what was going on.
I arrived while census man was asking about the name and birth date of one of our children and hollered out, ‘Sarah, don’t give him that information – he has no right.’ Silence ensued. Another question was asked: ‘How long have you lived at this address?’ Again I responded from the kitchen, ‘Sarah, you do not have to answer these questions.’ Sarah said to me, ‘Thom, what’s wrong with all of this?’ I said, ‘I do not want him in our home.’
At that the young man told Sarah that he had to go outside to continue his investigation. They went to our front porch and Sarah came in a few minutes later.
We sat down to dinner – just the two of us. The kind fellow – out of work and getting a temporary paycheck from the good old USA – had wandered over to our neighbor’s house where he may have been greeted by a shotgun. Over crab cakes and sweet potatoes Sarah asked me why I’d had such a bad response to this marginal intrusion. I had no significant answers. I did say that I felt that our federal government had all the information they needed about our family, our children, what they did, how old they were, where they lived, etc. Sarah asked, ‘What harm could it do to answer these questions?’ I asked, ‘What questions?’ She said, ‘Well, they wanted to know if we were white or black.’ I said, ‘What did you tell them?’ She said, ‘I told them we were white.’ I said, ‘Think hard, babe; why did they need to know that?’ Sweet Sarah said, ‘I have no idea.’


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