BY DAN MILLER
(originally posted March 3, 2005)
I never know when Wiggles might run across my mind.
Wiggles was a little mutt of a dog we had when I was growing up.
As far as I know, there are no pictures of him in family albums. Wiggles didn't do pictures.
I have no idea what "mix" he was. He was just a plain black and white scroungy little dog, who looked like a cross between a border collie and a coyote, only smaller.
He seldom came inside the house.... he wasn't an "indoor" dog. And it was his own fault.
He chose a lifestyle that usually kept him so messy and smelly that we simply wouldn't let him in.
He'd disappear for days at a time --- and when he came home, I always wondered where he'd been, and what kind of adventure he might have had..... but there was no way to know.
Sometimes a friend might tell me they saw Wiggles down on Baker Avenue, which was about 3 blocks from the house. And occasionally we'd hear rumors he'd been seen across the river in North Augusta.
It's entirely possible that Wiggles had another home and another name --- somewhere else, with another family --- and would split his time between them and us.
Anyhow, Wiggles gave me one of the funniest -- and most uncomfortable -- moments of my young life when I was probably about 12 years old.
I had walked with some friends a few blocks to the high school football stadium for a game.
Now, bear in mind, we were sort of vagabonds ourselves. I'm sure we got into the game by crawling under the fence. We knew all the openings, and had mastered the art of slipping past the eagle eyes of the shop teacher who worked security.
So there we were... sitting far up in the stands, watching the cheerleaders, trying desperately to keep a low profile - and appear as if we had paid to be there.
Suddenly the referee's whistle blew. He stopped the game because there was a dog running across the field.
Yep, it was Wiggles. He was being chased by referees and players.
I watched in horror..... wondering if they might somehow catch him -- check his tags -- and announce over the loudspeakers that "Danny Miller's dog is on the field, would you please come get him!"
One of my pals said, "Isn't that Wiggles?"
I acknowledged that it was..... but assured everyone that they'd never catch him.
And they didn't. Wiggles obviously knew those same openings under the fence to make his escape.
When I got home later that night, there was Wiggles, lying on the front steps.... wagging his tail.... happy to see me.... offering no clue about that night's adventure.
But this time, I knew.
It's funny how, sometimes -- all these years later -- I still miss that old dog.