My neighbor Ken asked me to help try and raise some money for the Salvation Army at a local supermarket. I brought the boys. They were very gracious, even with those little infernal bells we kept ringing.
I didn’t think they minded me using them as bait to raise as much money as possible — five bucks a pet, ten bucks a handshake and twenty a lick in the face.
Later, an elderly lady asked if Ken was my brother. What with our dark shades and each of us holding one pretty blue merle Aussie a piece, I suddenly realized what conclusion her deductive reasoning brought her to after I answered, “Noooo. . . we’re just friends.” She smiled and then with a look of empathy, said, “Oh, no need to be shy about these things anymore.” “Just friends”, I repeated in the echoey vestibule, as she turned and grabbed a cart and rolled it away.