• Debbie Corum

A MAGGIE TALE - It'll Never Hold!


For the umpteenth time, I peered through our kitchen window at the melting ice cap covering our small backyard pond. And for the umpteenth time, I banged my knuckles hard against the window pane, motioning for Maggie, our Welsh/Wirehair Fox Terrier mix, to remove her hairy self from the center of it. Undaunted by my warnings, she shot me her classic tilted-head routine and lifted her back leg to scratch her belly.

Considering the unseasonable warm spell, the melting ice could give way beneath her at any moment, plunging her into the pond's frigid depths. I shuddered at the thought. With a growing sense of urgency, I dried my hands on my apron and headed for the closet to get my coat.

Dogs! I flipped my collar up around my ears and ventured outdoors.

Maggie greeted me at the deck's bottom step. Her shaggy eyebrows and muzzle looked like they'd been teased with a cyclone. Water dripped from her long chin hairs like a spigot. I shook my head and chuckled. Our bearded lady—who could stay mad at a mug like hers?

She bounced along beside me, expectant and hopeful that this meant play time. When I reached the pond’s edge, I leaned forward to investigate. Respectfully, she paused beside me, with stub tail wagging. As suspected, a tell-tale pattern of doggy footprints defaced the slushy center, testifying to its weakened condition.

My hands shot to my hips as I straightened to scold her. “No more, Maggie. It’ll never hold.”

With utter disregard to my warnings, she bounded out into the middle, startling me out of my wits in the process. In an effort to nab her, I lost my footing and toppled over the edge to perform a less-than-graceful belly flop across the center of the pond. Bone-chilling slush drenched us both. The ice cap mercifully remained intact.

When I glanced through my kitchen window a few days later, I had to laugh at the sight of my perfect, full-body imprint in the refrozen surface of the pond. Then, with a frown, I banged my knuckles hard against the pane and motioned for Maggie to remove her hairy self from the center of it.

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