The Wild Rumpus…

Posted: October 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

  Those who know me are in full realization that I am a professional “Small Boy”.  Even as I became a “Responsible adult”, I always allowed the small boy to keep a tree fort in my heart.  There, I’m enamored of Red Ryder BB guns, fishing poles, model rockets, and silly songs about “greasy, grimy, gopher guts”.  The small boy comes out when the responsibilities of being an adult become wearisome, and need to be exorcised.

  The small boy has a special memory that he still dreams about to this day, and he recently began to teach a 12 week old puppy about it…I have the help of my faithful minion, Hans, a two-year old German shepherd in this educational process. 

 I was in 3rd or 4th grade when the Scholastic Book Truck came to my elementary school, delivering unto me a book called “Where the Wild Things Are”, by Maurice Sendak.  This book ignited the fire that I still keep at my grasp to this day, nearly fifty years later.  The fire is my ability to return to the freedom of being a little boy.  I put on my imaginary Wolf suit, and enjoy a Wild Rumpus with my closest friends, my German Shepherds.

Hans has been in on the secret for almost two years now, and he revels at the opportunity to join in the games.  We go to the nearest open field and chase each other, play with toys, scare off flocks of geese, and whatever other mischief we can find. We wrestle and play tug-of-war with reckless abandon, play keep away,  forgetting about the rules of proper Canine/Handler behavior.  Mommy, being  Mommy, has no patience for such shenanigans.  But we forgive her because she’s not in a place to understand little boys.

Recently, we’ve taken 12 week old Holly on these secretive forays into misbehavior, because she has so much energy to burn.  We know that someday soon, when the estrogen begins to hold sway, she’ll betray us to Mommy.  Such is the way of the feminine persuasion.  Until then, she’s one of us…

  I firmly believe that dogs and little boys were created for each other by a loving God that designed the symbiotic need we have for each other. Such relationships are not possibly born of chance… Little boys love to wade in muddy rivers, and their loyal dogs will join them with no questions.  Chasing the leaves blown by autumn wind is not a frivolous pursuit, but teaches us to persevere in our favorite pastimes.  Watching the clouds float by for no clear reason, teaches and reminds us that looking to heaven for the really important answers to the really important questions is vital…

I love the “Little Boy” times that the dogs and I share.  As an adult, I often rely on “experience” to make decisions and learn in reflection on the past.  But the little boy learns things by jumping in with both feet, arms flailing…mud splotches appearing on as many surfaces as possible.  It’s a tactile way of learning, marked by the bumps and bruises of enthusiasm. The whole thing jumps out at me from the pages.  Except that now, as an adult, I know that the wild rumpus is the best part of being a little boy, and totally excluded from the adult world. 

  But for a little while everyday, the dogs and I explore the place where my little boy lives.  And I’m a better man for it…and when we are finished, time to return to reality, I think of this line from Sendek:

  “And [he] sailed back over a year                                                                              
and in and out of weeks
and through a day
and into the night of his very own room
where he found his supper waiting for him
and it was still hot”                                                                                                                    


  I have the best of both worlds today, and I am a happy man…



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