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September 30, 2008

My Best Friend's Fancy

Roy Meachum

Other people said Pushkin is Downtown Frederick's best known celebrity. He also runs high in the best-loved category. Every time the English pointer hits the sidewalk, his fans appear. They start conversations when their heads reach my knee level.


Most times when I answer questions, I'm looking at the hair and neck of his admirers. Do I mind? Not a bit. His devoted public brings us out of the old house. The moment we stand on the stoop with the door closed behind, Pushki bristles with anticipation.


Then comes his inspection of trees on North Market Street, beginning with the number out front. In years past under his approving nose, we have planted flowers in the dirt exposed by Ron Young's grand design to create a business boulevard; he ordered rebuilt the wagon wheels' deep tracks. Stepping from the sidewalk was always potentially dangerous before.


Pushkin never knew that downtown. He came into the world only 10 years ago; on July 9, 1988, the records show. He was a black-and-white butterball when he moved into my life 12 weeks later, and given to crying in his sleep. Now he snores, betimes, and sometimes he seems to mean to push me on the floor. He's a very exceptional sleeper!


But what he likes most is his daily outing. He loves the attention, especially when it includes rubbing. Between the human genders Pushkin prefers young ladies the more; they fuss more and longer. One shop's new employee managed to pile up a veritable mountain of the pointer's short, white hairs; as we left she scrambled to retrieve her boss's vacuum. Everybody came out ahead on that visit.


The single item he prefers most is a dog biscuit, as I've written before. Unfortunately for the pointer he lost his accustomed first-stop this week: Portobello Road. Kat moved in with Venus on the Half Shell; she and Jennifer became good friends when both their operations were on North Market, not quite facing each other. Smart and delightful, Kat took a new position at the Phillip's Collection; she plans to return most weekends to the new place that runs along Maxwell Avenue, at Patrick Street.


Venus on the Half Shell once cozied between Joe's Classic Cigars, on the corner, and Pat's Alicia L., a Frederick favorite of my French daughter since she and husband Michel returned to this country. Readers of my former News-Post column may recall how I visited them in Venezuela, France, Bangladesh and Malaysia. With all the world to choose from, Anne made repeated trips to Alicia L.


Pat bought the former Dan Weinberg complex, so she'll be around a while; Joe's fate is not so certain in the building he once shared with Venus on the Half Shell. At the current lease's expiration, his new landlord wants more money, which drove Jennifer away. Pushki may get a Hanukkah and Christmas cookie before the corner closes for him. We'll see.


Heading into another autumn the old-man Pointer and the ancient Dude he adopted face changes that go against our antique grain. But it seems he came out better when Eric moved his CineGraphic operation on the other side of Patrick, to South Market Street, right next to Griff's.


And with all the bother and banks collapsing all over the country, Pushkin can still count on BB&T being on The Square Corner with those jars of treats. My Best Friend's fancy will still be nourished. Hoorah!


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