The Soupster asks if there is ever anything new.
“Always the same, this town,” the Soupster muttered, reading the newspaper. “Always arguing over the same things. Paving the same roads, painting the same walls. The same people day after day. Can’t anything be surprising?”
With decades of residency under his belt, the Soupster didn’t entertain illusions about Our Town’s complexion being blemish-free. But what great lover is put off by a few zits? While he might moan in private, publicly the Soupster deflected criticism from outsiders like any loyal lover of a place (or person).
But today the Soupster was bored and instead of taking ownership of his boredom, he decided to blame Our Town. “Same, same,” he moaned. “Same, same, same.”
Fresh air sounded good, the Soupster thought. “Shake off my cobwebs.” This being herring season — hence, herring weather — the Soupster dressed in layers in case the present spectacular sunshine turned instantly to pounding hail.
Out the door down the road to the park went the Soupster, looking over the same sites he’d spied for years. He greeted a familiar face. He turned onto a trail he knew as well as the big vein on the back of his left hand.
While the herring spawn along the ocean’s edge was a mere fraction of that 20 or 30 years ago, the air still reeked with a salty, springy maritime smell. “Uncle Milt,” thought the Soupster. It was too early for new shoots, but the ground felt softer – ready to do something very soon.
A man leading a small black-and-white dog on a leather leash turned the corner of the trail. A strange dog – small and prowling like a cat. The closer the Soupster got, the stranger the dog looked – especially the prowling.
The small dog on a leash turned out to be a rather large cat on a leash.
“I trained him as a kitten,” the man said as he went past. “Now he loves it!”
“That,” said the somewhat delighted Soupster, waving, “is new to me. Yup, tomcat-on-a-leash is a new one for me.”
The sound of wheels turned the Soupster’s attention to a woman pushing a high-tech stroller. The stroller contained an extremely hairy baby. The closer the stroller approached, the hairier the child looked.
With relief, the Soupster realized the hairy baby was a dog.
“She hurt her leg playing Frisbee and she really misses her walk,” the woman said to the Soupster’s puzzled expression.
“Thank you,” said the Soupster.
“For what?” she asked.
“I was thinking everything in Our Town was `same, same, same,’” said the Soupster, more to himself. “I stand corrected.”
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