A Bit of Barking from Cayman’s Troubadour

View from the Hammock

It’s assumed that if you are alone, you must be lonely, or there must be something wrong with you.

That scenario may well fit some, however for this hammock-swinging, shoeless troubadour, aloneness is something I crave – like food. My solitary desires are bewildering to some of the people around me. My children say I’m going senile, and my wife says . . . I forgot what she said.

Life is good, I’m healthy, and have a loving family, a musical career that still, after 50 years, pays my bills. As an extra dividend I have no neighbors and four dogs.

The older I get, the less I care for mortals, yet the more I love dogs. Feed them, pet them, and hug them. That old worn out cliché, “A dog is a man’s best friend,” is no longer a threadbare phrase.

My dogs possess all of the qualities I look for when I do need a companion, but best of all they lack those qualities and habits that I find so irritating in so many people, and that’s why I love being alone – with my dogs.

When my dogs open their mouths, nothing comes out except for a bark. Now, on the other hand, humans can be rude and downright mean.

They either spout hate about the government or spew vitriol about the opposition. They whine about the weather, the tide, or the seasoning in their soup. My dogs only whine when they want supper or a sandspur removed from a paw.

In some ways my dogs remind me of politicians. Their house (my house) is much larger than what they need. At no cost to them, their food is prepared daily, and they pay nothing for medical treatment (I pay it). They travel for free and when they make a mess, someone cleans up behind them (me). Considering all these perks and their loafing, lackadaisical attitudes, my dogs must be politicians. As strange as that may sound, the thought is not that outlandish.

In 1981, “Bosco,” a Labrador Retriever, was elected the honorary mayor of Sunol, California. Because of a loophole in the town election law, Tom Stillman,  Bosco’s owner, entered him into the race against two human candidates for the mayoral slot. The pooch beat both.

Can you imagine the embarrassment of the two, two-legged contenders? Bosco became known as America’s first dog mayor. He led the annual Halloween parade and could often be seen at Sunol events and social gatherings in a custom-made doggie-style formal tuxedo.

Most of Bosco’s days were spent outside the local bar, fostering neighborhood spirit and accepting treats. It was well known that Bosco fathered many illegitimate puppies around town and never paid child support.

In spite of his scalawag behavior, a bronze statue of Bosco was unveiled in 2008 at the town’s center near the town clock.

Before our next elections, I plan on checking into the possibility of having one of my dogs enter the race. After all, they were all born here and come from indigenous canine parents that trace back several generations. Our laws are full of loopholes, so it’s possible that no distinction between humans or animals has been mentioned in our election laws.

Yes, I love being alone, however my solitary confinement would be lonely without my dogs.

When not traveling to some faraway island, George Nowak (The Barefoot Man) performs at the REEF Resort in East End and the Wharf Restaurant. Read more of his adventures in his book, Which Way to the Islands.