Havana Rose

“It’s 100 degrees out Rose. Do you really want to go for a walk?”

“It’s NOT a choice, Dad. I gotta go outside,” Rosie said with a strong sense of urgency.

“Anyway, it’s a dry heat. Not like back home.”

I snuck a quick look out of the side of my eye at her, like a husband in a Hooters, and said, “It’s humid in San Jose, Rosie? California, that is.”

As I opened the drawer on the end of the drop leaf table in the front hallway and removeD her bright pink leash, Rosie started running around my legs, dancing and prancing.

“Let’s get a move on Dad. I really gotta go!”

I snapped the leash on her pink collar and walked the five steps to the front door, flipped the deadbolt and swung the door open for Rosie to go first. Rosie always goes first. We walked around the white hibiscus that blocks most of the left side of the walkway then up the driveway to the left of Fran’s red Prius.

“Yes, Rose, we are going up and around.”

There are two ways to go for a walk when leaving the house, up or down. “Up” starts the long walk east around the first Scenic Drive, while “down” leads west to the short walk to the mail box, about a hundred yards down the second Scenic Drive. There is really only one Scenic Drive, just two street signs. Scenic is a loop off of Newland Heights. Every time we walk the “Up” route I imagine this area in a few hundred years, after the climate has changed, and the icecaps have melted. We will live on a peninsula and will have waterfront property. Well, not “we” but someone will, and probably not in our house either.

When we reached the corner, Rosie looked over her shoulder at me as I say, “Cross the street, Rosalita,” and she turned back and crossed to walk down Newland, tugging her leash with even more urgency. She squatted and peed near the yellow fire hydrant then stopped to sniff a flowering bush.

“Watch out one of the bees doesn’t sting your nose!”

“Don’t worry, Dad, they won’t. We have an understanding.”

I looked directly at her and said, “Let me get this right. You have an understanding with the bees that they won’t sting your nose? How does that work?”

Rosie turned to face me. “It’s simple, Dad. I won’t pee on their flowers and they won’t sting me.”

“But you are a girl, Rose. You couldn’t pee on their flower bushes anyway.”

“Sure, you know that, and I know that, but the bees don’t know that, and I want to keep it that way, capisce?”

By the time we were about halfway down the first Scenic I worked up the nerve to ask,

“Ok, Rose. Explain what you meant back in the house when you said, “it was a dry heat, not like back home.”

“Oh, that’s simple. I was referring to Havana. Do you know how hot and humid it is there in the summer?”

I didn’t, but assumed it was like south Florida where Fran and I used to live, before California and Rosie.

She continued, “It will be 90 degrees and 90 percent humidity. Now that is hot. It’s miserable.”

Not wishing to start an argument, or even a heated discussion, you know how snarky Rosie can become if questioned about her past, I softly and cautiously ask, “Rosie. I do not believe you have ever been to Havana. You know that’s in Cuba and that Cuba is an island off the coast of Florida, don’t you?”

We had turned toward the northwest, around the tip of the ultimate Scenic peninsula when Rosie found her spot. After she finished the real reason for the walk, I cleaned up after her and told her what a good dog she was, Rosie said, “Of course I have not been to Havana and yes I know it is a Caribbean island of the south tip of Florida. In fact its about 90 miles from Florida.”

Sweetly, Rosie asked, “Dad, what kind of dog am I?”

“You are part Havanese and part Poodle. I guess that means you are a HavaPoodle or Poodanese. That doesn’t mean you have ever been to either Cuba or Germany, you know. Or that you know anything about either country.”

Rosie didn’t say a word. She just glared at me for a long moment, before she started tugging her leash pulling us towards home.

As we were heading north, I knew the conversation was going south when Rosie said quietly, “Dad, is there air on the moon?”

“Nooooo,” I replied with some trepidation. “There is no air on the moon.”

“And have you been to the moon, Dad?”

“You know I haven’t Rose. But you know I watch a lot of astronomy shows and lectures. It is a well known fact there is no air on the moon.”

“Exactly, Dad. Exactly. Just like it is a well known fact that the Caribbean Islands are hot and humid during the summer, and it is summer Dad. It is summer here in California, a state I have never left, and it’s summer in Havana, in the Caribbean, in the Northern Hemisphere, Dad. And by the way, there is no air on the moon, but there is on Mars, but then you knew that too, didn’t you Dad?”

“Oh look! There’s Mom’s car. Let’s go see mom,” I said, ending the argument, or at least ending the snark session. I decided not to tell her capisce is Italian, not Spanish. Sometimes peace at all costs is worth considering.


About Dave Oney

Dave Oney was born mid last century in Middlebury, Vermont. He received his BS in Chemistry and worked as a polymer chemist in Massachusetts and New Jersey. He became a microscopist (someone who studies little bitty things using a microscope) and photomicrographer (someone who photographs little bitty things) before settling into a 35-year career in technical sales of scientific imaging equipment (the science of digitally recording itty bitty things, sending the image to a computer for analysis.) He designed and created a number of products contributing to this field. He is (was) proficient in several computer languages and is currently working on mastering English. After making a few more paradigm shift career changes Dave and his wife, Fran, retired and moved closer to their children and granddaughters and now live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas.
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