I'm not quite sure when it all started. Misty, the spaniel, doesn't say a lot. She feels that actions speak louder than words. As for Sid, her owner, he is not overcommunicative. Master and dog go for a walk each day, and as they walk toward the sea they also skirt a golf course.
Misty, tail wagging, nosed into a small thicket. She emerged triumphantly with a golf ball and dropped it at her master's feet. Now Sid is a careful sort of chap, and any sense of waste he finds unacceptable. He picked up the long-lost ball, examined it, and decided to place it in a tin at home. Unknown to Sid, this was but the beginning.
On subsequent walks Misty found one or more golf balls, without fail. She was eager to please her master, who became a trifle bemused as the small tin of golf balls now required a sizable container.
Previously, Sid's wife - a kindly, intelligent, and usually tolerant spouse - had not taken too much notice. But eventually she felt constrained to ask: "What do you intend to do with all these?" And then she added quickly: "Shall I take them to the car-boot sale on Saturday?"
"How will you price them?"
"Oh, four for a pound sounds easy on the ear." And so it proved. Demand almost outstripped supply, and this called for further action. Our Sid had noticed a pond at the end of a fairway gradient.
Tom, an angling friend, had a pair of waders that his dog had bitten, and was about to throw them away. "Don't do that, I could use those," was Sid's response to a surprised Tom.
"Didn't know you go fishing."
"Well, there's fishing and fishing," was Sid's laconic reply. He took the waders home, repaired them, and now with a flashlight and a collapsible extending rod (with a wire net end which had the round shape of a golf ball) our Sid was ready. It was like finding a gold seam or striking oil. Golf balls by the dozen!
One evening Sid arrived home late from work, so that it was dark when he and Misty arrived at the pond. Waders on, flashlight at the ready, Sid was just about to start retrieving sunken treasure (which no one else had even thought of rescuing) when he heard voices from a courting couple.
"There's a man in that pond, Jack."
"No dear, I think you must be mistaken."
"I tell you, I saw a man in that pond."
"I expect it's your imagination."
"Oh no it isn't."
Now Sid is normally a very patient man, but on this occasion he was at least three feet in water, Misty was around somewhere, and he really wanted to get started. To be helpful, or so he thought, he swung around, lit the flashlight under his chin, and said in a fairly robust tone: "There is a man in the pond."
That's all he said, but have you ever put a flashlight under your chin and looked in the mirror? However handsome, or pretty a person may be, the light throws the face into shadowy relief (if "relief" is the right word!).
There was a startled gasp and the couple moved away at what Sid tersely admitted was a fair turn of speed. On any subsequent nocturnal visits, Sid was never troubled again.