Pepi

Pepi was a Golden Cocker Spaniel. Our family purchased him at a service station along Route 8 on our way home from family camp at Camp Lawton on Deer Lake in Wisconsin, when I was six. He was the runt of the litter, so they let him go for $10. I was the youngest of the four children. I spent the most time with him. He pretty much became my dog. Like me, he had a wide circle of friends, and roamed freely in a wide area of the neighborhood. We had Jewish next door neighbors who dearly loved him, and welcomed him into their house regularly. He would defend their front step as vigorously as ours from the paperboy or the mailman. The mailman always brought a Milkbone for Pepi. Pepi would bark, at first, for show. He would receive his treat and petting, then he would accompany our mailman along the rest of his route. This helped him a great deal, as Pepi would keep any dogs busy while he delivered the mail. If any pets were loose, Pepi would make sure they would not come near to, or harm, the mailman.

Pepi would always get excited when my dad got home from work. He knew when the normal time was and he would sit on the manhole cover in the middle of the street, looking East in anticipation of his car. Our neighbor’s Hebrew school bus would sometimes come to drop Elaine off after her lessons. Pepi would not budge from his spot on the manhole cover. The driver would have to veer way to the right to go around him. Pepi loved kosher food. Whenever there was a Jewish family picnic in the neighborhood, even if he had to cross the highway, somehow he would sniff it out and find it. He would beg for food and scarf up anything that was dropped. Then he would come home, eat grass and throw up. We found out just how far he had ranged when our neighbors, the Shermans, had a big gathering on the occasion of a visit of family members from Israel. Pepi, of course, attended, as well. So many of the guests said to each other, “So you know this dog, too?!”

The painting is based on a 4″ black and white snapshot I took of Pepi eating from his dishes in the back yard of our house on Lowry Terrace in Golden Valley, Minnesota. In the background is the fort that my dad built from plans from Popular Mechanics. It had a locked shed in the back for the lawn mower and yard tools. The front had a little play house with a ladder through a hatch to the top deck with the turrets. It was great for snowball fights, etc. That fort was a famous landmark for children for miles around. More kids played in our fort than I ever knew. Behind the fort was a swamp that had milkweed, so we had loads of Monarch butterflies and other wildlife. Behind that was a sledding hill with four rows of American Elms which separated three great sled runs, that terminated on the swamp, which, of course, froze in the winter. The lower part of our yard, next to the fort, was flooded for a skating rink, for several years when I was growing up. In the summer, our yard was the middle of three mostly flat yards, with only one tree, that ran together without fences, where we could play football, baseball, soccer, dodgeball, etc. It was a great place, and a great time to grow up.

The painting is acrylic on 12″ x 12″ stretched canvas.

Price: $150 including postage to US address.

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