Before I begin this strange narrative, let me say for the record that, despite being a product of the ‘60s, I have not, nor have I ever, taken experimental hallucinatory drugs.
My doctor has, however, put me on several drugs that inevitably seem to result in some very strange and vivid dreams. This is the story of one of those dreams.
Perhaps the dream I had last night was derivative of the fact that my wife and I have always supported the fund-raising efforts of our favorite charities. And in recent years, it seems many charities are going to more and more creative extremes in their fund-raising initiatives. I think it all began with the ALS ice bucket challenge. Now, we are seeing everything from rubber ducky races to rappelling down the sides of local skyscrapers.
In my dream, I was talking to a friend who apparently was the development director for South Bend’s Howard Park. She told me the park was going to host an event that involved racing a menagerie of animals around a prescribed course through the park. And this is where things get weird. She told me that sponsors could enter virtually any kind of animal.
Some entered the usual assortment of dogs, cats and other pets. Others entered whatever animal they could corral (or not corral as the case may be). Entries ranged from raccoons to snakes. Even a shrimp. Not sure what exactly might prevent the shrimp from being consumed along the way, but, hey, this is my dream, and I will remember it any way I want.
For my part, I chose one of the many squirrels who have plagued my existence for the 45 some years we have lived amid the giant oak trees in the Sunnymede area. I knew from experience that this particular squirrel was incredibly fast – especially when it came to gathering up the acorns that fall so prolifically this time of year.
I named my squirrel “Flash” (after the nickname I was facetiously given during my days as a high school quarter miler). In true “flashiness fashion,” my squirrel took off like the proverbial bat out of hell at the starting gun. Maybe he was afraid some hunter was shooting at him. And, I should add there were no actual bats in the competition, presumably because it was a daytime event.
Like any proud relative of a competitor, I wanted to see Flash flash his form and win the event. However, somewhere I lost sight of my prodigious pet. I went looking for him everywhere. I saw the shrimp in the Howard Park splash pad. The raccoons got distracted by some trash cans outside the new Howard Park Public House. The snakes were sunning themselves on the banks of the St. Joe River. But there was no Flash in sight.
Sadly, I awoke before I learned who won the event. Maybe they will post the results in the sports pages of the South Bend Tribune. As for Flash, he never returned to his Sunnymede tree house. My only guess is that along the way he met some cute girly squirrel with whom he is now shacked up with in a tree in Howard Park.