Letters I might have gotten:

Dear Doctor: I have two precious little children; along with my beautiful wife, they are the most important things in my life. Some uncaring, stupid person walks through our neighborhood and lets her dog run free. The dog makes regular fecal deposits on our lawn. My kids play on that lawn. The dog deposits can spread disease. We don’t allow people to defecate all over the place.

Is there anything we can do to put a stop to this? Do you pick up after your little dog, Murray, who learned how to read and write at the Literacy Network of South Berkshire? Doctor, I’m at my wit’s end. What should I do?

Please sign me, “Desperate on the Hill.”

DEAR DESPERATE: As you may know, this has been a big concern for me over the years. To the dismay of my wife, children and neighbors, I have actually posted laminated signs around our property, warning people to clean up after their animals. Some were humorous. Some reminded people of their obligations under the law.

Many of us see people with their dogs and there are no signs that they are carrying any clean-up bags. It might take some guts to very nicely ask the walker whether they have any bags but that is a stretch. We tie our bags to the leash so there can be no mistake.

The Lovely Roselle has admonished me for picking up after other people’s dogs as we walk the neighborhood and she may be right. It is disgusting. If you see an animal doing its business and then see no attempt on the part of the animal’s owner to clean up, you should probably say something. One of my neighbors recently did and the owner said, “Oh, OK. Do you have a bag?” Talk about chutzpah! Hang in there. There is a wonderful wine that you might try to help you calm down. It’s called Châteauneuf-du Pup do Pop. (The devil made me do it.)

DEAR DOCTOR: Did you see the recent benefit performance at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center by the diva Deborah Voigt? I was there and really enjoyed her performance. She is an incredible talent. I couldn’t get enough of her. I know that she was doing formal sets of songs, but I just had to applaud after each offering. Some guy was staring at me as if I was a child molester. Did I do something wrong?

I love opera but I particularly loved Voigt’s performance of Leonard Bernstein’s music. I just can’t believe they got her up here in the Berkshires. I wonder how they did that. Do you know? You seem to think you know everything! (Sorry about that, the devil made me do it.)

Please sign me, “Dejected in Dalton.”

DEAR DEJECTED: Thanks for writing. As you may know, I am no fan of the opera although the public radio stations I run play the entire Metropolitan Opera broadcast season. I get a lot of complaints about that since popular programs on the station are pushed aside to make room.

Opera is not for everyone, but it is a very important art form and I am delighted to see that the Mahaiwe sells out their live HD performances. As for the guy who glared at you, I say, “Pay him no mind.” He was probably a member of the opera police. It’s unfortunate that he behaved that way and ruined the occasion for you. Some opera people think of their art as “cosa nostra” (our thing). I am delighted that you had a good time. I know I did.

I thought Deborah Voigt was terrific and asked Beryl Jolly, the Mahaiwe’s talented executive director, how they got her. She said she just picked up the phone and called her management. We are all grateful that she came. She really has some pipes.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 5/28/11

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