Rascal my boy
He was meant to be a border collie but it didn’t turn out that way, not that we cared one jot. Purchased for a song, no doubt, by my mother, from some scruffy local farm, he arrived in our kitchen one evening, a fully alive cotton wool toy, complete with shiny black button eyes and nose. It was love at first sight; how could it not be?
Over the years that followed, we grew up together, Rascal and I, spending joyous stretched hours, lost to all others, exploring the soft and impossibly green woods and fields around our house, the slightly sweet smell of fresh, Scottish dampness almost always in the air. Our activities were many and varied. Games of hide (me) and seek (him) were a staple – Rascal was dispatched to fetch a stick launched towards distant, thick vegetation (hopefully delaying his retrieval), while I did my best to find the hiding places that even his dog super powers would not immediately discover. My best efforts (up in a tree was a frequent triumph) invariably gave rise to increasingly frantic yelping, conveying to me, an anthropomorphic mix of laughter, excitement and (for my best efforts) perhaps a little desperation, at my absence.
Sometimes, we’d just sit side by side in companionable silence on the top of our favourite ridge, with me stroking his shoulders, feeling the now sleek fur and impossibly rippling muscles seemingly acquired as some effortless birth right. With the sun warming our faces, we would survey our kingdom – the river below, flanked by lush grassy pastures clearly being enjoyed by a scattering of cows and sheep, whose contented conversations reached us every so often. Usually, a slow breeze was to be found, tracking the path of the river, and the soft edges of this would, intermittently, waft up the hillside towards us, causing Rascal to tilt his head back just slightly, and flare his leathered, damp black nostrils, to read the invisible (to me) words and stories carried in the air. I always wondered what they told him.
He’s buried in a small, ancient wood, near our old house, and on my now infrequent visits to my old home town, I often pass that wood. I think of him every time. My dad, also gone now, called him ‘Rascal my boy’. Man’s best friend doesn’t even begin to describe it.
David Gold was born and raised in the countryside just to the south of Glasgow in Scotland. He is a lyricist and singer songwriter who has only recently dipped his toe into the mysterious world of writing without music in mind. He is a passionate environmentalist and has also been known to work as a technology consultant. He now lives in London with his wife and son.