So this morning we went to the dog show at Apple Bartlett’s house on Islesboro, Maine. It was the seventy-third such show and Apple started it when she was ten. All goes to charity of course, and it happens on her lawn which rolls down gently to the sea in great enough expanse that it comfortably held about one hundred people, a “ring” for showing the dogs, about a 100 foot square area where she or her son(s) have sprinkled love-seat and individual sized plastic cushion on said lawn just down away from the house. The lawn then rolled left down a path to the water; center was a circular garden some 200 feet away with still more lawn beyond it; then the whole right of the lawn is initially taken over by a lean, flanking stable of vegetable garden, before rolling away into forest and more sea. One of the most beautiful spots I’ve ever witnesses. For the visuals, yes, but also for Apple’s classy mellow vibe. Her son called the show and he was funny like a more non-chalant Dave Letterman whose mean side had been all but yacht-rocked away. And the people…
Everyone, of course, has a dog, and though I didn’t think about it at the time I might at some point consider if there was any connection between the human characters and their canines. But I was just trying to survive without being too seen. We sat on a blanket we brought—more of a rug, really. My sister-in-law has been here before and she’s determined that bringing ones own form of Macintosh squares is the cooler thing to do. I suppose most people did throw down some kind of pliable surface. And how to explain: What first struck me, on arrival, was that ninety percent of the people were blond. And one always expects women to be dressed, while here the men were too. There were no jeans, rally. Young boys were in muted solid pastel shorts in an array of careful colors. Most had the same style and/or brand of shirt, most markedly, a horizontal micro-stripe pointy polo job with seemingly very fine fabric, as it drapes. We scanned for a few logos and will look them up later. The men wore hats, sometimes jaunty; some were in yacht-drag. The dog and the sea and the time and the means.
The women were beautiful and/or weathered and saintly matriarchical depending on their age or inclination. It was made clear many were cousins as well as friends. They all belong to the same country club where the kids sail and such all day and adults dine and dip in and out. Chris O’Donnel grew up summers here and a few guys and families who accompanied his own wife and kids (he was here last, not this, year) surely look like him.
Apple’s son soldiered through the pure-breed categories—large sporting dog, small sporting dog, non-sporting small and non-sporting large, however these last two categories had a total of one dog between them to show so s/he won first prize. Then there were the miscellaneous dogs. My wife’s niece showed her dog Lulu, here, last year in this category (but Lulu’s in New York right now alone with a dogsitter); so on arrival this morning Apple asked Genevieve if she would like to show her dog, Billy, which she did and it was very sweet. I’m guessing Billy is a Labradoodle. He had the mind, the whole time, that this was his event, and he spent most of the time policing the other dogs. He seemed distracted when Genevieve showed him, as if someone were taking him away from his duty elsewhere. But he relented and trotting in the most pleasing style. They received fifth place, a category, one imagines, invented solely for Billy. He won first price in this category last year against Lulu. But this year Harry won and we knew Harry from earlier…
Typos happen—I don’t have time or an intern to edit.*
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