Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Israel – CCXLV. The Ma’abarot Stage (21 of 26)

Being far from the unceasing din of the big city, the ma’abara was quiet at night.  Indeed, the only sound we heard was that of jackals; their cry was a strange mixture of howling and barking; and very quickly we stopped paying attention to it.

One night, there was a different sound; since it was still dark, none of us bothered to investigate.  In the morning, the mystery was elucidated.  In the back of the house, under the window, a dog was fast asleep.

Dad discovered it first and reported that it was a German shepherd. “Is it a stray dog?” asked my mother with some fear in her voice.  “No, it’s a beautiful dog,” dad replied.

The three of us (Robert was already in the army) discussed what to do next.  My father proposed to take to him some milk; no doubt that poor dog was hungry and thirsty; it would also be (hopefully) construed as a friendly gesture!

When dad opened the door my mother yelled, “be careful, ya Nisso.” She then run after him and joined him outside; I was the last to join the delegation!

We approached him carefully making soothing sounds and using the name Egyptian use for any strange dog:  “Ya Bobbi! Ya Bobbi!”  We left the milk at a safe distance and retreated in the house.  It wasn’t long before we saw from the window the dog lapping the milk.  He then looked at us and barked.  He definitely seemed friendly.  My mother had a dog when she was a little girl and she therefore volunteered to be the first to introduce herself.  She carefully offered the back of her hand, he sniffed it, licked it, and tried to stand to “hug” her.  But, that is where Fola drew the line!  Dad then went out and again was warmly received.  Ditto for me.  Our family had just acquired a non-paying boarder.

We named him Blackie. (I know that a German shepherd is not black, but virtually all dogs were named Blackie in Egypt, regardless of their color.  It’s the equivalent of Fido here).

We fed him table scraps and gave him plenty of milk.  We also discovered by accident that he was crazy about shamenet.  Shamenet is more or less like sour cream, you can get shamenet hamuza (sour), or shamenet metuka (sweet), that dog had a sweet tooth and preferred the latter.

The last member of the family to be introduced to Blackie was Robert when he came on leave.

I would be lying if I said that we fell in love with him; we were not dog people.  Mind you the feeling was mutual.  That dog was a free spirit.  We tried to tie him, but to no avail.  He growled and refused to have a collar around his neck.  Since at the time there were no by-laws that obliged us to restrain him, we left well enough alone.  Out of cardboard, we made a doghouse for him; he shred it to pieces!  He did accept a mat though.

We never needed to walk him, he did that himself!  He disappeared for hours on end running (I assume) in the desert.  On occasion, he didn`t come home to sleep!

One day a neighbor came to our door and asked if he could have the dog for his children; he was willing to pay.  We told him he could have him free of charge.  The dog agreed to follow him, was friendly with his family, and played with his children.  But by night time he was back.  We found him in the morning sleeping in his usual place.  Was he trying to tell us that we were now his family?  If so, we were not part of that deal; the last thing we needed under our circumstances was a dog.  As we shall see, we had jumped to conclusion.

One day, Blackie disappeared.  We didn’t find him in his usual place in the morning.  Since that wasn’t the first time, we weren’t concerned.  However, after three days we started to wonder.  Was he gone for good, or would he perhaps show up again?  When weeks went by, inevitably we concluded that we would never see him again.  The question now became, what happened to him?  Run by a car?  Highly unlikely; the desert was his domain.  Attacked and killed by jackals?  Probably not; he was a strong dog, a jackal(s) would not risk it.  A bitch?  No, dogs are not monogamous; he would copulate and then leave; it would be up to the mother to raise the puppies.

Blackie came into our life but did not really live with us.  He joined us for a short period and on his own terms.  When he had had enough, he simply left us.

For me, even though he was a dog, he personifies what free will really is.

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