“should I call 911(police) to bring ambulance so we can take Bemar to emergency room for examination?”
When you visit or migrate to the United States of America, you will bear me witness. Although not perfect, America is one of the greatest countries on the face of earth. Its system is tedious and complicated, but efficient for most part.
When you drive or take a ride, you understand the real meaning of “super highway.” Roads wind and unwind. A road bypasses and another one underpasses as if to give you an imagery of boiled spaghetti.
You will also realize life is unique. People seem to be in a hurry to get things done. Time is of essence. Neighbors live a private life from each other. Social life is on the downward trend.
As elected officials-Democrats and Republicans display their shenanigans at the Capitol Hill in Washington DC, people across the country seem detached and unperturbed. They are busy going about their businesses. As a matter of fact, most Americans are uncomfortable discussing politics and religion.
But do not fooled by it. Americans are religious and political junkies as are Kenyans. Besides, they love their country so much. They are one of the most patriotic citizens I know. Flags are hoisted on hilly places, on yards, by porches and by public institutions. “Only in America”, they quip with a patriotic swagger.
As you mingle with different classes of people you discover that Americans consider themselves special kindred on the face of the earth, thanks to their doctrine of “American exceptionalism.”
They believe in greatness and possibilities. They are “the first new nation”, so they assert. Unfortunately, their marriages and fabric of their social life isn’t working as their economy. Most marriages and social life are impossible. Of all marriages, about 6o% will end up in divorce.
But that’s not what is uniquely American. If you ask me, there are three “things” that are quintessentially and exceptionally American. These three matter. They are women, children and dogs.
Never touch them inappropriately. Never contact them without permission. Otherwise, it will be considered harassment. Never goof around them. You must give maximum respect to these three. They are ultra-special. Mess around with any one of the three and 911, which mean cops; will be called on you. And boy, American cops don’t kid around.
Recently, I encountered sentimentality attached to one of the big three, which is; American dogs. It was 7 pm Thursday night in Fairfax Virginia which was 2am Kenyan time. We had just finished sumptuous meal of grilled chicken, mashed potato, gravy and broccoli-Delicious meal by any standard.
As we enjoyed the delicacy, a family dog that belongs to my host family that had invited me was out playing in the backyard. The dog’s name is Bemar, pronounced as Swahili word, “bima”.
Somehow Bemar chased after and caught a squirrel as he was playing in the backyard. He didn’t waste a minute. He mauled the squirrel. As Mick, a lawyer and a son to my host family checked on him; Bemar had devoured one half of the squirrel.
“Oh my God… WTH”, a terrified Mick screamed as he returned in the house with a jaw-dropping face. “What is it”, I asked. “Bemar is eating a squirrel”, Mick answered with a freaked face.
I started laughing. It turns out; my laughing was a bad idea. “What are you laughing at Jack?” He gave me a scary look. I couldn’t stop laughing because in my village of Es’sumba, in Bunyore; western Kenya dogs hunt and eat squirrels. In fact, it is good for the dogs and human beings as well. However, it was a debilitating experience for my American host family.
Worried for the dog, Mick grabbed the phone with a sense of urgency. With his bewildered face he asked me “should I call 911(police) to bring ambulance so we can take Bemar to emergency room for examination?” he wondered. While smiling, I told him “No, maybe you should call your mother.” Mick called his mother who was out having a good time with her girl-friends.
You should have heard Mick’s mother on a speaker phone. She sounded petrified. “Call the doctor”, she commanded with sadness in her cracking voice. Mick called veterinary doctor for their dog right away.
Meanwhile, I was holding on to Bemar, the special dog. However, he wasn’t giving a damn. Bemar was licking his mouth and groaning with gladness. After all, the squirrel must have been delicious, at least a beam on Bemar’s face revealed.
The doctor didn’t make a big deal out of it either. He advised us to give the dog a drink of water and monitor him. “Call me back if you notice any difference.” That’s all the doctor could say after all the trouble and mental anguish my host family went through.
Welcome to America, a “land of the free and a home of the brave”-but not so brave when a dog eats a squirrel. It is a land where everybody regardless of their name, race, country of origin or social status-has got a shot in life. But don’t forget. Dogs, women and children are given a preferential treatment.
By Jacktone Ambuka. Email: [email protected]