by Shirley Manning
Mom and I used to go shopping for clothes together often, along with my guide dog, Winnie. Although not always approving, Mom knew my tastes and was willing to keep an eye out for what I liked. Shopping has never been Winnie’s favorite job, but she knew at the end she would get to play with Mom’s dog, Ladybug, so she put up with a long day of being on the go.
On one shopping trip, I was looking for a dressy sweater to wear with a skirt I’d bought a while back. After spending most of the day looking, we were finally successful in a department store. As we approached the checkout counter, the cashier was bending down behind it digging in a box of hangers — she did not see Winnie by my side. From where she worked behind the counter she still could not see Winnie. Several people were ahead of us in line, and the woman next to me began asking about Winnie and making comments. As she often would, my mom left me at the counter to look at something that caught her eye. The cashier was listening to the woman and me talking.
“She’s really beautiful,” the woman said.
“Thanks! I think so too. She’s a lot of help and a great companion,” I replied.
From behind the counter the cashier said, “It’s so nice of you to feel that way. Does she go everywhere with you?”
“Oh yes. We’re together almost all the time,” I said.
Then the woman next to me said, “And she’s so well behaved!”
At this point, the cashier could not help herself. In a perplexed tone she said, “Well behaved…?”
By this time, there were quite a few people in line at the register. It was obvious to all except the poor cashier what was going on. The cashier had not seen Winnie, but she had seen my mom. I and several other folks nearby laughed aloud. I backed up a little, allowing the cashier to view Winnie, and said, “I believe you haven’t seen my trusted friend down here.”
My mom, noticing the commotion, came back. I informed her that she was, “Very well behaved!” Now it was her turn to be perplexed, so I explained. All within earshot had a good laugh, including the cashier.