Wednesday, 17 August 2016


Mr. CURRY was the janitor of the second primary school I attended.  He lived in the end house of the fourth row down from mine, straight across from the school, and his house came with the job.  Imagine my surprise when, a year or two after we'd flitted to a new house and neighbourhood, I noticed that Mr. Curry had become janitor of the primary school just around the corner from us.  His house (that again came with the job) stood in splendid isolation in the school grounds.

Before flitting, I'd been a secondary school pupil for nearly two years, but Mr. Curry was still a regular sight on account of him passing my house to or from the pub on the far side of the shops across the street.  It was therefore a tad strange when, after we'd flitted, he again became a regular sight to me in my perambulations around my new neighbourhood, either when I passed the school on my way to the town centre, or saw him walking home from his local public house.  He liked a drink, did Mr. Curry.  Died quite a few years ago now.

Let's now jump back to when I was yet living in my former neighbourhood and was still a primary school pupil, sometime around 1968, give or take a year either way.  While gazing out of the window of the annexe huts across from the main building one afternoon, I saw Mr. Curry taking a kick at a golden labrador which appeared to be seeking shelter in the doorway.  His kick may have connected, but I couldn't say with certainty after all this time.  I was shocked to see an adult behave in such a heartless manner towards one of man's best friends, and felt sorry for the poor animal.

The very doorway.  The school was demolished
nearly two years ago.  Photo taken circa 1984

Later that evening, coming back from a pal's house, I saw that the dog was again sheltering in the school doorway.  Had it been abandoned?  Was it lost?  Or had it tracked down its young master to the school and was now faithfully waiting for him to emerge from the building, not realizing that he'd gone home hours before?  I told my father about the dog, and, along with my brother, we went down to the school and brought the dog home with us.  It was a friendly animal, and hungrily scoffed the cold link sausages we fed it from the fridge.

My father, who worked for the police, arranged for them to collect the poor dog and house it in their kennels 'til collected by its lawful owners.  He later informed us that the canine had been claimed, but even at the young age I then was, I wondered if he was telling us what had actually happened or what he knew we wanted to hear.  Many years later, I saw inside the station kennels for strays, and they were the dirtiest, smelliest, vilest quarters imaginable.  To think that, if the dog wasn't reunited with its owners, it had spent its last days in such conditions is awful to contemplate.

I never much liked Mr. Curry after that, though, truth to tell, I hadn't much liked him before, but he fell even further in my estimation from then on.  Strange thing is, whenever I see a golden labrador now, I can't help but think of that poor beast from so long ago, and still find myself hoping that it was a happy ending all round for the dog and its owners.

Sometimes there are some things we're better not knowing, don't you think?  Just in case.

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