The Dog Who Belonged to Himself
One of the first books that parents read to their small children is Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown. I still have my children’s tattered board book, with its curled red and green pages and a stain from an ancient mashed banana. But my favorite story from my own childhood is one of Brown’s lesser known scripts, a thin and beloved Little Golden Book called Mister Dog. It’s the story of Crispin’s Crispian, the Dog who Belongs to Himself, and his day of adventures with a Boy, who also Belongs to Himself.
Crispin’s Crispian lives in a cozy, colorful, ramshackle house, a veritable hobbit hole with a smoking chimney and a shelf for his four china plates and gleaming copper cookware. Part of Mister Dog’s assiduous charm is that he is fiercely proud of his independence; like his young audience, he delights in being the boss of himself. Also, he smokes a pipe and carries a walking stick; he is master and his own best friend. Mister Dog even goes so far as to gather his leash and take himself for a walk, with the leash draped over his arm, just so.
His chance acquaintance with the Boy commences a delight of daily rituals—chasing cats and rabbits, buying a chop bone, dicing bright green vegetables, sharing a simple, lovely meal and sleeping, at last, under an indigo blanket covered with stars. “And he dreamed his own dreams,” the book says. Oh, to be like Crispin’s Crispian—those were my thoughts when I was a young child, dreaming of the distant day when I, too, would Belong to Myself. I didn’t imagine that Belonging to Myself would one day entail scrubbing Sharpie from the wall or wiping bottoms or feeling bad about fruit snacks. Why didn’t Margaret Wise Brown tell me about all of that? I thought Belonging to Myself meant fishing and going to the store to buy three things. But she wasn’t far off the mark, and if I pause to consider, the simple joys shared by Mister Dog and his friend are things we all find comfort in: Dinner at dinner time, sunset at sunset, and at bedtime, himself in his own little bed. These are the comforts we provide to our children, and perhaps what they crave the most—routine, safety, and shelter. And maybe a few fruit snacks here and there.
This month, amid the promise of snow and early sunsets, may you delight in the simple pleasures of your day. We wish you the joy of a shared meal and a house that is always warm. We wish you everything at the right time, the stars in the heavens, and the moon in the sky. And may you dream your own dreams, just like Mister Dog.
Andrea Flake, Bacon PTO
This month, the PTO is proud to bring you:
The Yearbook Cover Contest winner, announced at the assembly February 1
Movie Night: February 22 Sponsored by Goings Orthodontics and the Bacon PTO “Sing” (rated PG) Doors open at 6:15; movie begins at 6:30.
Bring your blankets, pillows, and snacks for this whole family event. Popcorn will be provided. Adults are required to stay with their kiddos.
February Dinner Night Out: Wednesday, 2/27 at Freddy’s in Timnath—one of our most popular events!
Yearbooks, on sale now: https://www.treering.com/purchase? PassCode=1012929541843271
Board Meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at 9:05am in the Teacher's Lounge. You are welcome to attend these meetings as well.
President – Andrea Flake email@example.com
Vice president – Nicki Shamis
Secretary – Janelle Mainz
Treasurer – Lorie Barker
Volunteer Coordinator – Liz Fritz