Poems about food - Dog Food

Dog Food - Poem by Lindsay Smith

Sunday mid morning we put some food in the car & were about to leave & my wife reminded me that we were to take the skinny stray puppy with us. Kimbe 1976 on the Island of West New Britain. Our back fence was the jungle & the skinny runt had appeared out of the jungle a few days before & started eating some of our dog's food.

Justice didn't mind but we didn't want a mangy dog hanging around our place so we were going to take him for a ride. Justice was a huge black dog. We'd been given him in Mt Hagen. He had arrived safely in Finschafen were we stayed for 6 months & he had got over to Kimbe safely & moved in with us after a boat ride. He was a calm adaptable fellow.

We drove thru the spread out township. A few shops most of them painted a particular shade of brownish orange to closely match the colour of bettle nut spittle. I have chewed the nut a few times & it's ok. I suppose.

The locals especially the elderly love chewing bettle & they spit anywhere & everywhere. The bettle palm is beautiful slender elegant like an oversized green bamboo. I tried to bring some plants back into Australia but customs confiscated them.

We have a few young palms growing in the garden now but I wish I could have planted clumps of bettle nuts many years ago.

That afternoon we were going to Robert's place. Robert Lee was a Chinese sole trade in a small community. His trade store fronted on to a grassed area large enough to play a game of footy, but there were no posts at that time.

A pretty sweet blonde Australian girl & her 2 young blonde daughters had moved in with Robert a few years before. The girls played nicely with our 3 year old daughter so it was always a pleasure going there for lunch & a chat.

We still have photos of the girls in our family album. Robert turned the diesel generator on to keep the beer & frozen goods cold. It was bloody noisy when he did that & that killed the conversation.

That was the signal for an upturn in business & so it was time for us to go. My wife said, ‘we've got to get rid of that dog on the way home.' Robert said, ‘what dog? ' So we showed him.

I opened the lid & he had a looked at the boney young thing & agreed that it wasn't much of a specimen. He said, ‘that's fine. It will fatten up good.' He shouted out in pidgin & some of the locals showed an interest.

He shook my hand & went back into his store. Young men were carrying cartons back to their village. A young boy came over & I gave him the string & he led the pup around.

An old woman lifted up her long skirt & began collecting contributions. My wife was delighted as she likes money. I got into the car & said, ‘this is bullshit. The dog isn't worth money. And these people have got buggar all.

I'm not taking their money.' My wife thought the whole situation was funny & she started laughing. Robert had shot through so he didn't know what was going on.

Soon enough the old women with her dress full of coins & notes came to my car door offering payment. She had the young boy & puppy with her. He must have been her grandson.

They had collected quite a lot of cash. If Robert had been present he would have handed it over. I looked at the old woman.

She had an earnest look on her face as if to say, is this enough? I thought about it. I thought well, I suppose I could take token payment so I said, ‘20 toya enough.'

She looked puzzled. I said again, '20 toya enough.' She couldn't believe what she was hearing. The young boy reached into her skirt & solemnly passed me 20 toya.

I nodded. The deal was done. The old woman took a few second to register what had happened & then began to skip & dance & sing, ‘20 toya enup,20 toya enup.'

I started up the car & she whirled in front of us & the people seated on the grass got up & danced & sang with her. We left the whole crowd dancing & singing.

Maybe they still tell they story about how they got a puppy for fattening for only 20 cents.