I was recently telling my mom something, and I referenced “the Clementine Man.” She suggested I tell you about the Clementine Man and how he came to be called that.
Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
Well, not really. Actually it was the neighborhood where I grew up – the neighborhood in which my parents still live. We moved into that house when I was 2 years old, so it has seen a lot of memories and much history has been made.
As young children, we were all kind of afraid of dogs. Some more than others. Some of us are still a little apprehensive.
Anyway, so there was this dog who lived down the street from us. I don’t know what kind, but he was relatively big and tan – not a Golden Retriever (not that hairy)…possibly a mixed breed. Because we lived in a cul-de-sac, whenever we wanted to take a walk or ride our bikes, we had to pass this dog. And he was almost *always* out in front of his house – no leash, no fence, nothing! He would usually bark as we passed, and sometimes he would chase us. (!) You have no idea how scared we were of being chased by a dog.
So one day, one of us had the bright idea to sing something soothing to the dog as we passed by, hoping that this would deter him from making any sudden loud noises or galloping after us. For whatever reason (I’m sure there was a sensible one at the time), we chose “Oh My Darling, Clementine“. I don’t know how we came to learn that extraordinarily depressing song in the first place, but it does have a particularly pleasing and singable melody, and we knew pretty much every word by heart. 🙂
Believe it or not, this scheme actually worked.
The dog would perk its ears up and listen as we walked or rode by, and he wouldn’t bark, and he wouldn’t run. It was amazing! So, obviously, we continued to sing every single time we passed him. Since we didn’t know his name to begin with, he became known as Clementine.
(We later found out his name was Tony. I like Clementine better. He kind of looked like a Clementine.)
Naturally, his owner, who was a strong-silent-type man built like a wrestler and who we never knew or spoke to, was the Clementine Man. Or, sometimes, Mr. Clementine.
So ends the saga of Clementine. I will add that the Clementine Man still lives in the same house in my parents’ neighborhood, but it appears that Clementine himself has passed on. His presence has now been replaced with one of the ugliest dogs I’ve ever seen, who looks like a pug mixed with bat. We haven’t named him. Her? It.