April 2, 2001
Basset Brigade puts spring in Daisy's step
by Jeanette Knutson
I spied her on one of those clear balmy evenings we had a couple weeks ago. She was out on a passeggiata. I immediately thought to myself, why that's a shorter version of Martha Stewart! She was so fresh-looking, so together. I wasn't at all surprised when I later found out she could do wonders with a glue gun and a bolt of ric-rac, or when I learned she preferred her bed linens line-dried, wrapped in acid-free paper and stored in cedar-lined drawers.
She didn't have her Mikimoto pearls on, but I knew she owned them. I sensed she was well-heeled, surmised that her stock portfolio had probably suffered a little of late. I pegged her for being heavy in the dot-coms.
When she shuffled over - not the least bit shy - for a scratch under the chin, I realized she was a dame d'une certaine age, not the debutante I'd imagined. Her ginger and black coat speckled with fine white hairs about the face gave her away. I was struck (dare I say chilled) by the way she cooly inspected me then continued with her stroll. Aloof. No time for chitchat. She had an agenda of her own.
Daisy Mae - that's how her housemates Maureen and Joe Sanchez of Woodinville introduced her - would probably prefer that I kept this hush-hush, but she's been on a diet. It's not one of those Suzanne Somers all-meat, all-butter, all-the-time affairs, not the kind that calls for liposuction after the banana cream pie. It's what Daisy likes to refer to as a "puffed air, green bean and carrot diet." And apparently the vet-prescribed program is working. Maureen let it slip that Daisy lost 22 pounds so far.
Alas, gone are the days she'd catch disks of waffles laced with butter and syrup in midair. Yes, she was a baked goods kind of girl back then, back when her other housemates favored her with things from the toaster, a longtime penchant of hers. But that was a time in her life on which she doesn't dwell. She was with a different family then.
Suffice it to say she came to the Sanchezes via a foster family, and she came looking strikingly like a stuffed sausage.
Hence this history made the current regimen necessary. And oddly enough, the curtailed eating, the forced exercise didn't seem to bother Daisy. She had an ulterior motive of her own for getting into shape: the Basset Brigade. She dreamed of breaking out the glue gun and fashioning a tasteful lei of silk or dried daisies to wear that day. There would be no garish tutu. No borrowed sunglasses or cocked beret. No Mariners uniform or mini trench coat. None of these costumes were dignified. But walk she would, at her own pace, bedecked with daisies, down NE 175th Street.
She would celebrate Bassetdom and perhaps organize some sort of theme party a la Chinese lanterns in her back yard afterwards. It was, after all, Maureen and Joe's first wedding anniversary that same day. Visions of fluffy white frosting on a tiered layer cake dotted with fresh pansies and perched atop a depression glass pedestal plate filled her head. Maybe she'd get Maureen and Joe something from Tiffany's. Better yet, maybe she'd make them something with her glue gun. The day held such possibilities!
Daisy marched in the brigade in '99. That was her first parade and she was petrified. She could do little more than follow the yellow stripe down the center of the road.
She blew no kisses, broadcast no waves, beamed no smiles. Not once did she veer from that yellow centerline. But this year would be different. Call her a late bloomer, but she was ready this year, ready to strut, ready to schmooze, ready to ooze charm. Fie that yellow line! This year Daisy was ready to swerve.