My maternal grandmother, Mary Jane Kennedy [1888-1966], used to tell me about her first doll, when she was a little girl up on her father’s bush property on the banks of the Clarence at Riverstone (Seelands), above Grafton. Her Irish mother, Mary Eliza Cranston [1858-1926], had used a short stout bone from a steer to fashion a doll for her daughter. It must have been a rather primitive creation, with a painted face and rag clothes, but my future grandmother was enchanted by her “little bone doll” (as she put it). Whenever my grandmother told us this story, she insisted above all on the idea that a loving mother, with a little bit of imagination, was capable of performing acts of magic in the eyes of her offspring.
My Fitzroy receives lots of bones every time I buy minced lamb at the supermarket, when the butcher supplies me with a big bag of tasty odds and ends for my dear dog. As for toys, he invented one for himself this morning: a round pumpkin or squash (I don’t know which) that he found in the weeds on the edge of my vegetable garden.
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Fitzroy knows that his vegetal ball can roll. In a nutshell, my dog has reinvented the wheel. His ball seems to have a mind of its own.
So, he has to keep an eye on it, unless it suddenly decides to roll away and hide in the bushes.
Once it escapes, by rolling down onto the road, Fitzroy has to run to keep up with his vegetal ball.
Fortunately, because of its color, the vegetal ball is easy to see in the icy greyness of Gamone.
Furthermore, although you wouldn’t describe it as edible, the vegetal ball emits a subtle effusion when you happen to sink your teeth into its skin. All in all, it’s an excellent toy... invented by Fitzroy.