Kickass, the doorstop dog, agrees with the keeper’s plan to spend this stormy day inside with Phyllis, doing a post birthday party for Aldo Leopold who was born on Jan. 11, 1887 and died Apr. 21, 1948 at the age of 60 while helping a neighbor fight a brush fire.
In 1948 the keeper was a high school junior so regrettably there was never an opportunity for a brush with the great Leopold. But a dozen or so years later, the keeper lucked out and spent some quality time with Leopold’s widow Estella and a Leopold dog on the back porch of their home on Madison’s near west side.
While doing an interview for an article about Mrs. Leopold for the Wisconsin state Journal, the keeper reached down to pet the Leopold spaniel and discovered it was infested with engorged wood ticks. Estella was horrified at this discovery and asked if the keeper would remove the ticks—a dozen or so the size of grapes and burn them in a paper bag in the backyard, which he did. Both she and the dog seemed appreciative.
The keeper will get out his copy of Sand County Almanac today and reread an essay or two, first, of course telling Phyllis the story about the dog and the ticks, which she has probably heard before; but that’s life when you are storm-bound with an old dude who reminisces excessively.