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Duke of Smith's Pond
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Duke and I didn’t care that we bagged nothing at Smith’s Pond. I already had enough reptiles and amphibians. What mattered was the pond itself—about the size of a city block. It was all ours. I never saw another kid or adult there, even though developments encroached on every side and traffic constantly roared from a highway.

Obviously, the pond and everything in it was under a death sentence. Soon, it was plowed under, burying our marvelous friends without a thought. A half-dozen asbestos-sided stick jobs went up, with perfect patios, jolly barbeque sets and TVs with seven channels. The taming of Penn Wynne was complete. An immense boredom settled over the town.

But Duke’s joy never left me.

Adapted from All My Dogs: A Life by Bill Henderson © 2011. Published by David R. Godine

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This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 67: Nov/Dec 2011
Bill Henderson is the founder of Pushcart Press and editor and publisher of the annual Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Lifetime Achievement Award, he has written a few memoirs, including All My Dogs: A Life.

Illustration by Leslie Moore

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