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He was a Yorkshire terrier, but poor thing looked more like a miniature mountain goat. His legs were too long, his hair stringy and he was very thin no matter how much he ate. They had not clipped his tail, and I could never bring myself to do such a cruel thing. Imagine, clipping off your little toe because you look better that way… barbaric. When I went to see him with the intention of buying, he was the only one left of the litter, and immediately entered my heart, no one else wanted him. I gathered him up and cuddled him, and could not let him go. I remember it was December and very cold and I was wearing a coat with a fur collar. He immediately settled in the collar, and I could hardly pay the owners the money, trying not to dislodge him. These people lived in an apartment one street over from mine so I had walked there. Coming back walking with a little doggie lodged in my collar was a bit of a feat, but it didn’t faze me, I was so happy with the cuddly warm body next to my neck.
When I got home my Mom did not see him at first. She shook her head and asked if it was no go? Were they all gone? I said they were now, sat down without taking my coat off and started to relax. She looked at me questioningly, why am I still in my coat, then she really looked and gave a little screech of joy, pounced on me and snatched him off my neck and into a huge cuddle.
Poochy was our little darling and we spoiled him silly. He was a very pampered little dog. Despite all the pampering, he never put on weight, and was really a very good little dog.
One summer we went off to the chalet for a couple of weeks’ vacation, taking Poochy with us, of course. The compound was still under construction, so I loaded the car up with all possible foodstuffs we might conceivably need for the next few days. I remember a plate of raw eggs was among the stuff.
On the day we were going my Mom called my brother to let him know we were off, and as usual he asked us to call him when we got there. Off we went with the car brimming with stuff, Mom settling in for the duration, and Poochy prancing around, till he finally settled in my lap. We were doing good time but I was a bit worried about a couple of new tires I had put in, so at the rest house, which is around 100 kilometers from Cairo, I went in and had the attendants at the gas station look at them. They said they needed to be leaded! Huh? Yes, that would give them balance and make driving safer. I agreed. Half an hour later, tires all “leaded” we were off again.
We were tooling along cheerfully when suddenly there was a bang and the steering wheel started doing crazy things in my hands. The car was swerving onto the sand to the right of the road, I tried to compensate, but over compensated and the car swerved all the way back to the median separating the two way road. At that time, thank God, there was no concrete barrier, just some bushes. The last thing I remember seeing were those bushes turning upside down.
Next thing I knew I was still sitting in the car with my head resting on the inside of its roof. My Mom was sort of huddled against me. Mom are you OK? Yes, I’m fine, are you OK? Yes, yes. Are you sure? Does anything hurt? She said no. Then we started becoming aware of voices coming from outside the car. I turned my head to look from the window and saw a lot of legs. Looking forward I saw that the windshield was gone and that the car’s nose was on the ground. We were upside down.
People were trying to open the doors, but it seemed they were wedged in and could not be moved, so they lifted the nose of the car and encouraged us to crawl out. First one to prance out was Poochy. Relief, I wasn’t sure he had made it. Next my Mom crawled out. But every time they lifted the car, my right foot got caught, so I told them to lower it again so I could move it towards my body, away from whatever was pinching at it. They did, and I did, then was able to crawl out on all fours.
We were both a bit shaky, standing there in the middle of a fairly large crowd. I remember one man saying that God has spared us for the sake of the little dog. I think I must have been a bit hysterical, because it was with difficulty I did not laugh out loud at the notion that our only worth lay in having a small dog! OK. At least he was good for something.
We were very near a police post. They took us in, but before going in I saw a few young men heaving at the car and turning it over right side up. Both doors and the roof were dented, the front windshield gone, mirrors on both sides gone. But they turned the engine and it caught. So my Mom, Poochy and I got in the car and headed back home. It took us around an hour to get back to Giza, the 26th July flyover had not been built yet. All the way in we had people in cars coming up next to us offering us a ride and that they tow the car, I thanked them and continued on our way. The car was heating up so I stopped at the first gas station I found and asked the attendant to see to the water. I remember the astonished look on his face. He asked, did you flip the car over or did something heavy fall on you? I don’t know why but I felt terribly offended, looked him up and down and asked him what difference is it to him. He immediately busied himself with the car, filled it up with water, and off we continued, till finally we got home. I remember looking at the car before going upstairs to the apartment. It was a sight to behold, all the food jumbled in the back with egg yolk all over the car. Let alone the missing windshield and banged up state of the body. No wonder people kept trying to help. My Mom and I must have been a sight as well. Anyway, we went up home and my Mom called my brother. He said, you arrived at the coast already? That was good timing! No, she said, we are back home because we flipped the car and thought it best to return. I could hear his voice over the telephone. What? Where are you? Calmly my Mom said, At home. OK stay put I’ll be right there. He did make it in record time, considering the traffic. Then unceremoniously bundled us both up and took us to the hospital.
We were both thoroughly checked. My Mom had a hairline fracture of the collar bone and I had concussion. But being a hard headed saiidi this did not slow me one iota. Our doctor was the same one who had supervised my case during the previous accident. First thing he said to me: Again Aida? I said some habits are hard to break!
We spent the night at the hospital and were discharged the next day. We were very lucky. I guess God, for Pooch’s sake, did spare us!