Nether Lands


Gary Nilsen

For Nancy…

in memory of Annabelle…

Paul Greevy was eighty-one. Still, pulling a wagon to manage his groceries was something of an embarrassment. Not so long ago he had been able to carry thirty or forty pounds without much help; dog food proved the most challenging. Of course, the best value came in the thirty-pound size, so it was the small red Radio Flyer trailing behind that afforded him independence.

But today, embarrassment was secondary. He had managed to save enough for a package of chicken treats, a particular favorite of Daisy’s, and that kind of joy trumped embarrassment any day of the week. They were expensive, but she always perked up after dinner when he asked if she wanted a treat.

Daisy was a gray and white Old English sheepdog with long flowing hair that cascaded around her soft white snout to the top of her chest and swept along her frame like waves of supple bleached grass. Paul and Emma had brought Daisy home the day after his retirement sixteen years ago. From the first moment the tiny cotton ball slid across the polished floor, she had become the new reason for their existence.

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