A Faithful Friend
Bill is a long time faithful friend of mine who has slept on my bed and guarded my room since 1976 which was when I got him. There is a funny story about Bill that I will get to in a minute but first of all here is what is known about him.I was about 16 or 17 when I got Bill.
Bill was made by Toyland Toys in Israel. His tag is still in place and is marked clearly with the name of the manufacturer and a poodle. It says he is made from all new materials. Bill is made from some sort of synthetic fur and I think probably stuffed with foam. He is machine washable as I have washed him once or twice in my life on a gentle cycle using only wool wash or equally gentle product.
After looking online I could not find out anything about this company except that they made a great many plush toys that can still be found on eBay and Etsy. The emblem on the tag is a poodle in a sitting position. A lot of these soft toys seem to be from the seventies like Bill. I’m pretty sure I bought Bill in 1976.
Now to my story. Well I was staying with my cousin and her family one week end and we decided to go to the Elizabeth Town Centre for a shopping trip and then have lunch somewhere nice afterwards. We called into Woollies to see what was on offer and I spotted a big pile of these brown and white puppy dogs. I picked one of them up and looked him over and liked him but felt unsure about buying him. My cousin urged me to go ahead and buy him if I liked him so much. Well I did and we looked around until it was time to go and have some lunch.
Now my cousin is very fond of doing posh things and going to posh places so she suggested the Elizabeth Hotel. I’m not sure if that’s the right name but it was a posh sort of a place well at least I thought it was. I hadn’t eaten in many restaurants so this was a bit different to me. I agreed to it so we walked over there and asked for a table. We were shown to a table for two up against a wall on the opposite side to where we had come in from. We settled down into our chairs and I wondered what I could do with Bill. He had not been wrapped up and was sold loose without any sort of bag. My cousin suggested I pop him under the table so I did. After we were both comfortable we got on with looking over the menu and ordering drinks and our lunch.
It was after we had been there a while I began to notice voices murmuring around us about Bill . I heard one lady comment on how well behaved he was. I thought they must be joking or something so I just carried on with my meal. Others in the restaurant started to point Bill out. “Isn’t he a nice quiet dog” “Isn’t he just so well behaved” Bill hadn’t moved an inch of course but people could see his face popping out from under the table cloth. Eventually a waiter came over to our table to inform me that dogs were not allowed in the restaurant. Well I thought he was joking too. I was stunned and didn’t understand what was going on. What was wrong with me bringing a stuffed toy into the restaurant? “You will have to take him outside or you will have to leave” I was told by the waiter. I thought this was very unreasonable but then it suddenly hit me. They all thought Bill was a real dog. Someone must have complained about me having a live dog in the place. I reached down and pulled Bill out from under the table to show the waiter. After that we were left in peace to enjoy our meal. Well the two of us had a bit of a giggle over it but I think the waiter and the other diners must have felt a bit silly. Didn’t they wonder why Bill never moved or scrounged for any food?