June 29, from Mom, Day 28

Dear Dad,

I am afraid that Louie is unable to write to you this evening. He has locked himself in the shower and refuses to come out until you mail him a blizzard from the frosty reaches of the California mountains.

I’ve tried to explain to him through the keyhole that his behavior is unproductive and you can’t stuff an entire whiteout into a business-size envelope just for him, but he insists that you overnight him a snowstorm (he’ll even give you the secret password to the MIB discount on postage) or else he isn’t coming out until Thanksgiving.

I had absolutely no warning that he was going to dive over the edge like this. I kept the air-conditioning cranked up all night so he and his little Buddies could sleep comfortably in the big bed (I was forced to sleep on the floor) and this morning for his hike, I picked the shortest, shadiest route I could find — the lower loop of the Oxbow. I’ll admit it was suffocatingly hot when we hit the trail. I was in my skimpiest shorts and tank top, and I was still dripping with sweat before we stopped for his first poop of the day, so I can only imagine how miserable HE was in his thick black coat. But the boy has certain bodily functions that can’t be ignored — so I forced him to persevere until he was sufficiently emptied out that we could crawl back through the wretched humidity to the air-conditioned comfort of Mr. Rav.

I had errands to perform — the need for groceries and prescription refills doesn’t disappear just because Louie’s hot — but I very carefully made sure to park in the shade at every stop, and I didn’t dally at all in any of the stores (although Louie will probably say otherwise). Still he was quite grumpy, even when I told him there were wieners stashed in the grocery bag.

“Don’t care, Mom,” he groused. “Just get me home.”

Louie and Pops grillin’ on the patio back in the good old days.

Well, when Louie turns his nose up at wieners, I KNOW he’s in a bad way, so I cut my errands short and sped home, and Louie staggered into the house and collapsed over the air-conditioning vents and couldn’t be bothered to eat his breakfast.

“Food sucks, Mom,” he said.

As you must agree, that is very unlike Louie. (Not the coarse language, mind you, but his disdain for MEAT!)

Louie took no part in the day’s chores, even though I had lined up some of his favorites to amuse him. He didn’t help sort the dirty laundry, he didn’t rip the bed apart as I changed the sheets, he didn’t dig holes to China while I hacked away at the tree limb, and he didn’t even raise an inquiring ear when the mailman arrived. He just STEWED all morning (and started to smell like a sausage past its prime).

I had no choice but to haul him out for a Pre-Work Walk. Even if he wasn’t eating, he’d been guzzling GALLONS of water, so the walk was a preventive measure that couldn’t be skipped. But goodness gracious, he complained quite loudly — in colorful metaphors, the whole time we plodded through the park. And when we got home and I banned him from the shower so I could use the facilities myself, he was downright snarly.

“You need to keep a civil tongue in your head, young man,” I lectured as I packed up my provisions for the long night ahead.

He snorted like he couldn’t be bothered, and turned his back on me as I left. He didn’t even wish me goodbye. I was stunned.

And when I returned this evening, he wasn’t waiting for me in slobbering glee at the kitchen door, either.

“Louie!” I shouted in trepidation. “I’m home! I’m going to make your dinner! Come out, come out, wherever you are!!”

But Louie didn’t appear.

I searched the house in rising panic. Louie NEVER fails to greet me with sloppy kisses and his many legs crossed because he has to pee. In my own heat-induced hysteria, I was having visions of dog nappings and orc raids and living the rest of my days alone and friendless.

And then I heard his muffled voice through the bathroom door. “Mom? Did you break the heat wave?”

“No, Louie,” I said sadly. “It’s still hot as blazes out here.”

“Then I’m never coming out!” And that’s when he demanded that you send him a blizzard.

That’s the way it stands, Dad. Louie is locked in the shower. And if you don’t find a way to reason with the boy and resolve this, I may never shampoo again.

Your delicately perspiring,

Mom.

P.S. Since Louie has bolted the door, I wasn’t able to take a picture of him in the shower. So instead I’m sending you a photo of happier times: You and Louie grilling on the patio.

Pops replies:

Dear Mom:

I suggest you fire up the shower in the “public” bathroom because there is no end in sight for the horrible heat. Perhaps if you put some meat just outside the shower, the boy might see fit to come out. Who’da thought that your midnight stroll  would be the most rigorous of the day?

Tell Lou that Pops is failing him, that he simply cannot send a blizzard by special delivery.

Dad

P.S. That photo is quite a nice memory.

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Published in: on June 30, 2012 at 1:19 am  Leave a Comment  

June 28, from Louie, Day 27

Well, Pops,

Me ‘n’ Mom has had to delay our caterin’ corporation papers ‘cuz we been too busy pursuing a new career as …. LUMBERJACKS!!!!!!

Louie inspects the damage.

As Mom told you on the phone last night, I had just sent you my excitin’ letter about Bow Wow Beach ‘n’ I was nosin’ around the back yard for that infernal bunny when suddenly there was a mighty crack over my head ‘n’ a big WHOOSH of wind, ‘n’ the biggest gosh darn chewin’ stick come tumblin’ outta the sky ‘n’ nearly landed on my snout!

Mom come tearin’ outta the house yellin’, “LOUIE!! Are you ALL RIGHT?????” (She seems to be sayin’ that a lot this summer, doesn’t she?)

I was tremblin’ in my paws, ‘cuz truth be told, I did get a LITTLE scratch in my ear from a passin’ twig, but I bravely told Mom I was OK.

“I don’t believe you!” she said, ‘n’ she started clawin’ hysterically through the mass of leaves ‘n’ branches that was suddenly standin’ between her ‘n’ me.

Well, I couldn’t have her makin’ a motherly fuss over me when there was so many more excitin’ things to do — like pee on all them newly landed branches! — so I pulled her through the maze of leaves ‘n’ acorns over to the other side ‘n’ let her give me a quick inspection (keepin’ my ear flaps down so she didn’t see my scratch) ‘n’ when she was satisifed I was still in one piece, we proceeded to record the destruction.

Mi-RACK-ulously, this gargantuan limb didn’t hit the roof, or it woulda made a big hole over Mr. Rav for sure.

Say, Mom, where did this big stick come from?

‘N’ mi-RACK-ulously, it didn’t fall on the grillin’ side of the patio, or it woulda smashed all our chairs ‘n’ tables ‘n’ probably took out the bird feeders, too.

All things considered, Mom says it landed in a very good spot cleanup-wise. But since it was already gettin’ dark, we decided to leave the debris alone ‘n’ get a good night’s rest before haulin’ out our hatchets ‘n’ axes ‘n’ Jaws of Destruction.

After a quick hike through Sand Run this mornin’ ‘n’ a dash to many emporiums for our errands, we fortified ourselves with a pickin’-chicken-laced breakfast, ‘n’ then me ‘n’ Mom marched outside to begin our loggin’ chores.

Oh, gosh, Pops, it was hot ‘n’ heavy work. Mom would wack off a branch, I’d grab it in my mighty jaws ‘n’ drag it to the fence, ‘n’ then the both of us would heave it down the mountain to the railroad tracks. We musta made a gazillion trips like that, each one harder’n the last ‘cuz the temperature was risin’ dreadful fast. Finally a very tired ‘n’ sweaty Mom threw up her hands ‘n’ said, “I quit, Lou! I can’t do no more today!”

‘N’ she plopped down into a patio chair, pantin’.

‘N’ so did I.

After refreshin’ ourselves with lemonade ‘n’ ice cubes, we again inspected the damage, ‘n’ even though there’s still many, MANY branches to discard, we agreed that we got rid of maybe a third of it. (Well, Mom said it was a third. I’m not so good with fractions, so I’ll just haveta take her word for it.)

I woulda worked on it some more this afternoon while Mom was at that EWP, but she strictly forbid me from venturin’ out into the afternoon sun. She said I’d get a heat stroke. So against my wishes, she locked the back door ‘n’ ordered me to nap over the air-conditionin’ vents while she was gone.

Which I did. ‘N’ she was probably right to save me from my more rambunctious inclinations. ‘Cuz have I mentioned — IT’S REALLY HOT HERE????

Lumberjack Mom.

So now we’re gonna curl up in bed with our books, ‘n’ tomorrow, before the back yard turns into a blast furnace, we’re gonna recommence our labors. We might get it all cleaned up by next week.

At which point, we expect to get our lumberjack licenses, ‘n’ since loggin’ is such an important industry out where you live, we’re gonna hop a train for the West Coast ‘n’ start a new career destroyin’ our nation’s forests — right in your back yard.

Won’t that be fun?????

Can’t wait to see you, Pops!

Louie

Pops replies:

Oh Louie, that branch is monstrous, it’s gargantuan, it’s, it’s, it’s really really big. I’m so glad you didn’t get more than a scratch from it.

Hmm, doesn’t Mom look pleased in the photo. When she’s got those jaws of destruction in hand, Lou, you best cover up all your favorite parts. Ya just never know what she’s gonna cut off.

See you soon, Lou. I’ll get your lumberjack license ready.

Pops


Published in: on June 29, 2012 at 1:22 am  Leave a Comment  

June 27, from Louie, Day 26

Well, Pops, only two things worth mentionin’ happened today:

Me ‘n’ Mom nearly got kilt at the quarry (it wasn’t my fault — as I will explain. Honest!).

Louie heads for the water. (That’s Mom’s artfully placed shadow!)

‘N’ I made a bunch o’ new friends at Bow Wow Beach.

Ahem. No. 1. It was Mom’s day off, ‘n’ since she didn’t haveta watch the clock so’s she could get to that EWP on time, we took a leisurely drive up the valley to Deep Lock. It was already quite warm ‘n’ I was swelterin’ in my many fine furs, so Mom thought a shady hike through the woods up to the quarry would be just what I needed. (What I really needed was for her ‘n’ Mr. Rav to step on it so I could poop, but Mom was operatin’ on Summer Day Off Time, ‘n’ there was just no rushin’ her. Geez, but I was in agony by the time she parked Mr. Rav!)

Needless to say, the first five minutes was a blur as I dashed from bush to bush, ‘n’ it was a good thing we was in the woods where Mother Nature could take care o’ disposal, ‘cuz Mom didn’t have enough pockets to hold all o’ the bags it woulda took.

Anyway, once I was feelin’ better, we galloped up the trail all the way to the top of the quarry, ‘n’ I had set such a breathless pace for Mom that she was quite winded ‘n’ red-faced, so we both plopped down on the rim ‘n’ I fanned Mom with my tail until she felt better.

It was a lovely view into the quarry — despite the drought, the quarry was very green ‘n’ lush — ‘n’ Mom was just reachin’ for her camera, thinkin’ it would make a soothin’ landscape shot to send you when —

Maria arose from the grasses ‘n’ give her dainty head a graceful shake!!!!!

Mom! Where are my sunglasses???

“MARIA!!!!!” I howled, ‘n’ without thinkin’ of the consequences (‘cuz when you’re in love, you don’t), I dove straight over the edge!!!!!

Mom grabbed my bling in the nick o’ time, ‘n’ as I sailed out into nothin’ness, she dug her sturdy Reeboks into the dirt ‘n’ tried to reel me in.

But I was free-fallin’, ‘n’ my Milkbone-encrusted thighs was pullin’ her over the top. She couldn’t save me! She couldn’t stop! ‘N’ suddenly MOM was sailin’ over the rim of the quarry right after me! We were both headin’ for a big fat splat on the rocks below!

Only we’d been sittin’ on the top ledge, ‘n’ you know, Pops, it’s only about two feet from the top down to the next ledge. So our fall was really an anti-climax.

‘N’ Maria got clean away.

“Louie!” Mom wailed. “Are you all RIGHT?”

“I dunno, Mom,” I said, ‘cuz I was little startled by the fall. So Mom carefully inspected my front ‘n’ nether regions, ‘n’ I carefully sniffed at hers, ‘n’ we both concluded we had survived without a bruise nor a scratch.

But instead of bein’ GRATEFUL, like she oughta been, Mom spent the whole hike back to Mr. Rav lecturin’ me about Maria ‘n’ stickin’ to my own kind. Sheesh, that woman just don’t know when to let up!!!!!

No. 2. Our Evening at Bow Wow Beach.

Louie’s new swimmin’ buddy. (I’m the handsome dude on the left.)

It was getting darned toasty by suppertime, so after dinin’ on leftover turkey sandwiches ‘n’ salad, me ‘n’ Mom headed out to Stow for a little swim at Bow Wow Beach, ‘n’ BOY, was that park jumpin’! There was dogs runnin’ ‘n’ swimmin’ ‘n’ fetchin’ ‘n’ rasslin’ all over the place, ‘n’ I musta made a dozen brand-new friends (some without even humpin’ ’em first)! Words simply CANNOT describe the wunnerful time I had, so instead of even tryin’, I’m just gonna send you a couple pictures to show you. Mom’s loadin’ ’em into the computer right now, even as I finish off her ice cream cone. (Oh, ooops, I wasn’t supposed to tell you that. Oh wellllllllll.)

‘N’ as soon as she’s done with that, she’s gonna dish up some leftover chicken for my dessert, ‘n’ then we’re just gonna wait in gleeful anticipation for your phone call.

Except for nearly gettin’ kilt, it’s been a MOST satisfyin’ day, ‘n’ I just wish Mom could stay home with me every day. ‘Cuz even though she frequently gets mad at me (even when it’s not my fault), it’s still much more fun when she’s here.

Your happy to be alive,

Louie

Pops replies:

Oh, Louie, we’ve talked about Maria many, many times. You need to understand that some things just aren’t meant to be.  Besides, you need to stick to your own kind — dontcha think?

As for the beach, oh my, but you did have fun. Lots of new friends. But, yes, we need to find a way to bolt sunglasses to that lumpy head of yours.

Pops

Published in: on June 27, 2012 at 9:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

June 26, from Louie, Day 25

Dear Pops,

Your financial worries in retirement is over!

To heck with stocks ‘n’ annuities ‘n’ 401(k)s! Me ‘n’ Mom is gonna go into business together as — CATERERS!!!!!!

Food ‘n’ Louie ‘n’ money. What could be more AWESOME?

See, this is how I figured it out.

Mom was pretty bushed this mornin’ after our hike ‘n’ our many errands, ‘n’ she didn’t even have time for our usual story hour with President Lincoln before goin’ to that EWP ‘cuz she was organizin’ a party for her many co-workers ‘n’ our storytime had to be scuttled so’s she could whip up tons’ ‘n’ tons of food as her contribution. She was pretty daunted by the many sandwiches ‘n’ salads she had to construct, ‘n’ the clock was tickin’ way too fast for her to get it done all by herself.

So sniffin’ food ‘n’ many scraps in my future, I manfully give up my mornin’ nap in the foyer ‘n’ said, “Settle down, Mom. Catch your breath. How can I help?”

She gave me a manic look. “You can’t help, Lou! I’m cookin’ ‘n’ I’m runnin’ outta time! Oh, how do I get myself into these messes?”

‘N’ I thought she was gonna cry.

“Mom,” I said, placin’ a calmin’ paw on her shoulder, “you ‘n’ me is a team. Just tell me what to do.” ‘N’ my snout was already twitchin’ at the many scents of MEAT driftin’ offa the counter.

“I dunno, Louie,” Mom said. “This is pretty demandin’ work.”

But I was already whippin’ out my chef’s hat ‘n’ apron. “Bring it on, Mom!” I said.

Well, what choice did she have, Pops? You wasn’t here, ‘n’ this was a crisis. ‘N’ she just had to ignore the fact that I was already atwitter with thoughts of turkey ‘n’ chicken.

“You can’t swipe none, Lou,” Mom lectured sternly. “This is people food, not party favors for dogs.”

“Cross my heart, Mom,” I said most innocently, even though I was already slobberin’ through my apron.

Louie cherry-pickin’.

So Mom set up an assembly line on the counter — little buns ‘n’ stacks of stuff to put in them — ‘n’ together we started buildin’ her sandwiches. Mom would put a piece o’ turkey on a sandwich, I’d swipe a piece o’ turkey for me, Mom would lay a piece of cheese on the sandwich, I’d palm a piece of cheese for me, Mom would smear some mustard on the sandwich, ‘n’ I’d inhale another piece of turkey for me. Why, Pops, in NO TIME we had two dozen sandwiches built ‘n’ tucked tenderly away in Mom’s Tupperware.

“Golly, Lou,” Mom said, surveying the empty meat ‘n’ cheese wrappin’s strewn around the counter, “I thought I bought a lot of food, but we barely had enough!”

“Good thing I was helpin’ you,” I said, ‘n’ discreetly burped.

But wait, there was more! Me ‘n’ Mom dumped bags ‘n’ bags of lawn clippin’s into a big bowl, ‘n’ sprinkled ’em with tomatoes ‘n’ cheese ‘n’ croutons, ‘n’ then, just as I was losin’ innerest, Mom hauled out the leftover chicken from last night, ‘n’ together we picked through it, savin’ only the best parts for her salad. I, of course, snarfed up the gristly pieces so no one at work would be offended by bad poultry.

“Look at that, Louie!” Mom said in wonderment. “A perfect salad! ‘N’ we did it so fast, we still have time for a Pre-Work Walk!”

‘N’ we slapped high-fives while I indiscreetly passed gas.

So it was while we was dartin’ around the neighborhood (dartin’ ‘cuz Mom was still cuttin’ it close time-wise) it come to me in a hot flash! What does Louie like to do best?

OK, what does Louie like to do second-best? You got it, Pops. EAT!!!!!

So me ‘n’ Mom is gonna take out the corporation papers tomorrow ‘n’ turn ourselves into a caterin’ business. (I’d go into business just myself so Mom could really retire, but since she did 95 percent of the buildin’ sandwiches work, I guess I gotta take her on as the hired help. But she’s only gettin’ minimum wage. I can’t be no bleedin’ heart liberal here, or we won’t make enough money to get Louie a convertible ‘n’ maybe a Harley — with a side car for you.)

So whaddya think, Pops? Isn’t that a grand plan? Mom does the cookin’ ‘n’ Louie does the tastin’, ‘n’ we both get paid for it.

Far out ‘n’ creative, right? I can already feel the pounds packin themselves onto my hips.

Your (burp! burp! BURP!)

Louie.

P.S. Me ‘n’ Mom had all our hands full cookin’, so she never had a chance to picture me in my chef’s gear. But here’s a photo that’s just as good ‘cuz it’s still of me ‘n’ food, ‘n’ what’s more authentic than THAT?

Pops replies:

Oh Louie, I think this is a GREAT idea. I can just see it: You and me toolin’ around on your Harley (me in the sidecar, of course), while Mom makes and delivers all the food. Perfect retirement for all of us. I like the division of labor and I like the many foods we’ll consume. Works for me.

Pops

P.S. Uh Lou, remember what I told you when I left? You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, BUT YOU CAN’T FOOL MOM!

Published in: on June 27, 2012 at 1:21 am  Leave a Comment  

June 25, from Louie, Day 24

Dear Dad,

Mom says I’m just an ANIMAL.

But geez, what does she EXPECT? I got four legs ‘n’ a tail. I AM an animal.

Sheesh.

See, it happened like this.

Me ‘n’ Mom hit the road. (I’m the one with the black hair.)

Since it was her day off ‘n’ the weather was unseasonably mild, she decided we’d take a proper hike this mornin’ up on the Buckeye Trail. I thought that was rather brave of her, seein’ as how the last time we hiked that trail, we was nearly swallowed whole by the big black snake. (You remember the one, don’tcha? The one with the foot-long fangs?) But since I got pretty big fangs of my own, I wasn’t gonna fight her. I was just deliriously happy to be snufflin’ through the woods instead of hoofin’ it around the neighborhood on cement sidewalks.

Well, Mom was concentratin’ so hard on black snakes that mighta been coiled up in the vegetation that she never even SEEN the possum right in the middle of the trail.

Until it was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too late.

I let loose with a primeval growl that shattered the eardrums of chipmunks ‘n’ tree lizards for miles around ‘n’ pounced onto that possum with the full force of all 72.9 of my hard-muscled pounds. My mighty jaws clamped themselves around his meaty belly ‘n’ I spun into a frenzy of head-shakin’ ‘n’ snappin’, determined to break his ugly little wrinkled neck.

“LOUIE!” Mom hollered as she was whipped offa her feet. “No no no no NO!”

But I wouldn’t stop. Somethin’ come over me, just like it did the night I cornered Rocky, ‘n’ I went blind with my ancient killer instinct, ‘n’ I whirled ‘n’ whirled ‘n’ whirled while Mom yanked ‘n’ yanked ‘n’ yanked on my bling.

“Louie, for God’s sake!” she yelled. “Put the #$%^&%$ down! It’s already dead!!!!!”

Her words sliced through my maddened brain ‘n’ I froze in mid-spin. “Already dead????” I mumbled around a mouthful of possum hair.

“Yes, dead!” Mom spat as she twisted her arms back into their sockets.

“Eeeeeuuwww!” I spat back, ‘n’ sprinkled her with dead possum furs.

‘N’ I kicked the possum (which I could now see was covered with bugs) into the brush.

Even though I was disgusted, I was juiced, ‘n’ I led Mom on a hot pace on the return loop back to the parkin’ lot, ‘n’ she was grousin’ all the way ‘cuz her sockets was sore, ‘n’ that musta been what distracted her, ‘cuz she never even saw the baby bunny nestled in the grass.

But I did. ‘N’ I LUNGED once again!

Pop! Pop! Pop! went Mom’s arms.

“Loooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuieeeeeee!” she wailed.

Well, gosh darn it, Pops, I woulda had that little bunny (my jowls was already waterin’ at the prospect of FRESH meat) but all that dead weight at Mom’s end o’ the leash slowed me down, ‘n’ the little bunny went hippity-hop into the forest without losin’ a single hair.

“Mom,” I complained, “you’re crampin’ my style!”

“YOUR style?” she sputtered. ‘N’ she just stood there with her arms hangin’ down to her ankles.

“Ooops,” I said, ‘n’ I discreetly averted my eyes as she went through the cumbersome process — yet again — of screwin’ her arms back into where they belonged.

So Mom marched me back to Mr. Rav ‘n’ hoisted me into the back seat without the courtesy of offerin’ me a lap at the water bowl.

We went straight home, without stoppin’ on any errands ‘cuz Mom was quite put out, ‘n’ she served me breakfast with no enhancements ‘cuz she said I didn’t deserve none.

“I must say, Lou,” Mom observed as I poked half-heartedly at my kibbles, “you been displayin’ your less than sweet side this summer — first Rocky ‘n’ now the possum — ‘n’ I’m not sure I like it.”

“I’m just bein’ a dog,” I grumbled. “Dad would unnerstand.”

“Well, you can just put a cork in your dogginess until Dad gets home,” she sniffed. “Let HIM pop his arm sockets the next time you try gettin’ yourself a Rocky. You’re just an animal, Lou, an ANIMAL!”

‘N’ she stomped off in a snit to vacuum the bedroom.

So I had to spend the rest of the day tryin’ to make up for my misbehavior, ‘n’ I musta succeeded, ‘cuz there was pickin’ chicken for dinner.

But gosh, Pops, tryin’ to keep on Mom’s good side is a tremendous burden.

She must not have an inner killer like us guys do.

Your sorely misunderstood,

Louie

Pops replies:

Pops hikin’ to the top o’ the world in California.

Oh Louie, you are SUCH an animal. And I would expect nothing less. But possum?! You have got to be kidding, my boy. You don’t want to mess with no possum, dead or alive. Those are mean and nasty critters — even worse than Rocky. Mom did the right thing dragging you away, as she always does.

Pops

P.S. Mom is getting to be quite the photographer. Yet another magnificent photo. How does she do that?

Another P.S. Here’s a photo of your old Pops – and old he is – from his hike up to Inspiration Point, looking down at Duck Lake.

Published in: on June 25, 2012 at 8:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

June 24, from Louie, Day 23

Dear Pops,

I’m never goin’ back to the dog park.

It’s just poopy.

‘N’ I don’t mean that in an affectionate kind of way.

I was soooooooooooo excited when Mom got out my gay collar this mornin’, ‘cuz I KNEW that meant either the dog park or Bow Wow Beach, ‘n’ since we NEVER go swimmin’ in the mornin’, by process of elimination, my knuckle brain figured it was the dog park, ‘n’ I was just DANCIN’ around Mr. Rav, lookin’ forward to rompin’ with the old gang. (Well, the old gang, except for Dingo of the Herniated Butt, who is still dead).

But when we turned into the parkin’ lot, there was only TWO cars there.

“This is most peculiar, Lou,” Mom said in disappointment. “It’s Sunday mornin’. The park oughta be hoppin’!”

Well, I don’t know what Sunday mornin’ has to do with it, but my spirits plummeted even lower’n Mom’s. This was my big outtin’ of the day, ‘n’ there was NO ONE to play with! Oh, there was a strange-lookin’ hound with a black face like a monkey’s, ‘n’ he was kinda friendly, only his human decided to leave just as we was arrivin’. So that left only Sophie, a comely little bitch, but she was overprotective of her chew toys ‘n’ didn’t want me nosin’ around.

So I glumly started my rounds, peein’ here ‘n’ poopin’ there, ‘n’ gazin’ longin’ly at the parkin’ lot. Where was MARLEY? Where was JAKE? Gosh darn it, where was old One-Eyed Fat Annie ‘n’ all them other regular folks? It was a beautiful mornin’ ‘n’ for about the 823rd time since you been gone, NO ONE WAS THERE!!!!!

Mom just shook her head. “I dunno, Lou. Maybe when everythin’ was shut down for the water-drainin’ ‘n’ grass plantin’, everyone just got outta the habit of comin’ to the park.”

“That’s just stupid, Mom,” I sniffed. “There’s no construction goin’ on NOW ‘n’ they all oughta BE here!” ‘N’ I stomped my many paws in petulance.

“Well, they’re not,” Mom said, “so you might as well go play with Sophie.”

“Hmph,” I said. “She’s stuck up over her toys. ‘N’ she’s a girl.”

Mom patted my head. “I know, Lou. Girls just don’t know how to play like you guys. But go try anyway.”

Louie all alone at the dog park.

So I wandered over to Sophie ‘n’ sniffed her butt, but it was nothin’ like swappin’ stories with the boys. (Gosh, Pops, it’s been so long since I seen any of the regulars, I haven’t even been able to tell ’em about my death-defyin’ encounter with Rocky. They’d be MIGHTY impressed with THAT, let me tell you!)

Sophie’s human was gettin’ hot, so before I could tease Sophie into a hump, even THEY left. ‘N’ it was just me ‘n’ Mom, circlin’ the burnt grass ‘n’ wistfully rememberin’ the good ol’ days. When dogs would run like the wind ‘n’ howl in four-part harmony ‘n’ pee in unsuspectin’ humans’ coffee cups.

We hung on as long as we could, thinkin’ once the church bells stopped ringin’, the more pious dogs would show up, but after three rounds, the parkin’ lot was still bare ‘n’ Mom was startin’ to burn.

Literally.

So we slunk out to the parkin’ lot, just in time to meet the Old Man with Buster ‘n’ Rascal ‘n’ his stepdog the cocker spaniel.

“You aren’t leavin’!” he hollered to us.

Mom sadly apologized. “I gotta go to work.”

The Old Man angrily shook his weed wacker at us. “No one comes here anymore!” he complained, ‘n’ stumbled off to attack the weeds along the fences.

Me ‘n’ Mom went home, ‘cuz there was no reason to wait for anyone else. The park has been abandoned. ‘N’ I’m gonna abandon it, too.

It was a stupid old park anyway. ‘N’ the old gang was just a bunch o’ stupid old dogs, too. I don’t care if I never ever see them again. ‘Cuz I got many better things to do with my time. I’m just not sure yet what — but I’ll think of somethin’.

‘N’ then they’ll be sorry they run off on me.

Your lonely,

Louie

Pops replies:

Deer grazin’ outside Pops’ window.

Oh Louie, I know it’s difficult being lonely. You just have to be patient. The gang will return to the dog park and there will be plenty of pals to romp with ‘n’ smell butts with ‘n’ swap Rocky stories with. You just have to be patient. Like I always tell you, Lou, when we are on our sunset hikes: All good things come to those who wait. Soon it will be September.

Pops

P.S. Now don’t be gettin’ all misty eyed with this photo, Lou. Your old flame has not moved to California.

Published in: on June 25, 2012 at 12:49 am  Leave a Comment  

June 23, from Louie, Day 22

WeLl, PoPs,

It’S bEeN a DaY oF mAnY uPs ‘N’ dOwNs.

Up: I snuggle up against Mom for one of her ‘xtra special gosh-I-sure-do-miss-Pops belly rubs. Woo-HOO!!!!!

Down: It’s over way too soon ‘n’ Mom boots me outta bed.

Up: I burst through the back door to chase the BUNNY!!!!

Down. He isn’t there. Gosh, I hope them coyotes haven’t got to him first. That would be MOST disappointin’.

Up: Mom blings me up ‘n’ we tool down to the valley in Mr. Rav for an invigoratin’ mornin’ hike.

Down: Mr. Rav slows down in the very near vicinity of the VETS! I go ballistic.

Up: Mr. Rav turns into Bruegger’s instead. WOW, that was close!

Down: Mom forgets to read the weather forecast ‘n’ picks a trail with ABSOLUTELY NO SHADE! My many black furs wilt in the heat ‘n’ I nearly swoon as I stop to poop in the daisies. Mom has to throw me over her shoulder ‘n’ carry me back to Mr. Rav.

Up: Mom has remembered to top off the water bowl, ‘n’ I lap down a gazillion gallons as soon as she dumps me unceremoniously onto the hot asphalt of the parkin’ lot.

“Thanks, Mom,” I burp.

“Hmph!” Mom says. “You coulda saved a swallow for me!”

Down: An SUV most rudely pulls out in front of us as we take off on our errands. Mom slams on the brakes ‘n’ Louie summersalts into the front seat. “OH, LOU!” Mom gasps. “Are you all right?”

Up: I count all my fangs ‘n’ claws, ‘n’ nothin’s broke but that tooth I chipped on Rocky. I scramble back into position. “Hit it, Mom,” I say, ‘n’ we’re off!!!!

Down: We stop at your “office” for potty patrol, ‘n’ I can SMELL you EVERYWHERE. I race around corners, ‘xpectin’ to see your smilin’ face. The scent is so strong, I can’t BELIEVE you’re not there, ‘n’ I howl in disappointment.

Up: Mom consoles me with an extra big helpin’ of leftover ham for my breakfast. Yum. (‘Course, I still miss you, but at least my tummy’s full!)

Down: Mom slaps my snout for chewin’ on her red underwear (which is the color of today for the laundry).

Up: I retaliate by runnin’ outside ‘n’ excavatin’ a massive escape route to China. (Try fillin’ in THEM holes, Mom!)

Storytime with Mom ‘n’ Mr. Lincoln.

Down: Mom insists on more storytime. Mr. Lincoln isn’t sure he’s gonna get renominated. DOES ANYONE CARE????? Bring on Lassie, for gosh sakes!

Up: Mom says to heck with yard work ‘n’ instead gives me an outstandin’ brushin’ to rid my hide of all the superfluous furs I been growin’ in the heat. Hair flies all over the livin’ room ‘n’ up into both our snouts. We sneeze ourselves into hysterics.

Down: Mom goes off to take a shower. Louie knows what that means. EWP. I curl up on the big bed to pout.

Up: Mom knows I got a long night ahead of me, so before leavin’, she gives me a treat — a toy made out of two of her holiest, most stinkiest socks. Omigod, is that heaven, or what?

Down: The socks is in shreds before Mom is even outta the driveway ‘n’ I’m bored. I sit ‘n’ wait at the front window. For many many minutes. HOURS even. Afternoon turns into evenin’. Evenin’ turns into night. My tummy is growlin’ something fierce. My throat is parched. ‘N’ I really got to pee. It’s a real dog’s life, Pops, ‘n’ it’s no fun. Except….

Up: I hear a familiar rumble down Canyon Trail! Lights swoop over the pachysandra! The garage door groans ‘n’ slowly lifts!

Mom is home! Mom is home!

I jump all over her at the back door, ‘n’ she leans down in gives me a joyous hug hello. It’s like she’s never been gone.

That’s the wonder of dog time, Pops. All the bad moments is gone in a flash, like they never ever happened. You humans could take a lesson from Louie. It’d make this summer go a whole lot faster!

Your philosophical,

Lou

Pops replies:

Oh Louie, turmoil sures seems to rule the day — all your days, actually. Still, you managed to get Mom to sling you over her shoulder again. You are one very clever canine, my boy.

Pops

P.S. What a terrific photo you took of that 213-year-old person! And Mom looks terrific, too!

Addendum from Louie:

Mom says it’s a darned good thing you made a distinction between her ‘n’ that old Abe Lincoln man. Otherwise, you’d be in REALLY deep doo-doo.

Published in: on June 24, 2012 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

June 22, from Louie, Day 21

Pops,

You have created a monster.

I hold you PERSONALLY responsible for this, ‘n’ you must come home IMMEDIATELY ‘n’ put a stop to it.

Or you’re gonna hear from Bruno.

Ever since you give Mom that camera ‘n’ maliciously taught her how to put pictures on the computer, I haven’t had a moment’s peace. I can’t pee, I can’t poop, I can’t lick my nether regions without Mom stickin’ that camera in my butt — literally — ‘n’ snappin’ a photo.

Take yesterday, for instance, when we was at Bow Wow Beach. All I wanted to do was frolick in the water ‘n’ get in a hump or two. But would Mom leave me in peace? Noooooooooooooo. She followed me all around the pond, ‘n’ whenever I wasn’t lookin’, she was flashin’ that gosh-darned light in my face.

“Moooommmm,” I protested. “You still got a GAZILLION perfectly good pictures from our LAST trip to Bow Wow Beach that you haven’t sent to Pops. Leave me alone!” ‘N’ I turned my back on her.

“But Louie,” she said, in that irritatin’ tone of voice she uses when she thinks she’s right ‘n’ you’re wrong, “those pictures is from many, many days ago, ‘n’ we need to give Pops FRESH pictures, not old ones. So SMILE!!!!”

Louie as happy as a dog can be!

‘N’ she shoved the camera into my snout.

Now Pops, I’m a reasonable kinda guy, but what difference does it make in the great scheme of things if the picture she sends you tonight is really two weeks old. Huh? Huh? It’s still Louie, ‘n’ you’ll be quite happy, right?

“Nooooooooooo,” Mom said. “Your letters have gotta be authentic, ‘n’ if we’re gonna tell Pops what you did today, then we gotta have a picture from today!”

‘N’ snap snap snap goes the camera!!!!! Puttin’ off ALL o’ my more camera shy friends.

I reminded her that durin’ our first three summers, we never EVER sent Pops pictures, ‘cuz she was still technologically ignorant, ‘n’ we had to make do with the pictures you occasionally sent us.

“You’re right,” Mom agreed. ” ‘N’ I’m sure it’s ‘cuz of the distinct lack of illustrations that no agents would buy your book! So this year, we’re gonna document all your fine adventures with pictures!”

‘N’ snap snap snap, she gets another shot of me peein’.

Sheesh. Is there no stoppin’ this woman? It’s a gross violation of my privacy, I tell you! What if every time you visited the public restroom, Mom was right behind you with the camera. Huh? Huh? How would you like THAT?

“Oh, hush up,” Mom says, ” ‘n’ show me your most photogenic side!”

Used to be, we had a regular routine before goin’ out on our walks.

“Hat?” Mom would say.

“Check,” I’d say.

“Car keys?” Mom would say.

“Check,” I’d say.

“Poop bags?” Mom would say.

“In triplicate,” I’d say.

Now it’s “Hat? Car keys? Poop bags? CAMERA??????”

I can’t get no relief, ‘n’ I just CAN’T TAKE IT NO MORE!!!!! You gotta tell Mom to lay off, or my union rep is gonna step in, ‘n’ HE says there’s some very serious issues here, if not of invasion of privacy, then of division of royalties. ‘Cuz you just can’t go puttin’ Louie’s private parts on the Innernet without no recompense!

So DO somethin’, Pops, or else I’ll have to throttle her.

Your most agitated,

Louie

Pops replies:

Oh Louie! No, no, no … NO!

Mom is making you an international star on the Internet. Why, throughout the canine world, all the fellas are really, really jealous of you and your photo stardom. Next, Mom is going to learn to use the video on her camera and then you can become a YouTube sensation. Oh Lou, you are one lucky dog to get so much attention. Besides, isn’t a little loss of privacy worth all the smiles brought to your Pops’ face each morning? Now, not only do I get to enjoy your words of wisdom (all 87.5 percent true), but I also get to see all your many handsome sides.

Thank you, Lou, for being so understanding. (Tell Bruno I’ve moved to Alaska.)

Pops

Published in: on June 23, 2012 at 1:16 am  Leave a Comment  

June 21, from Louie, Day 20

Dear Pops,

Snippets from a Lazy Summer Day With Mom, Part II (recorded on the hour, for a diff’rent perspective).

9 a.m. The sun is telling me it’s almost time for the alarm box to squawk, so I sneak up into the big bed ‘n’ wrap myself around Mom’s feet, so’s she’ll think I been sleepin’ with her all night long instead of playin’ Twister in the shed with the spiders. Hee hee hee.

10 a.m. Louie bursts through the back door for the first official pee of the mornin’ ‘n’ IMMEDIATELY scares up the bunny. Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark!!! Mom just holds her head ‘n’ reaches for the coffee pot. It’s gonna be a LONG hot day.

11 a.m. We’re hikin’ through the Lower 40 of O’Neil’s Woods when suddenly two muscled strangers scramble up the banks of Yellow Run, clutchin’ rocks in their fists. Me ‘n’ Mom stop in startlement. “Yikes!” Mom telepaths to me. “They’re gonna brain us with those rocks!”

“I’ll protect you, Mom,” I telepath back, get between her ‘n’ the two hunks ‘n’ snarl.

“Nice doggie,” one says nervously in a touristy German accent. ‘N’ they both skeedaddle up the path.

Me ‘n’ Mom slap high-fives.

Louie licks his chops at Bow Wow Beach.

Noon — I help Mom with the chores by barfin’ up breakfast on the rug.

“EEEEUUUUWW!” Mom says.

“It’s too hot for wieners,” I say, ‘n’ barf up a second helpin’.

1 p.m. — Mom is ignorin’ me by takin’ a break with her puzzle, so I go out to do some gardenin’.

“LOUIE!!!!!” Mom squeals as clods of dirt hit the back window. Serves her right for ignorin’ me.

2 p.m. Mom disappears into the shower. I’m immediately suspicious. If it’s her day off, what’s she gotta get clean for?

3 p.m. I pace morosely around the front door. Everythin’ is SUPPOSED to be about me ‘n’ her today, but 15 minutes ago, she slipped out to Mr. Rav for some “me time,” ‘n’ I’m all alone. I don’t like this. What’s this “me time” silliness?

4 p.m. In retaliation, I’m munchin’ on Mom’s puzzle book when the garage door creaks open ‘n’ Mr. Rav sails into the garage. Oooops! Louie’s gotta swallow the evidence!!

5 p.m. Mom is dicin’ up ham for one of her magic one-skillet dinners. I accidentally bump her thigh ‘n’ a piece of ham goes PLOP! onto the floor. I lick it up. Then I accidentally bump her other thigh, ‘n’ ANOTHER piece of ham drops miraculously to the floor.

“You keep this up, Lou,” Mom threatens as I lick up the second piece, “there isn’t gonna be any meat left for dinner!” I just smile innocently ‘n’ burp.

6 p.m. It’s storytime while me ‘n’ Mom digest dinner. Abe Lincoln is very ill, but Grant ‘n’ Sherman make him feel better with stupendous victories. Gosh, but this Civil War is ENDLESS, isn’t it?

Louie ‘n’ the guys at Bow Wow Beach.

7 p.m. Mom comes through with a special treat, ‘n’ at the stroke of seven, Louie is chargin’ through the gate at Bow Wow Beach ‘n’ divin’ into the water. Any of you guys wanna hump?????

8 p.m. We just got home, ‘n’ Louie is scarfin’ up the bottom half of Mom’s ice cream cone. (Before you criticize, Pops, Mom says it’s the best darned value for a dollar in the whole city, ‘n’ I surely gotta agree. Dessert for two for the price of one!)

8:59 p.m.  Mom’s pourin’ a glass of Red Juice ‘n’ I’m gettin’ her the phone ‘cuz at……

9 p.m. It’s time to call Pops!!!!!

Your humpty-dumpty,

Louie

Pops replies:

Pops at work. He’s so handsome in his uniform!

Oh Louie, ham ‘n’ barfin’ ‘n’ Bow Wow Beach! Does it get any better than that? Oh, ‘n’ clods of dirt against the back window. Oh, ‘n’ ice cream! How could I forget ice cream? You had one terrific day.

Pops

P.S. What a magnificent tongue, Lou. I now have a new photo for the wallpaper on my computer.

P.P.S. Here’s a photo for you. It’s just Pops at work. Just like all the other Pops-At-Work photos from every year. Oh well.

Published in: on June 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

June 20, from Louie, Day 19

Dear Pops,

Snippets from a lazy summer day with Mom (brought to you on the half-hour, ‘cuz that seems to be the way Mom keeps track of time):

9:30 a.m.: The alarm box squawks. Louie leaps into the big bed ‘n’ licks Mom’s eyes awake, then stretches out for his first belly rub of the day. Splen-DIF-erous!!!

10:30 a.m.: The crotchety old lady raps loudly on her window ‘n’ shakes her finger angrily at Mom, but Louie blissfully poops in her ivy bed anyway. Ahhhhhhhhhh, relief!!!!

11:30 a.m.: Mom chases Louie up the hall, yellin’ “Bring back my dish rag! Bring back my dish rag!” Hee hee hee.

12:30 p.m.: Mom stuffs Louie into Mr. Rav, but instead of turnin’ toward the mountains of the Cuyahoga, we hit the highway. We’re headin’ to Massillon to see the boys!

1:30 p.m.: “Louie!” Uncle Bob says in joyous welcome, ‘n’ he ‘n’ Uncle Tim make such a fuss over my sleek hike-sculpted physique ‘n’ my frizzy humid summer ‘do, I don’t even notice Mom slip away. Fortunately, before I can rip up the boys’ house in my despair, she triumphantly returns with — PIZZA!!!!!! (My favorite, sprinkled with many, many pepperonis. Yum!).

Louie waits politely for Uncle Bob to share his pizza.

2:30 p.m.: Mom gazes in wonder with the boys at the Game Show Network while I slip off to Uncle Bob’s room to nap ‘n’ let my pepperonis digest.

3:30 p.m.: Uncle Tim tears himself away from the TV to go to work. Uncle Bob is noddin’ off. Mom surreptitiously hides pieces of pizza in her purse for tonight’s dinner.

4:30 p.m.: We’re toolin’ down Tallmadge Avenue, headin’ for home. Mom’s cranked down all the windows ‘n’ we’re singin’ along lustily with Bon Jovi. Pedestrians stare at us in awe.

5:30 p.m.: Mom chases me out to the back yard so’s she can mop the kitchen floor. I protest — until I see the bunny! ‘N’ then we’re off to the races!!!!! Bark bark bark bark bark!

6:30 p.m.: It’s storytime while me ‘n’ Mom let the floor dry. I curl up at Mom’s feet ‘n’ listen, positively MESMERIZED, as she recites the Gettysburg Address. (Page 448. Only 292 to go!)

7:30 p.m.: It’s coolin’ off. The temperature’s only in the lower 80s. Mom says, what the heck, ‘n’ takes me to the dog park for a romp with a coupla fellas who didn’t wanna do anything but hump. I fit right in!

8:30 p.m.: Mom detours to McDonald’s (“Well, our diet’s already been shot today with pizza, right?” she says by justification) ‘n’ we get an ice cream cone. I wait impatiently for her to lick her half, ‘n’ finally, FINALLY, as we’re turnin’ into the driveway, she tosses me the cone! All mine! Double yum!

‘N’ now I’m wrappin’ up this letter so’s Mom can feed me my kibbles ‘n’ wieners (she’s promisin’ proper MEAT tomorrow), ‘n’ then we’ll retire to the big bed for another belly rub ‘n’ a companionable night of readin’. (My book is the Hounds of the Baskervilles. Quite excitin’! I hope the hounds win!)

That’s it from the homefront, Pops. No big adventures. But sometimes, it’s better like that.

Your pizza-packin’,

Louie

Pops replies:

Pops lustin’ after another dog. (Sniff! Sob!)

Oh Louie, splenDIFerous indeed. This sounds like a most excellent day – especially since Mom didn’t have to go to the EWP. I wish every day could be this much fun for you.

Pops

P.S. I’m not sure why, but I saw this dog and I thought of mischief and then I thought of you, Lou.

Published in: on June 20, 2012 at 8:50 pm  Leave a Comment