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This column was written in a swirling cloud of chaos as our daughter, Charlotte, and her husband, Andrew, have just arrived for "our half" of the holidays with the grand-puppies in tow.
As is the case with many a young couple that settles far away from either's closest kin, they are spending the season driving a gigantic triangle. The 2,200-mile circuit runs from their home in the Carolinas to New England to the Midwest and back home, and while the two of them have become seasoned road warriors over the past few years their travels have been complicated just a bit with the addition of two, now pony-sized, Belgian Malinois puppies.
Folks who follow this column will recognize the recurring theme of us being up to our eyes in animals. This was actually by design. Kristin and I had a good idea what we were getting into those many decades ago when our relationship first began, as evidenced by the following poem I penned back in the day. It looks like Charlotte and Andrew may be following very closely in our footsteps!
A Zoo For Two
Doggy on the sofa.
Doggy on the bed.
My dogs ignore the cold, hard floor
they sleep with me instead.
Parakeet in silver cage.
Parakeet in air.
My parakeet surprises guests
by landing in their hair!
A lame crow in the basement.
A worm farm in the shed.
Crickets bought for fishing bait
end up as pets instead.
Cats explore the bread box.
Cats explore the trash.
Cats climb up the tablecloth
making things go "crash,"
Minnows in a bucket.
Minnows by the score.
Minnows scattered by the cats,
flop all around the floor.
Turtles, snakes and field mice,
and birds with broken wings,
into my house I have been known
to bring most anything.
My mom said, when I was a boy,
Mom said of my zoo,
She said, "You'll have a wife someday,
and zoo days will be through!"
My wife comes from a mink farm.
My wife saves baby birds.
She swims with frogs and kisses dogs,
In case you haven't heard.
Now varmints find a home with me
At twice the normal rate,
For two zookeepers made their vows
And now cohabitate!
(Want to make your New Year even happier? Check out John's weekly podcast "Out There In It" on TheVoiceOfHolmes-County.com)