My Maine vacation is over. After a rough beginning, it ended well, two clear sunny days in the upper 60’s. I return to Short Pump with several ugly bruises, 4 pounds heavier, but much more relaxed.
I see from a sweep of my news sources that nothing has changed since I left. The Israelis and Palestinians are still at it in Gaza. Our Secretary of State is still an idiot. Nothing has been done about the southern border except Congress throwing some money at the thing. The stock market shed 400 points. A famous basketball player broke his leg rather gruesomely. A famous golfer left the PGA tour for treatment of a cocaine addiction. Apparently, there is an Ebola outbreak in Africa some place and (gasp!) an American doctor has contracted it and has been allowed to reenter the country, proving that we will literally allow anyone into America. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddles masses…your violently ill with communicable diseases, yearning to be free…and maybe score some free stuff. The New Colossus indeed!
So now my new life begins, the one with no children claimed as dependents on my tax return. Kaitlin is married and living in Columbia, SC. Patrick is graduated and eagerly awaiting permanent entry into the job market in Nashville, TN. Pam and I did all we could for them to give them what they needed to succeed in life. Now it’s up to them to make something of themselves. Meanwhile, Pam and I have to decide what we want to be now that we’re all grown up. I mean, besides getting a puppy.
In the thirty years of our marriage, we have owned two golden retrievers, Murphy for 14 years and Molly for 11 and a half. Molly has been gone for over a year now, the wedding madness is over. It’s time. A few weeks ago when I shared our desire for another golden on Facebook, we were bombarded with advice, (both kind and vaguely judgmental) to get a rescue dog and avoid evil breeders. This “get a rescue dog” business seems the latest trend in fashionable West End causes, right up there with “gluten-free,” “peanut allergies,” and “Monsanto is the Anti-Christ.” Listen, I get it, there are thousands of unwanted and abused dogs living on borrowed time in animal shelters all over the country. Many of them would make fine pets. But when Pam and I had our two children, there were millions of unwanted and abused children living on borrowed time in orphanages all over the country. Many of them would have made fine children.
But we wanted our own kids. It didn’t mean that we didn’t care about the kids in the orphanages, we just wanted our own kids. Well, we want a golden retriever puppy, about eight weeks old that we can bring home and train ourselves, just like we did with Murphy and Molly. It doesn’t make us heartless and indifferent to suffering dogs everywhere. It just means that we love the smell of puppy breath, and we want a new dog that we can be best buds with for the next 11-14 years of our lives.But, fear not. We will make sure that he is fed gluten-free dog food, and we will have him tested for peanut allergies.