A dog’s life!

When she sees us pull up in our car, she gets on her hind legs and claws at the screen door like she hasn’t seen us in years. She’s absolutely giddy with excitement. I worry that she’s going to slice a hole in the screen, or worse, hurt herself. When the door finally opens, she races down the steps to race around each of our feet and then rolls over for a belly rub.

In return, we can’t wait to see Nittany, our tiny Bichon Frise – Lhasa Apso mixed dog. As we hurried home from our trip, exhausted from our hours-long trip in the car, we reminisced about the day we brought Nittany home and joked about how she’s been for my in-laws, who’ve kept her on this weekend trip. When we pull up, we jump out of the car just as excited to see her.

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Who’s got who wrapped around their heart?

In the short seven years since Nittany has come into our lives, she’s managed to worm her way into her hearts. We’re supposedly the human owners in this relationship, but she pretty much has the run of the place.

Who owns who?

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My own lil’ time machine

A friend of mine recently gave me a unique, one-of-a-kind gift. You can’t find one of these in an Apple store or on Amazon. You can’t even travel across the globe to a quaint little shop in some faraway country to pick up a gift like this.

My friend gave me a mini time machine that allows me to go back to an earlier time in my life. Think H.G Wells Time Machine, Doc Brown’s Delorean from Back to the Future,  the time traveling TARDIS from the Dr. Who TV show, or if you must, the hot tub from the Hot Tub Time Machine from more recent fame.

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Looking for a quick retort

I have the best of intentions.

It could be someone you run into in the convenience store or someone you see on the street, it doesn’t really matter. They say or do something rude and demeaning. I want to comeback with a one-liner or a quick retort that puts the offending party in their place and takes the tension out of the moment. 

Despite my best of intentions, I’m usually the one left grasping for words. I search for the right ones that will make everything right again, but they seem to run away from me. We’ve all faced these types of situations. Lately, I’ve seen to have my share of these experiences. 

When I do have a comeback or a zinger, it feels more like the proverbial equivalent of the neighborhood tattletale crying out in a whiney voice, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. 

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Fair season: For a good cause

My friends and I walked down the festival midway like we were a benevolent king surveying his court. It didn’t matter that our court was small in size, certainly less than a football field. We sauntered up and down each row like we owned the park.

We’d get there early and stay late. We’d walk down the middle of the fairway to volunteer or talk with friends. We’d come prepared for the festival, with a pocketful of pennies and quarters — saved up throughout the year — to try our luck at the various games of chance or to fill our faces with food.

As a kid, I looked forward to summer and the two firemen’s festivals in the community where I grew up. The first one would be held in mid-July and then the second would be held a few weeks later, usually around the first weekend in August at a local park.

The fire companies used the three-day festivals to raise money to help purchase new fire equipment, ambulance supplies, everything they would need throughout the year, and to keep their head above water. The festivals would run large raffles, have a local band for entertainment each night, and have small kiddie rides and games. They would sell barbeque chicken or chicken corn soup and a wide assortment of deserts and ice cream. Just imaging the Amish chicken corn soup makes my stomach rumble with hunger.

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A year’s worth of advice

When my daughter celebrated her first birthday, oh so many years ago, I let out a huge sigh of relief. Despite my clumsiness and failings as a new father, my wife and I and our newborn baby girl had managed to survive. In celebration, I wrote down everything I had learned.

My ramblings fit only a page or two, but they were still hard-earned lessons. I put them in a drawer and forgot about them where they sat for years and years on end until a couple of weeks ago when I stumbled across the worn pages. 

The lessons come across now as dated in spots, but still have the best of intentions. When I think of my daughter I still see her as that precocious one-year-old, even though diapers are a distant memory. In fact, in just a few months, she’ll turn 21. 

In any event, I hope you enjoy. 

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