Fit for a Queen but Suited to Us

Few posts I've written have received more comments than Good Dog, which was about our faithful Collie, Marian. Many friends and readers hoped we'd add a new pup to our family right away, and although I understand that sentiment, the Mister and I agreed that we wanted a little time.  Our schedules were hectic, and it just didn't seem to be the right moment to introduce a new dog.

A little more than a year went by, and both the Mister and I were looking at the dog rescue sites with regularity. I was advocating for a smaller dog, and I thought a Corgi or two would be an obvious fit for  me  us.

The Mister remained firm in his search for a Collie. We had reached an impasse.

While at the beach with the Mister's family, we mentioned our stalemate to the Mister's mother, who noted that she had a friend who bred Corgis and was expecting a litter. The Mister made it plain that he was not interested.

Months went by, and then my mother-in-law called to say that her friend was looking for a home for one of her two dames. This particular dog had had three litters, and her owner didn't want to breed her again. She, the dog, that is, was free to a good home. We were warned that although she was show quality, she'd never done well in the ring because she was a bit headstrong. That didn't put me off a bit; I had no plans to show her or any dog.

Discussion ensued.

This past President's Day weekend, we traveled to Florida and returned with Rincon Channel Islands Charlotte, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, who goes by "Charlie."

Corgis are known for their intelligence, and she is a quick learner. For instance, we can't say the word ball. At all. She doesn't just respond to "Charlie, do you want to go play ball?" She reacts to "When will you be home from the basketball game, Middle?" Unless, we are ready to head outside ball in hand, then we have to s-p-e-l-l it. I'm sure she'll be on to that soon enough.

Reading her card, at her birthday paw-ty
We've also discovered that she is incredibly quirky.

For instance, shortly after we returned from Florida, I got a case of the sniffles. One evening I snuggled under a throw on the sofa to watch a little television. I sneezed, and before I had opened my eyes, Charlie had run across the room, jumped on my chest, and barked! Several minutes later, I sneezed again. Same reaction. We are bewildered by this behavior, unsure if her, um, interest is out of concern, or if she considers a sneeze some sort of challenge. Either way, after almost nine months of being charged whenever we kerchoo, we all flinch whenever we feel a sneeze coming on, even when we're not at home!

The next and perhaps most hilarious example of Charlie's quirkiness was revealed when I innocently pulled out a box of aluminum foil to line a baking dish. As soon as I began to pull the foil across the serrated edge, Charlie went nuts, from dozing peacefully on her bed to barking and snapping, trying to attack the foil! This seemed almost too much to believe, so, of course, the Mister and Middle had to conduct several tests to see if she reacted the same way each time. She did, and her aggression toward aluminum foil has not abated.  Wrapping up Thanksgiving Day leftovers promises to be entertaining, if not downright dangerous.

Nevertheless, we love her, have nicknamed her Mrs. Petmore, and, frankly, can't imagine life without her!

Many thanks to everyone who left a comment, sent an email or text, or even called to welcome me back to the blogsphere. I had no idea anyone would still read this old blog, and I am really humbled by your kindness.

Starting over in the fall

"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall," or at least that's what Jordan says in The Great Gatsby. And, likewise, perhaps, so will this blog.

I left it a little over a year ago, thinking I'd pick it back up in a few days, then weeks, months, and then it just seemed like there was no time. The thing is, I thought about it almost every day. I can't tell you how many pictures I've taken and notes I've made, thinking that would make a good post.

Earlier today I was talking to my daughter, who, if you've read here in the past, is known by "Little" on the blog. She asked why I didn't blog anymore, and I replied, "Oh, L, you know I write all the time now for work." To which she sagely stated, "Well, you need to be writing not just for work but for yourself." So, three hours later, here I am. Less time to write, but a better laptop, so I'll see what happens.

I'm tempted to try to catch up on the past year, document all the family milestones, but that is most certainly the way to frustration, not to mention boring everyone to bits.

Instead, I'll jump in with the story of Middle, who turns 18 next week.

Middle, Little, and Big one year ago

Last spring, Middle decided that he wanted to play football his senior year of high school. The Mister and I considered. We lectured about grades and responsibilities. We worried silently about concussions, broken bones, and worse. We bemoaned privately the loss of our Friday night freedom. We reminded Middle that he had never played football before--no PeeWee, no Pop Warner, no JV, so probably he would spend a good bit of time on the sidelines.

And, then we said, okay, go for it.

The new scoreboard at historic Sirrine Stadium

And he did. Every morning for the next six weeks, Middle woke himself up at 5:30 am and drove to the high school weight room for training and conditioning. He stayed after school every day with the team for spring practice. He ran in the heat of summer until two-a-days started, and then he woke up at 6 am to go to early practice. He memorized plays; he watched old games. He made notes. And the Mister and I said to each other, our boy is really working hard. I hope he won't be disappointed.

Running down the stadium steps and on to the field

The first game was scheduled for the last Friday in August. Hot. With a coolness that is unique to high school seniors, Middle wore his jersey, #79, to school that day, but admitted he didn't know if he'd get to play. At 6'4" and 190 pounds, he's an offensive tackle. The coach put him in with a few minutes left in the third quarter, and the Red Raiders scored their first three goals of the season.

Big crowd for Spirit Week game against rival J. L. Mann high school.
Greenville High raised more than $298,000 this week for Greenville's Cancer Survivors Park.

The next game was almost an hour away against a football powerhouse, and Middle saw only one second of playing time. Our team was 1 - 1. We were back home the next Friday night, and Middle started and played the entire game as he has ever since (unless we lead by more than 30 points!).

Running off the field after a TD

The Mister and I have missed two away games--one for a dinner party with old friends and one for a gala at the art museum. (At both events, we surreptitiously read texts of scores and game updates.)

Showing my Raider spirit

This Friday, the Red Raiders face their first play-off opponent, and we couldn't be prouder. Oh, the rah, rah, rah, playing and winning is great, but what we're really proud of is Middle's determination and self-discipline.

On the line

And, every Friday night after Middle returns home, he and the Mister head for McDonald's. That may not seem like much to be proud of, but senior football players have a lot of options for celebrating after a game, and not all of them are good.

No smiles in the program

So when our Red Raider just wants to get something to eat with his dad, I'm proud of that, too.

Um, yeah, the Mister had the small Coke, and that's all, if you were wondering.
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