Friday, October 6, 2023

Sunset on surfing

Charly’s dog-mom had a beautiful slightly rounded snout and long lashes that made her look like a movie star.  At first, in the puppy pictures, it looked like Charly may also have this petite nose.  Not so – it just bloomed late!  She inherited a very long square snout from her dog-dad.  This, coupled with what seems to me to be an inordinately long tongue, made her an excellent counter-surfer.  She was long enough in the leg and body to cruise around the counter edges very effectively.  Etched in my memory is that tongue paddling into her mouth tablespoons of butter left near the toaster.  We had witnessed this talent often enough to never leave food within at least 18 inches of the counter’s edge.  And that was the rule that I followed the day before our Thanksgiving in 2017.

My carefully selected turkey that year was not defrosting as quickly as it needed to, so I had pulled it out of the fridge that Friday (we were hosting dinner on Saturday), and put it in a tray on top of a tea towel.  Charly was guarding that bird.  We had a very small kitchen at that time, and she would lay at the only opening. Watching.  Waiting.  She regularly did this with Shake ‘n Bake chicken for the whole hour.  I had seen this sentry activity before.  I knew her tactics – wait for mom’s mistake and catch it on the fall or on the floor!  So, I pushed the tray to back of the counter, and went to pick up my daughter from school.


My sigh of relief that the weekend was here morphed into a sense of hopelessness when on return, I opened the front door.  My dog was waltzing on the kitchen floor with the half-frozen turkey, covered and still sliding in poultry juices.  She had had little time to eat much, and I wrestled that gnarly carcass from her firmly clenched teeth, withstanding growls and tugs, slipping on the tiles and grout that would require suds and bleach to remove their coating of sticky substances.  Then, kindergartener in tow, I raced to the supermarket to find a replacement bird knowing that they would be picked over and we’d be serving a scrawny turkey or one that would require 12 hours to cook.


Only years later after arthritis finally ended all counter surfing, do I admire Charly’s patience, cleverness, and physical prowess on that Thanksgiving eve.  I picture her plotting her move as soon as I exited the door.  I remember and long to see those still flexible hips that could erect her lithe torso high enough to paw the counter.  I imagine that extensive snout and tongue maneuvering to capture the bird.  Every Thanksgiving after that one has seemed too easy now that the sun has set on counter-surfing.  Enjoy yours!!


Stay tuned for the next post on October 13th!!

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