Friday, July 28, 2006

Weird beer laws

So, when the rest of the United States ended Prohibition, Oklahoma stuck to it's tommy to speak.
The sale of beer no stronger than 3.2 percent alcohol by weight was permitted because legislators classified it as a "nonintoxicating beverage."I'm a liquor lightweight, so I would beg to differ. Get me anywhere near drinking spirits of anykind and my asian blood throws a "histy fit."

Histamine that is.

Red blotches on my face, headache, blocked nasal passages -- the works.

Oh, I get immediately sleepy drunk as well, but that's a tale of a different beast.

Needless to say, I'm not a drinker.

However, I imagine most residents of my adopted state would wholly beg to differ with me and have adopted all sorts of names for the low cold beer alcohol content available in this state. My favorite among the popular nomenclature for trying to get drunk on 3.2 beer is "riding a rocking horse into battle,"
It's not just Oklahoma's faith-based roots that have kept prohibition-era laws on the books. Low-point beer distributors aren't interested in changing the laws because they would risk having to follow the more stringent ones imposed on liquor stores.

Oklahoma convenience and grocery stores cannot sell beer or wine coolers with more than 3.2 percent alcohol. Big-name domestic breweries, including Anheuser-Busch, Miller and Coors, brew lower-point beer for the Sooner State and five others. Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota and Utah also sell 3.2 beer.
Nice to know were not alone in this....for now.
Liquor stores in Oklahoma can sell beer with higher alcohol content, but they have more rules to follow. For one, they have to sell beer at room temperature. Also, liquor stores are allowed to be open only from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.I think Okies just need to learn to love a good Imperial pint of Guinness, or some good Belgian beer, which, people tell me, is so good you can drink at room temperature and it still tastes good.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Mennonites at the cement pond

We usually try to avoid the local aquatic center during weekends as the crowds can get to Disneyland levels.

Last Sunday, the girls were clamoring for a swim, so I relented, tucked as much of my gut as would fit into my swim trunks and took them to the pool.

We faced the usual crowds and then some.

But there was something quite different about one particular grouping of the crowd. Much different.

The men were playing a game of modified netless volleyball/waterpolo with oversized beach balls in the 4-foot deep section of the lap pool. They were all lean and tall, softly muscular, with the worst farmer tans I've ever seen. Strangely, their tan lines ended at their wrists and buttoned-up collar neckline -- like what you would get if you wore a three-piece suit to a 14-day straight tanning booth-o-rama.

A group of younger women, all wearing black head scarves that looked like fancy doo-rags with flowers embroidered on them, waded and floated nearby the men.

An older group of women donning the same black/embroidered doo rags, sat with perfect posture, quiet reserve, and not one apparent lick of envy for their pool bound partners.

Some further observations...

Apparently only the single, or unmarried females could partake of the wet and wild activities. And even then they had to wear their head scarves, black short pants (barely shorts, more like clam diggers), with a double layer of cotton t-shirts on top.

The men and boys all wore shorts pants as well. Black or khaki. Most of which tended to pull a little too far southward due to their high retention factor of the wetstuff.

Talking with strangers appeared to not be a priority on their agenda.

Not a one of them could swim. The teens all wore inflatable tubes around their waists. The men stayed it the 4-foot deep shallows. They all stayed way clear of the diving boards and 12-foot deep diving well.

I titled this entry as I did, under the assumption that this group of interesting and polite Sunday-go-to-pool splashers were from the nearby Mennonite enclave I know exists in the area.

But I may be wrong and way off base as to their origins, their nationality, and their cultural beliefs.

But I do know this. The non-waders seemed content in their place, the waders were having a ball, the youngsters were polite, and as a group they were picture perfect public pool participants.

On a personal note, I do believe they could benefit from a little dipping into a different type of pool...the gene type. It's a good thing beauty is only skin deep.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Just how many would be considered illegal?

From the recently published court records log in our local newspaper...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Wee Gah Wah - Chinaman

Last weekend, my family and I took in some local history at Fort Reno in nearby El Reno, OK.

One of the highlights of the fort grounds is the old cemetary. American Soldiers from many different campaigns are laid to rest here, some dating back to the late 1800's. Their families, many infants (high infant mortality rate back then), even some Buffalo Soldiers, are all buried within the sacred grounds of this frontier outpost cemetary.

Surprisingly, there are a few dozen German and Italian WW2 POWs buried in a separate section of the cemetary. The Fort served as a POW camp for a few years during the early-mid 40's and since it's a law that no enemy combatant could be buried with American soldiers (even those who died in the 1800's), the Axis POWs are in a walled off section of the grounds.

However, as I strolled the hallowed (and apparently haunted) burial grounds, I stumbled upon this lone grave against the north wall, off by itself.

Take a closer look.

Wee Gah Wah - Chinaman. How cool is that.

But, what an odd name I thought.
But, how nice that they buried him in the main cemetary, albeit far and away from any other tombstones.
But, still, for a non-white (who wasn't a Buffalo Soldier) to be respected enough to even get a burial and engraved tombstone, he must have been someone special. Especially given the plight and racism any Asian received during that time period.

Wee Gah Wah must have been one cool "coolie."

Meanwhile, back at the visitor's center, I cornered a period costumed museum docent and inquired about the lone Asian brother buried up on boot hill.Me - Was that his real name?

Docent - No, those were the only three words in English that he learned to say, or that anyone could understand.

Me - Wee Gah Wah were English words?

Docent - Yes, he was the fort laundryman, and he must have been pretty well liked for the Government to allow him to be buried in the cemetary with the soldiers and their families, not to mention they paid for an engraved grave marker.

Me - But, what does "Wee Gah Wah" mean?

Docent - We think he was trying to say, "We go wash." or "We got wash," but no one knows for sure.

I don't know, what do y'all think he was trying to say?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Burning Maryjo

Hundreds Of Marijuana Plants Destroyed Near Enid
ENID, Okla. (AP) _ Drug agents have torched 650 marijuana plants growing in southern Garfield County and northern Kingfisher County.

They were burned Thursday at a Garfield County shale pit northwest of Enid, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs said.

Agents from the bureau spend the summer going throughout Oklahoma eradicating marijuana.

The Oklahoma National Guard supports the effort, providing helicopters agents can fly in to search for marijuana.

Not all marijuana found is burned. Other plants in less-accessible areas are sprayed with herbicides to kill them.

I think "shale pit" is a law enforcement term for house party.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bananas are code 11

Not to sound to critical of the produce selection at our local market (the only market in town), but growing up in LA, I admit to being a bit spoiled when it comes to having access to a wide selection of good, fresh fruit and vegetables.

Not so here.

But we adapt and deal.

So when I heard through the plum vine that current shipment of red plums were actually decent, I told C (who loves plums more than broccoli -- and she loves broccoli. Seriously, she loves broccoli) that we were market bound.

So here I stand, holding an ever expanding plastic produce bag, as my two girls fill it up with plum after juicy, luscious red plum.

Then I notice something. This plum has a sticker on it. This one does too. They all have stickers on them.

These stickers in fact.Back in the day, when I was a checker at my local Alpha Beta making $13.85 an hour, part of our training would find us memorizing dozens upon dozens codes for every single piece of produce our store would carry.

Bananas were code 11. Plaintains were 12.
Head lettuce was 25. Romaine lettuce was 26.
Red plums, 35, Black plums, 36. Pineapple, 42.

You get the idea.

The more years you put in behind the register, the more codes and types of produce you would find yourself remembering.

I could tell the difference between a red onion and a red shallot.
Red delicious, Jonathan, McIntosh, Rome Beauty - all red, all apples, all different codes.
Tangerines, tangelos, mandarins, navel and juice oranges - all sweet, all orange, all different codes.
3 lb. bag Russets, 5 lb. bag White Rose, 10 lb. bag Yukon Gold - code, codes, codey-code-codes.
Water, Winter, Musk, Cantalope, Honeydew, Casaba, Cranshaw, Canary, and even Santa Claus - melon - code, melon-code, melon-code.

It was a learned art form which many lesser checkers never quite mastered.

This was in the days before bar coded packaging, scanners, repetitive stress disorder, credit cards, atm / debit cards, keypads or identity theft.

I learned on an old Sweda cash register (you remember those don't you? Big, brown, mechanical and you needed to have fingers of steel and a strong punch to add the totals up -- tink, tink, kachunk, KACHUNK!).

By the time I was made a full checker, I had graduated to an S18 5-high computerized register. Enter the need for codes.

Every checker had to visually approve all checks and verify the ID and phone numbers
And if you wrote a check, be sure to have your ID ready or you can get one off our check cashing cards (which would pre approve your check up to $250).

Every grocery item had a price tag on it. Every piece off produce had a corresponding code.

And every plum was pure.
And every plum was virtuous.
And every plum felt no fear of it's skin being invaded by a gummed up sticker bearing the cheat sheet code for the checker to ring it up with.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Kid's College Part 2

You may recall that C is taking a painting class at Kid's College this week.

Yesterday, she announced that her teacher is a Professional Pet Portrait Painter who asked that all the kids bring in a snapshot of their pet for class the next day. She was going to help each student paint (on canvas) a picture of their pet from the snapshot.

Here we go again.

C was all frantic because we didn't have a picture of Choo choo, her one and only pet -- goldfish.

Now, Choo choo has been a member of our family since C was 18 months old -- she's 6 now. Pretty good life out of a feeder fish from the Petco. I should have a picture of him. I do have pictures of the girls with Choo choo's clear 1-gallon abode wherein one can barely make out a silvery/yellow object in the bowl. However, if you didn't know the silvery/yellow blip was supposed to be a live goldfish, you wouldn't know the difference.

C goes into panic mode. Not only does she not have a real pet, but the pet she does have, is not all that photogenic. I don't have a digital camera with an optical zoom (digital zooms suck), so I had to resort to using the still function of my video camera to get a good close-up of her fish. At least he/she/it held still long enough for me to get some decent poses.

Off I go to my iBook, where I imported the 640x480 still to iMovie, exported it as a still frame, only to be printed out on our 600dpi laser printer.

Here are the digital results.

The printed pictures C ended up taking to her class were much muddier, grey and white laser printed renderings of an aging $.39 feeder goldfish that is no longer gold but more transparently flesh in color.

Ever the trooper, C took the non-photos of her non-pet into class and ended up doing a pretty good rendering of her beloved scaled soulmate.

Her teacher told her that the pose she picked (center) was a unique angle for a fish and thought that it captured the spirit of her aquatic buddy in striking detail.

Bless her Professinal Pet Portrait Painter heart.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Kid's College Part 1

This week the girls are attending a week of Kid's College at a nearby community college.

PK is taking a class called "Nurture your Nature," taught by a horticulturist, where she'll get to play with worms, plant plants, examine snails, and discover the joys of dirt.

C is taking an art class, as well as a hip-hop dancing class. More on that later.

Yesterday was the first day, and as nervous as the girls were with a case of first-day-of-class jitters (remember that?), I employed a "getting acclimated to new surroundings" technique which has worked for me in the past. They both behaved liked little ladies and settled right into their routines.

C dove into her art, PK dove into her dirt.

I hung out outside PK's classroom with the latest issue of Hot Rod, and a copy of the community college's schedule of classes -- always on the lookout for an interesting class to take...hmmm, Course 1251 - "Intro to the Windows Operating System"...that could be good for an hour long nap.

While perusing the catalog and keeping an eye on the clock, I got to witness the painful exploits of a father trying to convince, cajole, and con his whimpering 3-year old son into joining the other kids in the $30 class he was signed up for.
Be my brave little guy, will ya.
You'll have fun, look at the other kids in there.
None of them are afraid.
Where's my brave little soldier?
Don't be shy. It's okay to be shy, but this will be fun.
You wanted to take this class.
I'm getting angry now.
Your mommy is going to be really disappointed in you.
Man, this poor Dad tried every hook and crook in the book.

Finally, he resorted to the final of final parental ploys and said, "do you want me to call your mother?" The brave little guy nodded.

After a lengthy talk via Motorola Razr with his working Mommy, the young lad contentedly marched off behind his frustrated father to the waiting pickup truck in the parking lot. Off they went, leaving a little bit of the father's patience behind, as well as their $30 enrollment fee for the class.

The "getting acclimated to new surroundings" technique that works pretty well with my girls may not work for every kid in every similar situation, but it seems to work for my girls and I'm happy to have discovered it.

My 6-year old is at that stage where she is nervous for all of 2 minutes in this situation. After that, she's made a friend and is buzzing in the newness of it all.

When taking my 3-year old into an unfamiliar setting, I ger her there early enough so she can establish her own space. After finding her room, and selecting a chair to her liking, we set up some familiar objects (backpack, jacket, whatever) nearby and she gets comfortable with herself in her new surrounding.

By the time the rest of the kids start arriving, my daughter is acting like the gracious host at a dinner party, inviting the kids in, making them feel comfortable, telling them her name, and ensuring they have a place to sit.

I've watched her do this several times and as long as it works for her, it works for me.

Course, this may be how Martha Stewart started on her road to being the hostess with the mostess.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Like coming home

Yesterday, PK and I killed some time at one of the few indoor-mega malls that are within a 2-gallon drive in my civic.

This particular mall has the only Apple Store in the entire state of Oklahoma.

You may (or not) recall that sometime back when I was contemplating finding employment here in the Sooner State, that I had a quasi-interview with Apple for a position at the not-yet-built-Oklahoma-Apple-Store.

Employment aside, our foray into the white and glass odyssey that is every Apple Store I've ever been in provided that familiar sense of belonging, camaraderie, and technical comfort I always feel when surrounded by all things Apple and Mac.

Before distracting myself with the latest MacBooks, G5 Quad dual-core processor towers, Cinema Displays and the wall-O-iPod accessories, I directed my 3-old to the waiting iMacs setup at a centerstage table just for ankle biters such as herself. She found the round, black, cushy chair to her liking, grabbed a nearby mouse in her itty-bitty little hand and found a familiar friend in Dora the Explorer.

Apple places these kiddie iMac tables in the direct center of the store, allowing parents and siblings direct view of their miniscule relations as they themselves peruse the store. Safe and comforting.

This, as Guy Kawasaki would say, is doing things the Macintosh Way.

In addition, a young Applette donning the requisite white Apple logo'd black polo shirt, hangs out by the kiddie table to render assistance, turn down volumes, solve riddles of software, and practice her conflict resolution skills on feuding future Mac owners.

As PK played, and I browsed, drooled, fantasized, and all but made love to the 17" MacBook Pro I was hammering on, I noticed a small herd of folk starting to gather round PK's personal space.

"She's 3", I answered upon arriving behind the crowd of 7 people (the Applette, an elderly couple, two teenage girls, an expectant Mother, and a young boy who I theorized was just trying to get as close to the teenage girls as possible).

From the looks I received from the elderly couple, I was not to be believed. Seizing the chance to show not only what my daughter could accomplish behind the mouse of a Mac, but what a Mac could accomplish in the hands of a 3-year old man-child, I pressed on.
PK, how old are you?No answer. She was helping Dora pick the correct animal to mimic to get up a tree, and was not to be disturbed.Sweetie, how old are you?Still no response. Oh no, my daughter is a go-bot already.Sweetie, I'm asking you a question.Rather quickly, I saw her move her cursor to the "Time Out" icon at the bottom of the screen and click on it. Once Dora is safely paused, she turned to me and said,

"Daddy, I'm free." -- note, she still has some issues with her "th" sound and it often comes out as the "fr" sound.

Lessons learned here:
  • Don't mess with my daughter when she's helping Dora
  • While you may think that having your 3-year old show proficiency on a computer would be helpful for the Sales staff, keep in mind that her unsociable behavior while displaying said proficiencty may prove more damaging.
  • A teenage boy flying solo is no match for teenage girls traveling in pairs, no matter cool he is.
  • Thursday, July 13, 2006

    Yarrgh, Davy Jones be turning in his grave

    It's not often I sit in a McDonald's watching my 3-old navigate the human habitrails and have a hearty chuckle while reading her Happy Meal box.

    But the level of absurdity displayed on the thin cardboard container of fast food was almost too much for my middle-aged grey matter to comprehend.

    This week, Mickey D's is cross promoting the new Pirates of the Caribbean flick with all the blustery vigor that only the mouse and the golden arches could muster.

    What tickled my flap-doodle funny bone were a series of politically correct, white-washed, homogenized pirate riddles that someone somewhere was paid good money to think up and commit to paper.

    Somewhere in pirate afterlife land Captain Morgan is spillin' his rum, Red Beard is getting a shave, the Jolly Roger is getting a facial, and the Dread Pirate Roberts is telling Buttercup, " you wish...but first, let's eat some fish."

    It it weren't for the cool inflatable swashbuckling cutlass Happy Meal toy that I instantly inflated and gave to PK to go and torment the other kids with, my pirate swaggering afternoon would have been scuttled for sure.

    Monday, July 10, 2006

    Hotspots R' Us

    On my last trip back to So Cal, I brought along my iBook.

    The brood and I camped out at my Mom's for a few nights, and my Dad's for a few nights.

    Mom lives in a tri-level condo in a 60-unit complex deep within the San Gabriel Valley.
    Dad lives in a two-story house on a cul du sac just north of San Diego.

    Mom has an SBC Yahoo 384K DSL line.
    Dad has dialup.

    We stayed upstairs in both places.

    At my Mom's, my iBook found no less than 4 unsecured wireless networks. I had my choice, so I found one that seemed faster than the others and used it the entire time I was at my Mom's. It was named "linksys."

    At my Dad's, my iBook found only 2 unsecured wireless networks. Both were of equal signal strength and speed. I used the one labeled "netgear."

    Here in my small town, I now know of 6 unsecured wireless networks within the town's limits, 2 of which are within sniffing distance of my home office. Just the other day I found another hotspot while parked at our local Sonic, ordering a breakfast burrito (no cheese) and a Sonic Sunrise.

    A future project will be to do a street by street sweep of my small town to find out just how many of my neighbors are "sharing" their wireless networks.

    Friday, July 07, 2006

    Between the pages lies pure gold

    Friday is movie day at our local library. The sign up sheet fills up fast, so you gotta get to the library early on Monday to ensure your seats for the upcoming showing at weeks end.

    Last Friday's movie was Stuart Little 3.

    Our small town library actually has one of the nicest, flat-wide-large-highdef-wallmounted tv's in the city courtesy of a generous donation from the Friends of the Library group. Deep pockets, this group. Good taste in gifts too.

    So, we arrived early to get good seats for the girls. They got their cup of microwave popped corn and room temperature cherry flavored juice boxes, settled into their chairs and were ready for the show.

    I took my laptop and found a quiet spot in the corner of the geneology section.

    No wireless access at our local library, but I was confident that I could go a few hours without checking my email, and that if I needed access to any information that my research required, I was, after all, in a library.

    Sooner than expected, I found myself needing to check out a few quick facts to support the piece I was writing.

    "Flashback," I thought, as I had to physically get out of my seat, access the libraries materials database via a smart terminal, find the referenced book, take said book back to my table, only to spend the next hour searching for the particular piece of information I needed.

    I faced down this archaic information storage device (book) with grit and gusto. No wikipedia. No google. No "find" function. No "search" capability. I turned page after page after page.

    I had to use my eyes, my brain, my fingers even, to actually READ, SCAN, and SEARCH for a single particular passage in this hard bound collection of letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, and pages.


    To add insult to injury, when I did find something that could possibly have been relevant data, I couldn't just copy and paste the text into an outline formatted text file for editorializing and editing at a later time and date.

    No. I actually had to WRITE down anything and everything I thought may be relevant to my research.

    I was flustered beyond words. My eyes were sore. My brain hurt. My mouse hand was twitchy and my confidence in my own note taking abilities was shaken down to the core.

    My, how quickly our study and research habits have changed.

    You bet.
    Thankful to be living in a time where I have near instantaneous access to the world's largets library of information?
    Oh brother, where art thou?

    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    I feel good, I knew that I would, now.

    Took the girls to see a matinee of Garfield, The Tail of Two Kitties.

    The movie itself bears only the slightest of relevance to the theme of this blog entry, but I did want to mention in detail all of the positive aspects of this particular cinematic event.1. Jennifer Love HewittThat being done, let's get on with this blog entry.

    On the way home from the frolicking feline film, James Brown's explosive funk classic, I Got You (I Feel Good) came blaring through the Harmon-kardons in my civic. As any red-blooded American of taste, class, and culture would do, I proceeded to sing along with the Godfather of Soul at the top of my severly limited vocal range.

    Immediately, C chirps out, Turn it up Daddy, I love this song!

    Out puffs my chest as fatherly pride and genetic induced joy fills my soul to think that my daughter, at so young an age, would begin to appreciate the music that is the foundation for my preferred selection of tunage - funk, soul, rhythm and blues.

    Even my youngest, at a mere 3.5 years old, seemed to be enjoying the rhythmic stylin's of the "hardest working man in show business."

    At 2:46, the short song ends and I relished in the glow that is/was my daughter's milestone of her musical development.

    Then she adds, "I love that song. It's from the first Garfield movie, that we have on DVD."


    I fear that all of my daughter's references to the music of my youth...
    -- the music which provided the dramatic and comedic soundtrack to my life...
    -- the music that still inspires the passion within me to try and capture the sweet birds of my youth...
    -- the music that took me through the hardest and sweetest of times...

    ...will be the background music for an animated lasagna eating cat, a rugrat gone wild, or a yet another Disney character ripped off from the Brothers Grimm.

    Oh well, I'll always have Earth, Wind, and Fire. Play it again, Maurice.

    Tuesday, July 04, 2006

    Ultimate Radio Contest Giveaway

    S was chuckling as she retold the following tale to me.

    Her daily drive is a 110 mile round trip. During that drive time she catches up on phone calls, listens to books on CD, plots out her workday/week, and peruses the local am/fm radio bands.

    On the way home the other day, she found herself listening to a local FM-Clear Channel-owned top-40 station.

    A loyal listener with the determination of a wolverine defending it's fresh kill against a full grown Kodiak bear, listened to the station for 12 hours, wrote down the song and artist of the hour for each tick of the little hand, and managed to be the 24th caller into the station at the zero hour.

    Her reward for this phenomenal feat of human endurance, dogged determination and H.G. Wellian time-suckage were NOT the following:
  • An all expenses paid trip for her entire family to Hawaii.
  • Two front row seat tickets to a Toby Keith concert complete with backstage passes.
  • Limousine ride to the Big Texan Steakhouse in Amarillo (home of the 72 oz. "if you eat it in an hour it's free" porterhouse steak).
  • A Vespa
  • Nope.
    For her efforts, this intrepid woman won dinner at IHOP.

    For 2.

    She was thrilled.DJ - "Who are you going to take?"
    Winner - "My teenage's her birthday."
    DJ - "How old is she?"
    Winner - "She's 16 this year!"
    Happy sweet 16, sweetie, and pass they syrup.

    Monday, July 03, 2006

    The dog, the frog, and the turtle

    "We're going to find a turtle and a frog," were the last words my wife said, closing the side porch door behind her.

    Small cardboard box in one hand and plastic cookie jar in the other, she intrepidly strolled to her car, with our oldest daughter in tow.

    It was Turtle and Frog Race Day at C's Campfire USA camp and my intrepid wife was determined not to let our daughter be left out of the festivities.

    She drove a few miles to our local lake, and sure enough, found an 8" terrapin crawling across the road. Into the box he/she went. We'll call him "Stumpy" -- the reason being will be revealed later.

    The frog was harder to come by. Later that night, C finally received one courtesy of the mother of a fellow Campfirette. We'll call him "Bluto." He was the second biggest bull frog I had ever seen.

    So, C was animal'd up for her impending races the following day and happy as can be.

    So, where does the dog come in?

    Well, yet another stray dog (#4) ended up on our front porch the other day. He was small, black, poodle/terrier like, hungry, skinny, flea bitten, with matted hair and a friendly disposition. C named him "Shadow."

    The girls immediately took to "Shadow" and try as I might to keep him moving along in his quest to find a new home, the love and attention the girls showered him with were no match for my stern threats.

    The following day C came home from camp and instead of immediately announcing that "Bluto" had hopped his way to camp victory, that "Stumpy" didn't end up running his race because he/she only had 3 legs, or that her blue ribbon bull frog had died on the ride home, she frantically looked around the yard and screamed,

    "Where's Shadow?"

    "Shadow is gone sweetie. "

    Here came that face...

    "A nice man came by with a pickup truck, whistled to Shadow, who came running to him."

    Here comes the quivering lower lip.

    "He jumped right into the back of the man's truck and crawled into the open he knew exactly what to do."

    Of course the part I omitted was the fact that the nice man's name was Rodney, and he's our small town's animal control officer whom I had called a few hours earlier.

    C did her best to rationalize that Shadow must have known the man and that the man would take better care of him this time around. But as we all know, even the best lies we tell ourselves aren't always the most convincing. She cried for a few minutes, feeling more sorry for herself than for Shadow, I suspect.

    Here's a given. I fully intend to get a family dog someday.
    Here's another. I live in a place where we can pretty much find a wild turtle or frog on demand.