Spring Break, Placid Horses, and Red Balls

Chaussette and horseSage, Chaussette, ball 2It’s been a long and hectic week; I’m receiving back my karma for all the days when, as a teacher, I looked FORWARD to weekends, spring break, snow days, etc. Now all this vacation time means getting increasingly creative while trying to find ways to entertain the child. To up the ante, I had no child care available, and one of Sage’s best friends was gone for the week. We made it through, though, and now Sage is finally back at school. These are the highlights:

Sage’s other best friend spent the day on Tuesday, and then Sage spent the afternoon at his house on Wednesday. On Thursday, Sage and I met my friend Maria and her three kids at the park in Osseo, where the kids played intensively while Maria and I debated about whether what we were experiencing was actually warmth or whether it was a totally relative “warmth” compared to the bitterness of previous temperatures. Whatever it was, though, it felt tropical; in fact, I do believe the temperature rose above FORTY degrees! And Sage got to play on the teeter-totter with children of comparable weight, while Chaussette lived her dream of playing with children to her little canine heart’s content, so a good time was had by all.

On Friday, Sage accompanied me to the library, where the library was doing a Family Storytime—not just a story, mind you, but crafts, egg dying, and a movie complete with popcorn. Normally I work Saturdays, but since the library was going to be closed this Saturday, the whole staff (all four of us) was there. After the last child had cleared out, Sage earned his lunchtime pizza by helping me vacuum the popcorn remnants from the floor. After we left (I decided to forgo $8 by leaving an hour early since there wasn’t a whole lot for me to do), we took Chaussette on a long walk. The neighbor dog, who had previously pointedly ignored Chaussette, deigned to accompany us. We found a beer can lying by the side of the road, and I have to confess that I was highly tempted to disregard it. Chaussette, however, cheerfully picked it up and trotted down the road with it, ears and tail up, quite proud of her new acquisition. Her pride had worn off before we turned onto the road home, but her spontaneous garbage removal had guilted me into carrying the beer can the rest of the way home. She’s not just a dog—she’s an Environmental Crusader!

On Saturday, Paul took Sage into town to go Easter egg hunting (bless my long-suffering husband!), so I got some peace and quiet. Easter Sunday dawned cold and tranquil, with a misty kind of light that induces premature nostalgia: This must be a memory, I would think, and then realize I was still IN the moment. The neighbors had finally finished picking corn in the field behind our house (being Amish, they do it by hand). To the perpetual delight of my inner eight-year-old, they had turned their horses into the field to eat the cornstalks, and the horses were waiting by the gate when Chaussette and I emerged into the shadowy pre-dawn world. Chaussette promptly began yipping and leaping about although—since she’s clearly an intelligent dog—she carefully avoided coming too close to the horses. The horses, unimpressed, simply gazed at her placidly, with only an occasional soft “whuff” for commentary. I’m pretty sure there’s a metaphor in that vision of the frantically barking little dog and the unmoving horses, but I’ve yet to completely decipher what it is.

Poor Chaussette had to go to Doggie Jail, though, while Paul, Sage, and I visited first my mother and stepfather, then my aunt and uncle, and finally my grandmother. My grandmother gave Sage one of the Best Gifts Ever, a red Spiderman ball, delighted in by both boy and puppy. Sage generally has mixed feelings about Chaussette, who still nips when she’s excited, but he spent some happy hours throwing the ball for her, and she was happy to keep fetching it for him. She’s done some damage by nipping him in her excitement, although I don’t think she’s ever broken the skin, but I have to give her credit for allowing him to grab her muzzle and pull the ball out of her mouth without so much as a growl. There’s hope for this boy/dog combination and, most importantly, for their ability to mutually wear off energy. It was a long week, but at least it has a happy ending!

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