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Saturday, January 5, 2013


Friday, 9:30 AM.  23 degrees F, wind SW, breezy.  It is a gloriously sunny morning and a great improvement from the dark, dismal mornings we have been experiencing.  The sun casts strong shadows in the woods, like black ink lines drawn on white paper.  The sun is so bright it is startling.  Andy is cooking pancakes, and the morning aromas are delicious.
    I told you yesterday about Buddy’s misadventures and misbehaviors, which we thought were over the top.  Over the top has been “topped,” but no real harm was done and it wasn’t, technically, Buddy’s fault, as a lot of strange things can happen when there are four folks “of a certain age,” as they used to say, and two dogs, occupying the same rather limited  territory.
    Let me say first that we all, humans and dogs, are getting along very well, despite the incident which I am about to relate.  In other words everyone is still talking and laughing about it.  Except dogs don’t laugh.  They can, however, smile, as you shall see.
    It all started with a truly fine dinner, Andy cooking fall-off-the-bone, delicious baby back ribs, properly accompanied by Joan’s tian, which is a baked combination of layered sliced potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini, the layers interspersed with gruyere cheese and placed on a bed of onions.  Of course a few glasses of decent wine accompanied the meal.  Good conversation followed a good meal, which was rather inevitably followed by some dozing in front of the fire.
    Joan, as usual reading a book, was startled by a rather strange sound, sort of a combination of clicking and clacking, and upon looking up from her book her first intuition was that Buddy or J.D., the Larsen’s dog, had purloined a rib bone from the garbage can, which would not be a good thing since either dog could easily crack it, and  bone splinters are not suitable for even a dog’s cast iron digestive tract.
Expecting to see a bone in Buddy’s mouth (he was at her feet making the strange noise) she was indeed startled to see him smiling at her.  It was so human a smile it was actually unnerving.  How could a dog have so angelic a smile, she pondered.  The teeth so white, so even, so…like a person’s!  It was a smile like they advertise on TV these days, sparkling white, a veritable Pepsodent smile!
    And it was, certainly,  a human smile!  But who’s smile was it?  Was the dog possessed by some ancient, or not so ancient, spirit?  Was Buddy an avatar of some sort?  Then the awful truth dawned on her!  She knew that smile!  She recognized those teeth! They belonged to someone in that very room!
    One of us, upon falling asleep, evidently removed his false teeth, perhaps intending to put them in a pocket, and drowsily dropped them on the floor.  So Buddy, who assumes that anything  falling to the floor is is his, decided to try  them out.  Joan, as soon as she realized the situation, shouted “drop it,” and a visibly  shaken dog did just that, while Joan quickly if somewhat reluctantly retrieved them, evidently little the worse for wear, although badly in need of a soaking in Efferdent.
    So, who’s smile was Buddy wearing?  As they used to say on the old time radio shows, “only the names have been changed, to protect the innocent, “ and the owner of that wonderful smile shall remain anonymous..

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