Farmer H and The Pony arrived home from bowling league yesterday, empty-handed. You'd think they could remember to pick up the mail every Saturday. But no. For some reason they think I park down by the creek and wait for its delivery the whole time they are bowling. Mail has been slow here in Hillmomba. Slow. Like an old man chasing a Humpty-Dumpty-with-a-melon-head on a Rascal. My 44 oz. Diet Coke expeditions do not last three hours. I might as well live in a van down by the river if I'm going to wait in a T-Hoe down by the creek for that un-Gummi-Maryly amount of time.
Of course Farmer H's mail omission did not phase him at all. He was quick to turn the spotlight away from himself. "I'll get it tonight when I go to the auction. Do you know what we found on the porch when we got home? AN EGG! Your dog has been up to her tricks again."
Au contraire. Is my sweet, sweet Juno the one I watched carry TWO eggs in her mouth, crack them open with her jaws, and lap up the contents under my lilac bush? No. That was Ann, Ann, the chicken-fruit fan. My sweet, sweet Juno only tailed her and delicately licked the slick remains from the broken shells when Ann moved on to sleep off her snack. Was my sweet, sweet Juno the one who carried an egg around for two days, and napped in the front yard with it held protectively between her front paws? No. That was Ann, Ann, canine with a career-as-a-chick-nanny plan. Why would my sweet, sweet Juno leave such a treasure unprotected on the front porch when she has the dog house to end all dog houses on the back porch, which she guards with a testy growl throughout the day and night, even when no would-be usurpers are even in the vicinity? She would take that purloined protein package right into her home for safekeeping.
Juno is really very smart. Not that I'm partial to her or anything. To gaze into her eyes is like looking into limpid pools of amber compassion. Looking into Ann's eyes is like looking into the beady plastic peepers of a toy cymbal-banging monkey with Uncle Leo eyebrows. Nobody home.
This afternoon, upon de-greasing a skillet of hamburger fat by using Nutty Oat bread as a sponge, I stepped out the kitchen door to give my sweet, sweet Juno a treat. "Junie? I've got something for you! Come on out, baby." The snout that poked itself from the veiled darkness of the Fido Taj Mahal was not the chewy black nose of my sweet, sweet Juno. It was attached to ANN! "Ack! None for you! Junie...JUNIE...I've got a treat! Come on!" Juno ran around the corner of the porch near the garage. She had been biding her time, no doubt, until the moment was right to repossess her abode.
I stood in the doorway as Juno trotted over to me and accepted a square of grease bread. I had four. Ann stepped out of her squatter's shack. I handed Juno another hunk. As she hopefully nosed at the bottom of the paper plate for more, I took the very smallest, least greasy slab and tossed it across the porch, into the snow. Ann went for it. Juno took the last piece. She laid it down and stood over it. When Ann ran over to try and take it, Juno gobbled it down. She turned and shouldered into Ann, wagging her tail, trying to nip her muzzle. They pranced along beside the Juno's prime real estate, almost to the corner of the porch. They wrestle like this early in the mornings, feinting and flopping and tail-sweeping. All at once, Juno ran back and dove over her threshold, into her cedar-chip-carpeted single-dweller home.
She's a smart one, my sweet, sweet Juno.