On every family holiday, the dogs wake me up a little earlier than usual. It is not remarkable that the dogs can tell time. They know when it’s time to get up and go out, when it’s time for breakfast, when Mommy comes home from work and when it’s time to go to bed.
However, I find it kind of surprising that they take notice of every event where we expect guests for dinner. I suppose it’s the rare outing that I leave them alone in the house and run out to the grocery, distinguished at holidays by my return, when I put them out in the backyard while I unload the car. Regular grocery runs don’t require me to make multiple trips to unload. Holiday shopping also means I am in the kitchen for extended periods of time both the evening before & the day of the special meal.
Then there are the smells. Even though the holiday food has been stored when I let the dogs back in, the lingering smells let them know something special is ahead. We generally don’t prepare turkey or ham except at family holidays. Additionally, I often add something festive that my family won’t touch, lamb at Easter, goose or duck at Christmas, or even rabbit. Yesterday as I pounded out a boned leg of lamb for roulades, the dogs cheered me on like a guest chef on the Food Network.
We traditionally have an Easter buffet in the afternoon after church. Since both my 96-year-old mother-in-law and my own 80-year-old mother were on the guest list, we had the expected ham and potato salad on the menu. (Neither of the ladies are fans of my adventurous palate, an opinion that pleases the dogs because there are more leftovers for them.) With both the smell of lamb & ham wafting through the house, the dogs danced about merrily anticipating double portions of holiday fare.
After church, the dogs patiently take their place back outside while the human side of the family enjoys one more holiday together. The seniors soon have their fill of my cooking and my company, so depart with my wife back to their individual homes. Now I and the dogs can enjoy our own holiday tradition, another visit to the kitchen where I separate out the acceptable meat scraps & drippings from the parts too rich or spicy for the dogs (I probably should be avoiding them myself, but it’s my traditional holiday indulgence). The dogs get just a small portion, but I will freeze some of the doggy holiday treats to serve in between family gatherings.
Soon we are all back in the family room, and I can catch up on my e-mail while the dogs enjoy a post holiday meal nap. Life is good. I hope all of you had a wonderful Passover and Easter. And that’s today’s Back Story.