This & That: Norris

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By: Dave Bowman

If I may, I’d like to share small insights and thoughts, time to time, that life sends our way. These may not be monumental or profound, but they do compose the tapestry, which weaves throughout our lives everyday. As you read and ponder, my hope is that it may trigger a memory or maybe just a smile. If that happens, then the effort is well worth it.

My boyhood and adult years have seen many different types of pets come and go. Guinea pigs, a chinchilla, gerbils, fish, birds, and store bought painted turtles (accompanied by a plastic living habitat with a “desert island” complete with exotic plastic palm trees as the centerpiece), and, of course, the perennial classic “man’s best friend”.

Several different types of dogs have graced our families’ lives through the years. From the precocious poodle of my wife’s youth, named Morky, to “Peanuts”, a small Rat Terrier of my formulative years. After marrying and starting to raise a family of our own, there was that innate desire for our children to enjoy the company and friendship of a dog.

Our first venture was a free gift from my wife’s cousin, who lived on a farm. Through circumstances and happenstance, beyond their control, they were blessed with a litter of puppies of a Labrador and Pekinese lineage. Yep, you heard it right. And, may I say, I was thinking the same thing! The combination was unique and possibly historic, but since FREE was the strong operative word, we decided to give it a whirl. Now, what you’ve got is a critter the size of a Pekinese, with the hair, tail, and face of a Labrador. Yep, it was what I affectionately called our “Teenage Mutant Ninja Dog.”

After that little adventure, our next foray into the dog kingdom was a sweet Golden Retriever who we called Misty.  Misty was a perfect compliment to the family, being loyal, affectionate, protective, smart as a whip, and tolerant of any humiliation our kids could throw at her. How many times she could allow funny hats and bandanas put on her head and still want to lie by the kids’ beds is beyond me!

After Misty’s sad passing, while a dog may be in our future, our household has gotten our “dog fix” in other ways – dog sitting for friends, or playing with the neighbors’ dogs. Which brings us to…Norris.

Acquired by our daughter’s boyfriend, Norris is a Lab, Collie, Spaniel mix. He bounds into the house greeting everyone eagerly, and his radar, and nose, tuned into the smell of anything resembling a tasty morsel. His energy is limitless. Think of Garfield’s friend, Odie, on Red Bull. And his curiosity knows no bounds.

One recent evening while chatting with my daughter and her boyfriend in our living room, Norris cleverly snuck away, exploring new avenues to whet his appetite. The boyfriend politely gets up and returns, mentioning nonchalantly that Norris “might have taken some of the chicken” that was cooling on the kitchen stove. Flashes of “A Christmas Story” zipped through my mind, seeing the whole chicken devoured – “No chicken salad… no chicken a’la king…no chicken soup…gone, all gone!” Springing to the kitchen, there was the evidence, a portion of white meat neatly separated from the rest of the bird. At least he knows how to do it. Be that as it may, Norris just looked at us with those big brown eyes, licking his chops and wondering when we would be going back to the living room, already plotting his next caper like Tom Cruise in “Mission Impossible.”

Like Norris, life can give us what we need, and life may not always be what we had planned, but it sure can be a fun ride.  And, like Norris, life is a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.

Sir Norris

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