Passing The Dog’s Kiss Test

, , , , | Friendly | May 21, 2020

My great-grandparents lived in a rural area and my great-grandfather worked mostly night shifts in the port, so they had a large guard dog to protect home and family. When the dog heard a disturbance at night, he would lay his massive head on the bed to alert my great-grandmother. She would listen and if it was her husband, she would indicate that all was okay.

During the day, however, the dog would put his paws on the shoulders of whoever tried to enter the home, and people were only allowed in if my great-grandmother kissed them.

My great-grandmother helped start up the local chapter of the equivalent to the WI or farmers’ wives or something similar. That meant she had to deal a whole lot with the local pastor… who also had to get his kiss each time he visited.

The story doesn’t tell whether he liked it.

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Anyone Else’s Teeth Hurt?

, , , , , | Related | May 21, 2020

Dad: “What are these?”

Me: “Pistachios without the shell.”

Dad: “The shell is the best part!”

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“Answer Your Cat’s Questions” Day Isn’t Until January 22!

, , , , , , , , | Learning | May 20, 2020

Like many professors during the current health crisis, I am teaching my class online from home. I have online office hours every day, and I tend to lock myself in my home office so I can have peace and quiet when I’m talking with my students.

This morning I am holding office hours with three of my students, answering questions about a lecture topic. After ten minutes of back and forth, there seems to be general agreement among the students, but I want to make sure.

Me: “How does everyone feel about that? Any more questions?”

There was a moment of silence followed by a very loud “MEOW.”

My students heard it and started laughing from three different time zones. They got it, but apparently, the cat had gotten stuck in the office and she definitely had a question.

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A Shortcut To Your Man’s Heart

, , , , , | Romantic | May 20, 2020

Like a lot of people who grew up in rural areas, I get really, really excited about morel mushrooms. My boyfriend has never tried morels before; he likes mushrooms but doesn’t get why I’m so excited about these ones. When I invite him to come morel-hunting with my family and me one spring, he declines because it’s a four-hour drive each way.

I come back covered in mud, exhausted, and with about a pound and a half of morels, grinning from ear to ear, and clean and prep them for him to cook the next day. Following the Internet and my recommendation, he lightly batters them with ground hazelnut, fries them, and tips them off onto a paper towel to cool.

He’s still hesitant, but grabs one to try… and his eyes go wide. He finishes that one, reaches for another, and starts bouncing up and down. He’s usually a stoic, and I have literally never seen him react like this before!

Boyfriend: “Okay, I get it. I want to come morel-hunting next year! Think we can find more of these?! Enough to dry and keep year-round?”

I can’t resist teasing a bit.

Me: “Even with eight hours of driving?”

Boyfriend: “H*** yeah!”

I was delighted to add my boyfriend to our yearly foraging party next spring!

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Slippers, Sneakers, And Tighty-Whities Are Next

, , , , | Friendly | May 18, 2020

My husband and I have just bought our first home and moved in with our kitty. It is the peak of summer and we are getting him used to the new house before letting him hang out in the yard, so he has not been outside to explore yet. He seems pretty keen on it; he was an apartment kitty before and now we live on a street with only four houses and almost zero traffic. He is a very distinctive white cat with brown socks and brown ear tips.

Once the weather cools down and he is used to the house, I take our kitty out to the back deck and plonk him down, which he responds to by rolling in the grass and sniffing a tree before curling up in the garden bed to nap. I sit outside with him for a bit and then go inside to get a drink. When I come back, I think I am seeing things. There are TWO of him!

An identical cat is perched on the fence leading to my neighbor’s house, and they are holding a staring contest. I go to scoop up my cat when a woman around my age pops her head over the fence.

Neighbor: “Hello! You must be— Oh!” 

She spots my boy in my arms and looks back and forth from him to her cat, who is now purring and headbutting her.

Neighbor: “Well, I’m [Neighbor], and we apparently have twin cats.”

Me: *Laughing* “I’m [My Name], and this is Scarf!”

My neighbor cracks up laughing so hard she nearly falls off of the fence. I’m used to people laughing at Scarf’s name, but she finally stops laughing and picks up her cat.

Neighbor: “This is Pants!”

We both laughed a lot that afternoon, joking about how we needed some more cats to complete the outfit — which did happen a few months ago when they got a kitten named Socks! — and made sure we didn’t own any of the same collars so we could tell them apart.

As I type this, Pants has let himself in through the cat door to loaf around on Scarf’s cat tree. They are both getting older but are firm friends, just like our neighbor is for us. Matching cats are a great icebreaker!

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