A Ten Pound Bag
Chapter 64: An Evening with the Neighbors

Copyright© 2020 by Emmeran

As soon as we broke clear of the tree line in the fading light I hello’d the house through cupped hands at the top of my lungs. It’s really best manners to let people know you are coming in, so I was clear in announcing my approach. I sent Brin down to give them a sloppy, happy meet and greet while I followed behind him on the trail.

Thomas and Daisy came out into the yard to meet us and were greeted a bounding and happy Brin; he loved new friends and he wasn’t afraid to show it. He bounded joyfully around the yard with Daisy giving merry chase, I had a pretty good idea someone would be getting a puppy after Mila and Cordi whelped this summer. I’d bring that up with her but carefully mention it to her father later on after the pups were born. I jogged on down to relieve Thomas of his worries with a madcap daughter and my excited hound.

I calmed Brin and after pleasantries were passed we went inside to escape the spring night chill, Brin followed obediently and Daisy traipsed behind reluctantly. Her reluctance melted away as Brin laid out in front of the fire and she immediately joined him; Brin being the attention whore that he was simply laid there with a goofy grin on his doggy face.

I greeted Martha, the lady of the house, with the respect you would use for a lady of a great manor house. She was the lady of the house and should be treated as such until she proved otherwise. I was directed to a chair which sat prominently in front of the fireplace, it was obviously the seat for the man of the house and there weren’t a lot of other choices. It was also directly next to Martha’s rocker which could become an uncomfortable situation very quickly. We’d solved this problem back at home by setting up a speaker’s chair for whomever was telling the story that night, that chair would be the guest of honor chair when we had visitors.

To avoid insult I took a seat where indicated and Thomas sat in the rocker next to me, Martha found a seat on a split log bench which was obviously intended for Daisy. We settled in and there was silence for a moment, it had been a long day for everyone and a minute of calmness settled in as a matter of nature. It wasn’t a tense period of silence, it was people simply relaxing before a nice hearth with a good fire.

Daisy kicked off the conversation with an innocent comment about how nice and sweet Brin was, she really liked my boy and I couldn’t suppress my grin as I looked at Thomas and saw him start to slowly smile. Without a doubt he was remembering that pants-wetting moment when that growl from Brin came from directly behind him. I hadn’t weighed Brin in a while but I knew he weighed 110lbs when I got him and he’d grown since then,

“Well now Daisy,” I started, “it just so happens that we have puppies on the way, Brin is going to be a papa before the summer is over.” Well that earned three different looks from three different people; escalating joy from Daisy, curious concern from Martha and irritation from Thomas. So I decided to pile on, “We also have kittens on the way I’m sure one or two of them will be looking for a new home.”

Boy I had hit a home run in the kid department, she was up bouncing in front of me wanting to know all about it and when she could meet them; the looks of concern and irritation from her parents was priceless. Now I just had to temper her urgency and defuse what I considered to be an hugely amusing problem for her parents.

“Remember Daisy”, I said, “they have to stay with their mother while they are young and they need to be carefully trained. Dogs don’t act like Brin does without going to dog school first, and I know your parents wouldn’t want an untrained dog running around here. Besides you haven’t seen Brin with his dog cart yet, he loves to help work and has his own cart that he pulls around, he can even help carry firewood in the winter.” Well that statement got Thomas’s full attention and I knew we’d have a conversation about this later but I was pushing for advantage and started in on about the cats. “Well Daisy, do you know what the cats eat?”

Daisy shook her head ‘No’ as expected so I went on, “Cats eat mice, rats, snakes, birds and even bugs!” With that Daisy’s face fell and she said “No, my kittens will eat oatmeal and bread and cookies with me, Momma makes the best cookies and I know the kittens will love them!” Both of her parents were sharing extreme concern now, their daughter was looking distraught and this stranger seemed to be winding her up; I’d be concerned also.

Daisy was just flat out beside herself, “But Z what will they eat if they can’t eat the food that Momma makes?” she pleaded.

“Daisy cats and dogs eat food that cats and dogs like, cats are more picky but if you let them they will find their own food; I think your Momma and Poppa would like that.

“The kitten’s mother will teach them how to hunt but it takes a while. I do have good news though, we also have baby chickens and they can eat almost anything but they have to live in the barn cuz they are so messy.”

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