SNOW DAY

“Where’s the bathroom?”

“Right there in the snow, Harry.”

That’s a bathroom?”

He reminds me of my old Golden, Woody, whom I raised for a couple of years in the woods around Woodstock. I brought him back down to Yonkers when I returned to work with Bernie. The first morning I leashed him and took him out on the pavement to pee. He didn’t pee. On and on we walked, he looking up at me occasionally, and he didn’t pee. Finally I got the idea. Each time he looked up at me he was asking: Where the bathroom? I crossed the street and walked a little till we got to a green park, and he peed right away.

He was one well-educated dog.

“I know the snow’s a foot high, Harry, but you can do it.”

“I know I can do it, the question is where? Dig a trench for me.”

“What are you, a Marine?”

“I ain’t peeing in a ton of snow.”

“You are such a wimp, Harry!” says Aussie, who’s been tracking the snow half the night and now can hardly wait to roll Harry in it.

“I’m from Mississippi, Auss!”

“And I’m from Texas, where the guys are guys and the gals are tougher. Now get out!”

It’s a snow day, and now the two dogs are running around like a pair of banshees in the snow.

“What do you mean, a pair of banshees? One banshee–moi. Harry didn’t run till I pushed him outI”

That’s exactly what Aussie did. The two stood by the open door of my office leading down to steps that were covered by at least a foot of snow, Aussie going into her high-pitched twang: “Come on already! Would you come on!”

Harry wasn’t coming. Aussie finally lost all patience, pushed her long snout against his hind legs and sent him tumbling down the stairs.

“I almost drowned!”

He started getting up, but she ran past him so hard that into the snow he tumbled a second time, and when he got up he was past caring. The two ran—yes—like a pair of banshees, coming into the house just to grab a stuffed otter or turtle, dangle and shake it in front of the other, and then rush off out to the snow with the second in hot pursuit.

I opened the front door to talk to Tim, busy shoveling a path out front, and the two escaped with a whoop and ran up the unplowed driveway, slipping and scrambling. They expect another 5-8 inches this afternoon and evening. I looked up the driveway nostalgically, put on my boots, jacket, hat, and gloves, and went out to join them.

“Took you long enough,” snapped Aussie.

“You know, Auss,” I tell her, “I remembered how when we were kids we’d leap out of bed after a night of snow. Nobody wanted to come in.”

Aussie was gone before I could finish my sentence. When the two dogs and I finally came home Harry jumped on the futon for a nap while I sat at my computer.

And Aussie? She’s back in ambush mode since we put up squirrel feeders, sidling around the back of the house, waiting for any squirrel with designs on the birdfeeder. But she’s in for a disappointment. We’ve had a banner year for acorns and the squirrels have squirreled away plenty.

“They’ll be out again in a month or two,” I tell her, “so you can come in now.”

“Are you kidding? Gotta practice my moves.”