Blogger’s Note: This is a more accurate account of the day the neighbor’s wolf-dog came to visit Boomer and me — much fresher than this one. It originally ran as a column in The Pioneer daily newspaper on Dec. 30, 1997.
It’s been one of those days.
It hasn’t really — “one of those days” implies I’ve had a day like this before, and with enough regularity to refer to it as commonplace, with a cliche.
This day has been like no other in my life.
I rolled in from work at about 1 a.m. Monday morning, a full hour later than one should if Monday’s paper goes together without a hitch. I can’t say just what the problem was Sunday night — computers crash; no one can say just why.
I stumbled through the house without turning on the lights, so as not to disturb our sleeping guests; went to the fridge and pulled out my lunch, which I had forgotten to bring to work, and sat down on the bed beside Jodi to eat.
The clock read 1:30 or so when two shepherd-looking puppies one house to the west began yipping like a pack of coyotes. I hollered once out the back door, and they stopped — briefly. About quarter to two, just after I’d finished eating and gotten comfortable, they started in again; I found myself standing in the snow in shorts and a t-shirt yelling into the black: “Shaddap!”
They did so.
Brendan woke up screaming sometime around three; he was wet through and hungry. The blanket was soaked, his bed was soaked — Jodi asked me to bring him in wet so she could feed him immediately, again to avoid disturbing our guests’ slumber.
Brendan would have none of it — he’s quite particular, our son — so we changed him, head to toe. Jodi fed him, then, and I stripped the bed, tripped down to the basement to gather clean bedding from the dryer, and remade the crib.
Brendan fell asleep beside his mother.
He woke again with the sun, hungry, and Jodi fed him. Her mother — bless her heart — got up and took him from Jodi so we could both get some sleep. I came to around 9:45, remembering my folks were expecting us all for lunch and that I had a dog to feed and a column to write before I could begin paginating Tuesday’s news. I got up.
I turned Boomer loose when I went out to feed him, and as I bent to scoop ice from his water dish, I heard snarling behind me. I turned to find Boomer standing between me and a wolf-dog (more wolf than dog) from two trailers to the east. I was scared, as one might be when one finds a wolf behind him, snarling at his dog. I stepped out of the kennel (Fool!) and told Boomer to kennel up; the wolf loped off toward his trailer, watching me over his shoulder.
I went inside to call my neighbor, the wolf’s master, to let him know his dog was loose and thus attempt to stay on good terms. No listing, and no answer at his mom’s house. Jodi’s dad told me the wolf had come at a run while I was bent over, not looking — I reluctantly called animal control to talk with the owner and possibly catch the wolf.
Jodi and her family left for my parents’ house, and I waited for animal control. I finally left for my parents’, only to get stuck a short way from my house.
I arrived at Mom and Dad’s just in time to eat and head to work for the evening. Jodi’s sister leaves tomorrow morning; it’ll be months before we see her again.
Ah, well — tomorrow is another day, and time to try again.
Tomorrow is another day, and Thursday is another year — both tailor-made for fresh starts and new beginnings. Who knows what either holds? Who knew what Monday would bring, or the day before or this waning year?
I have only to look at yesterday and this past year to witness new beginnings — a new state, new jobs, a new house, a new baby.
The job that keeps me away at night allows me to write this column and pay for our house — who knew yesterday that I’d have a column and we’d have a house? The house that keeps me busy with neighbors, shepherd puppies and wolf-dogs keeps our family and guests warm and secure, and the son that keeps us awake at night has brought more joy than the sweetest dreams. Would I trade him and the house away to rid myself of sleepless nights and fear of wolves? Not on your life.
Tomorrow is another day — who knows what may come?
Who knew a wolf might interrupt dinner?