big family weekend for both man and beast

big family weekend for both man and beast

In a tradition that began when they were still in the military, our daughter Charlotte and her husband Andrew threw their doors wide open once again to welcome both sides of the family to a Thanksgiving weekend feast and fest.

The logistics of the event have always been straightforward: We drive to wherever they happen to be living at the time, and the kids take care of the rest. With daylong drives to Fort Bragg, Fort Lee and Fort Drum in our rearview mirror, the four-hour hop to Kentucky would be a piece of cake.

We knew that for Frankie, our recently adopted mutt, the trip would be yet another test of his puppy patience, but we reassured him throughout the journey with the promise of big, big fun once we got there. Dogs are family in our gang, and no one gets left behind. It’s no stretch to say the mutts have had as much fun with these get-togethers as the rest of us over the years.

One particularly memorable holiday meet-up saw a household filled with 10 people, six dogs and a pair of cats who likely thought they’d died and descended directly into hell. That year the turkey ended up on the floor, compliments of Parker — the one dog we felt we could trust to remain inside during the family feast. His credentials were impeccable. Turns out Parker was a secret agent.

Back to this year’s adventure. Frankie rode the highway like a champ. Even with the backseat all to himself, he chose to lounge above the luggage in the rear window just to prove he was cool.

Frankie’s reward was lined up at the living room window when we pulled in the drive, and within moments of our arrival, he was cavorting through the yard with three other slobbering goofballs. Charlotte’s dogs were a known quantity coming into the weekend, but Frankie had not yet made the acquaintance of the comely young Labrador, Belle La Belle, who had traveled the whole way from New England with Andrew’s mother. Butts were sniffed, tails were wagged and the two were instantly smitten.

With the canine crew seemingly set, we humans ventured out for a few hours on Friday night to take in the local flavor. As a precautionary measure, of course, we made an effort to remove all possible temptations before we left — sort of like locking up the liquor cabinet when the teenagers are home alone. Pies on top of the refrigerator, crackers and snacks in the kitchen cupboard and all other items stuffed safely in the fridge, we set out for the evening.

A few hours into our adventure, Andrew said, “Hey, anybody want to see what the dogs are up to?”

The image from the baby monitor Andrew had relocated to the living room just for this occasion came into focus on the small screen. The scene unfolded to utter chaos.

Apparently, someone had intended to surprise the rest of us with an entire package of Red Velvet Oreo cookies as a cap to a weekend of food and fun. Unfortunately, only four of us — the ones with sharp teeth, long noses and extremely acute senses of smell — were present to partake of that treat. I can report, however, that the mood appeared incredibly festive in a room filled with blue and pink packaging that had been shredded to confetti.

Family times are the best times — even for the puppy dogs.

Kristin and John Lorson would love to hear from you. Write Drawing Laughter, P.O. Box 170, Fredericksburg, OH 44627, or email John at jlorson@alonovus.com.