The other curious incident of the dog in the night-time

4 a.m.

I am vaguely aware of wagging near my head. I open my eyes.

Jake: Oh, hey Dave! *wag wag wag*

Me: Mmph?

Jake: I think I need to go outside! *wag wag wag*

Me: Bathroom?

Jake: I guess so! *wag wag wag*

I get up. We walk to the front door. He steps a few paces from the house into the wet grass. He is just standing there.

Jake: *sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff*

I lean against the door frame and close my eyes.

Jake: Boy! What a beautiful night! *sniff sniff sniff*

Me: Yup.

Jake: *sniiiiifff* I just love the smell of the air just after it rains!

Me: *yawn* Uh huh.

Jake: *sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff*

Me: Are you going to go, or what?

Jake: I guess not! Let's go back to bed!

I follow him back to the room. He collapses on his rug and falls instantly asleep.

I forgive him for this. He is a good boy and does not ask for much. After a few minutes, I fall asleep, too.


5:12 a.m.

Wagging again.

Jake: Oh, hey Dave!

Drunk again, apparently

It is a sunny Saturday evening. We've been invited to the home of some new friends for supper.

Our kids and their kids are getting along great. No hesitation. Just play.

This is nice, I think to myself.

Paul, our host, offers me a beer.

"Sure." I say.

We stand and chat next to the swings. Henry is swinging and listening.

Henry: Hey, Dad. Just drinkin' a beer, eh?

Me: Yup.

Henry turns to our host.

Henry: My dad gets drunk all the time.

Long pause.

Me: Thanks, Cornbread.

Early morning dogs

It is 5:34 a.m.

Alice and I are on the couch. We are playing dogs.

Alice's Dog: Hello.

My Dog: Hello.

Alice's Dog: I have blue eyes.

My Dog: I have black eyes.

Alice's Dog: I wish I had black eyes.

My Dog: I wish I had blue eyes.

Alice's Dog: Let's dance!

My Dog: Okay!

They dance.

Alice's Dog: I am wearing a red collar.

My Dog: I don't have any collar.

Alice's Dog: I wish I didn't have a collar.

My Dog: I wish I had a red collar.

Alice's Dog: Let's dance again!

My Dog: Yay!

They dance.


Take a picture, it'll last longer



I am pushing the girls on the tire swing. Alice straddles the rope on top of the tire. Jane is wedged inside the tire itself.

"Higher, Daddy! Higher!"

I am already pushing them too high, but I oblige. Their cheeks bulge with the kind of smile than cannot be repressed. They are giggling and laughing.

"I'm getting dizzzzzzzy!"

Bits of sunlight sneak through the leafy canopy and dapple their tanned faces. The air catches their golden curls. The wind ripples their sun dresses.

I'm going to take a picture.

I never take pictures, but I'm not going to let this moment go by.

The camera is in the house. We're having fun right now. We'll come back later, recreate the scene, and then take a picture.


After supper. We're sitting on the picnic table. 

It's past bedtime, but the sun is shining. It's Friday night. There's no rush.

"Oh!" I say, remembering. "Girls, let's go take your picture out on the tire swing."


They run to the swing. I step inside the house and grab the camera. Before I walk out the back door, I can hear the shouting.

"HENRY! DAD said he was taking OUR picture!"








The tire swing knocks into Jane. She topples to the ground.

"MWAAAAAAAAAH! Daddy! He hit me! Mwwaaaaaaah!"

I pick up a sobbing Jane. Alice's eyes are just starting to stream sympathy tears. The three of them are a symphony of screaming.

I slip the camera into my pocket. Jane wipes her puffy red eyes.

"I thought you were going to take our picture? We look so pretty."

The future

We are eating breakfast. Henry is swaying back and forth in his chair.

Me: What are you doing?

Henry: (still swaying) I'm time traveling. To the future.

Me: Woa. How far in the future?

Henry: Ten seconds.

He stops swaying and looks around. His gaze lands on Jane.

Henry: You're still eating that toast?

Roller coaster

We're driving along a winding country road. As we begin climbing yet another hill, Henry starts the game we've been playing lately: roller coaster.

"Still going up! Still going up! Still going UP!" he chants. We all join in.

"Still going UP! Still GOING UP! STILL GOING UP..."

Our voices become incrementally louder and more shrill with each chant.


We reach the crest of the hill and begin our descent.


My cheeks hurt from smiling. The kids are giggling. It's so wonderful that they're sill young. Every little thing is so fun.

"Dad, know what I was saying?" says Jane with bright eyes. "I was saying, "Still GROWING up! Still GROWING up!'"

I clutch my chest.

"Ooooh! Ouch, Jane! Ow! Oh!"

I am being maybe a touch dramatic.

"What?" she asks. "What'd I do?"

Erin puts her hand on my arm.

"You shot your daddy in the heart again, sweetie."

Paper money, part two

Part one is here.

I am four years old. I'm sitting on the red carpet in my bedroom. A small pile of coins lays before me. 

"One," I say, sliding a coin to create a new pile, "two, three, four..."

My seven-year-old sister stands at the door, watching.

"You're doing that wrong," says Karen.

"No, I'm not," I say, my face flushed. "I know how to count. Five, six...."

"No. You're doing it wrong," she says calmly. She holds up one of the brown coins. "This is one," she explains. She puts it aside and picks up a fat silver one with a beaver on it. "This is five. And this," she says, picking up a smaller silver coin with a boat on it, "is ten."

"But it's smaller than the beaver."

"It's still ten," she says.

"I'm going to count it my way," I say with some defiance, "then we'll count it yours."


I count my way. She counts hers.

"Hey, you have a dollar!" she exclaims.

I don't know what this means.

"Yay!" I yell.

"Let's see if Mum will give you paper money for it!"


We run out of the room. 


Mum did trade it for paper money, which was pretty fabulous. I nearly gave it away a few Sundays later to a nice man who ate supper at our house. He was so nice. I wanted to show him I how nice I thought he was. I ran to my room, pulled the dollar from my bank, and offered it to him. He was very flustered and refused it.

I'm not sentimental with things, but I still have that dollar. I have no idea why I've kept it. I never planned to do so. After a few years, I still had it. I got into the habit of keeping it. I kept on keeping it.