The Reading Education Assistance Dog (R.E.A.D.) didn’t want to hear that story about the dying dog. . .

Our pets, ourselves
And: In memoriam — including: There’s a signpost up ahead…

Crazy Dog Lady: “The stories about reading to kids reminds me of my standard poodle, Ben, who was not only a certified therapy dog for many years, but also qualified to be a R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dog). He spent many hours at a school and various libraries having kids read to him.


“It is a popular program, and the kids love it because the dogs are non-judgmental, so the kids are more comfortable reading out loud to them. Ben listened to many stories over the years — and also comforted a lot of kids who had problems or issues, simply by being there for them to pet and love. He returned the favor a hundredfold.

“One of our favorite memories was at a library where a girl about 8 years old was sitting on the floor next to Ben and reading a story about a dog, and the dog was sick and obviously not going to make it. When she got to the part about the dog dying, Ben raised his paw and slammed the book shut! It sure broke the ice and softened the sad story, because it was a quite dramatic and surprising event! I always thought it was mere coincidence, but at times now I am not so sure. Maybe he understood more than I gave him credit for.

“My sweet Ben went to the Rainbow Bridge a little over a year ago, and I miss him every day.”

Our pets, ourselves

WriteWoman of Shoreview: “Subject: Picky, picky, picky!

“Mysteries in the House:

“I was eating some shrimp in a lovely lemon cilantro dressing for lunch on Sunday. On the side of the plate, I added cocktail sauce in which to dip some of them.

“Mopsli, our cat with a good nose for yummy stuff, jumped in my lap and with soulful eyes stared at me, begging for a little. As I was eating the last one, she meowed, so I put the plate with the last bite on the floor.

“She jumped down and began devouring . . . the cocktail sauce and the cilantro/lemon dressing — leaving the shrimp on the plate!”

Life as we know it
Outhouses and Port-a-Potties Division

Dorothy of Connecticut: “The recent pictures of the ruins of Ephesus bring back memories!



“Our tour guide in Ephesus remarked that since people wore togas, they still preserved some modesty even in a communal restroom.”

Fellow travelers
Or: Unclear on the concept (Juvenile Division)

Kathy S. of St Paul: “A bathroom story, though not of an outhouse.

“In 1995 I visited Versailles, and used the bathroom near Marie Antoinette’s ‘little’ palaces: Petit and Grand Trianon. The Men’s and Women’s toilets were in their own rooms, and everyone washed their hands at a shared sink between them. On the outside wall of the Men’s Room was an extra urinal, where a man could circumspectly do his business.

“An American tried to coach his 4-year-old son to discreetly use this urinal, but the boy just stared blankly and dropped trou to his ankles. So we were treated to the sight of a dimpled derriere, as his dad shrugged in resignation.”

Fellow travelers (responsorial)
Or: Today’s helpful hint

Booklady: “For your reading pleasure:

“If, unlike Itinerant [BB, 1/9/2017], you cannot go to Botswana, indulge yourself with some fine reading set in Botswana.

“Alexander McCall Smith’s series ‘The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency’ ranges outward from the capital of Gaborone as far as the Okavango delta, taking Mma Ramotswe and her associates (and nemeses) on many adventures. One gets a very clear picture of both the country and its people.

“For an extra treat, try them as audiobooks. The reader is from South Africa, and she captures the lilt of the language. I wait impatiently for each new installment.

“For a different flavor, try ‘Whatever You Do, Don’t Run,’ written by a former safari guide in Botswana. It also brings you right into the country. My personal favorite part involves a honey badger in the camp dining hall.


Great comebacks

Rusty of St. Paul: “I was at the bar of a fancy St. Paul establishment last evening. The couple the next table over had an adorable 1-year-old. The baby got a bit fussy, so the dad got him up for a walk. The baby must have just learned how to, as he was quite unsteady on his feet.

“I pointed toward the wobbly boy and told the server: ‘Better cut him off. He can hardly walk.’

“The server one-upped me by going over to the dad and saying: ‘Sir, we’re calling him a cab.'”

What’s in a name?

Lael Smith writes: “Fun times at church welcoming coffee, about the relatedness of our newcomers’ surnames: McIntosh, Harrelson, and Cortland. But I forgot mine: Granny Smith! Sounds like an apple-of-your-eye group.”

See world
Photography Division

Mounds View Swede writes again: “Just two of us returned to the U.P. in the fall of 2013, to visit one more time for fall photos. We decided to try some new waterfalls and, with the familiar ones, to look more closely at the other parts of the Presque Isle River, besides the falls.

“The sunset on Lake Superior was not spectacular, but towards the end, the clouds looked as though they were all converging to where the sun had been. ‘Wait for us!’


“We had been told about Root Beer Falls and decided to take a look, since it was close to the town of Wakefield, where we stayed the first night. It’s called that because of the color of the water — kind of brownish — due to the tannic acid in the water.


“After that, we took a longer hike inland to photograph O Kun de Kun Falls, named after an Ojibway chief. It is one of the few ‘plunge’ falls near Lake Superior, where you can walk behind the falling water if you are careful.


“I saw this pair of trees coming in, and it reminded me of the song in the musical ‘Annie’ that has a line ‘Together at last…together forever.’ I had videotaped and photographed that musical at the school where I used to work this same year, and once I saw this pair of trees, the song stayed with me for hours, along with the memories of the fantastic cast of students that performed. I took this photo in memory of that and sent it to the two leads in the play — Annie and Daddy Warbucks.”


The Permanent Family Record (responsorial III)

Hudson Grandmama: “The ‘Crabby Grandma’ reference [BB, 1/7/2017] reminded me of my grandparents.

“My grandma on my mother’s side, Grandma P., was the crabby grandma. Oh, she sewed for us and baked cookies, but she wasn’t one to hold us on her lap, tell us stories or even smile very much.

“The grandpa on that side, however, was full of fun — always hugging, giving whisker rubs and handing out candy.

“My grandma on my father’s side, Grandma G., was the very essence of grandmother-hood. She made us doll clothes, homemade modeling clay and created what we called ‘laughing tea parties.’

“The grandpa on my father’s side wasn’t too crabby, but he was a big man with a deep voice. He worked second shift, so we didn’t see him much. When he was awake while we were at their house, he was always busy in the garden or with his beehives. He just wasn’t very approachable — at least to me.

“One day when I was about 5 years old, I was having a conversation with Grandma G. I told her that it was too bad that she wasn’t married to Grandpa P., and Grandpa G. wasn’t married to Grandma P. Then the two crabby grandparents would be together, and the two nice grandparents would be together. Grandma G. asked why I thought Grandpa G. was crabby. I don’t remember what I told her, but I do remember that she looked a little upset.

“She must have relayed my remarks to Grandpa G. The next time I saw him, he seemed to have changed. Maybe his voice wasn’t as gruff. Maybe he made a point of talking to me. I’m not sure what it was, exactly, but I never again thought of him as crabby.

“He’s been gone since 1977, and I still miss him.”

Matinee Idle (Vol. 1, No. 7) (responsorial)
Or: Oopps! Or: Only a __________ would notice!

LLjk: “Yep, I’m sure I’m not the only one who noticed, and am probably not the only one commenting [Bulletin Board says: You are, strangely enough!], but in the ‘Matinee Idle, Vol. 1, No. 7,’ the baby elephant receives (not recieves — ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’ and all that …)”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We can assure you that, despite the other readers’ silence, you are not the only one who noticed. We noticed instantly! It’s both our blessing and our curse.

Vanity, thy name is . . .

Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “The Equinox was in the left-turn lane on County Road E at Highway 61, when I noticed the personalized plate: ‘GROUCH.’

“The vehicle was red, not a trash-can color, and I couldn’t make out the pigmentation of the driver, so I can’t say whether or not it was Oscar.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Coulda been The Shoreview Grouch!

Our theater of seasons
Including: The vision thing

Writes Doris G. of Randolph, Minnesota: “Maybe she is wishing for spring to come soon.”


The highfalutin diversions
Virtual Jigsaw Puzzles Division

Poet X of PDX: “My father’s clutter in his garage made a great puzzle.”

Band Name of the Day: The Dimpled Derrieres

Website of the Day: “Japan’s trains are in a league of their own. Japan’s subculture of train fanatics is no different.”

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