Life with my Dad

Stories I remember from growing up with a "spontaneous" Dad and a tolerant Mom who sometimes didn't think things through all the way before he implemented them. And some about my Mum as well.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Day My Aunt Almost Killed My Dog

When my parents brought me home from the hospital after my birth there were already two girls in the house. Their names were Cindy and Lindy and they were full sized black and tan dacshunds. Lindy was Cindy's daughter and they were a big part of our daily lives. Many of the photos I have of myself as a young child included these dogs.

My family spent many weekends at my Aunt Daphne and Uncle Pete's house. The dogs were welcome along with the family and we all passed pleasant time together. I'm still surprised my Aunt Daphne allowed the dogs in her house because it is a showplace. Everything is pristine and in it's place, dusted, organized, fluffed, folded and polished to perfection. Definately not a place you would expect to welcome dogs.

Many of the women in my family are sentimental and enjoy our traditions, myself included. We save things from special events. We maintain family traditions. The closeness and love of our family members means more to us than anything else in the world. Daphne is no exception to that rule.

Traditions in England are long-held and usually involve a great deal of sentiment (something that is right up my family's alley). One of those traditions is that the top of a wedding cake is usually made from fruitcake and royal icing. This combination of ingredients means the cake can be saved for a long period of time without becoming moldy. Many people save the tops of their wedding cakes and eat them on their first anniversary. Again, Daphne was no exception to this rule and had saved her wedding cake. She didn't, however, eat it on her first anniversary and still had the cake top more than 10 years later. It was carefully wrapped in foil and stored in her kitchen cabinet.

Our elder dog, Cindy, was growing old and had developed what my parents called 'sugar diabetes'. She would eat anything in sight and would sniff out food in the most obscure places. We didn't have to worry about there being a stray crumb under the table or a stray morsel anywhere. Cindy cleaned us out. She even learned how to open our refrigerator and eat everything she could reach. For a long time we couldn't put anything on the bottom 2 shelves of the fridge because it would be gone.

Put a dog with an insatiable appetite into a kitchen with a hidden wedding cake top and you have a recipe for disaster. While we were out shopping one day Cindy found the cake and, in spite of it's state of near fossilization due to old age, gnawed a huge chunk off the corner. I'm not sure if we came home in time to catch her in the act or if the cake was so petrified her old teeth gave out but the topper wasn't completely destroyed.

I don't remember exactly what happened next (you know how they say you block out traumatic events) but both Daphne and the dog survived. There was probably a good deal of yelling and the issuance of a canine banishiment decree. Most likely, thanks to the sentiment gene carried by the women in my family, there was a careful surgical excision of the chewed corner followed by a more secure wrapping job, and ancient Egypt-esque entombment of the remaining cake. It wouldn't surprise me to learn today, after almost 50 years of marriage, that Daphne still has the remains of her cake topper.


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