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(Not now, any time). It’s not cost, space or lack of serving pieces and dishes. Now, that I’ve inherited Mom’s pieces, we are more than equipped. It’s because we have a noise problem. Her name is Lily White, a black Lab with a persistent personality. She’s a beggar.

It’s Jeff’s fault, not mine. He claims Lily saved his life while hunting. He got stuck in mud, quicksand or something gooey. Lily let him grab her collar until he could get his footing. Jeff gratefully vowed to feed her whatever she wanted. Which is everything. That was the beginning of the end of Lily’s table manners.

During COVID-19, we’ve participated in three ZOOM dinner parties. It feels very social. Very enjoyable. The best part: no driving home. The worst part: people want to mute us, thanks to Lily’s incessant barking. She sits quietly underneath the dining room table. For a while. Then she starts tuning up from a yip to a full-out bark.

To quiet her during Passover Seder, I tossed pieces of matzah under the table to her, as well as Charoset. (Apples, nuts, cinnamon, wine), Kugal and matzah ball soup. She loves any main course: beef, pork, fish or fowl.

Lily doesn’t bother Jeff, because he carries the conversation on Zoom and just talks louder over her barks. Meanwhile, I stress, because every time she barks, ZOOM audio cuts out. I worry about the amount and type of food Lily’s ingesting – on top of her dinner which we fed her earlier. I swear, this dog is insatiable.

We “ate” with Tim and Marilyn from Denver on Wednesday. While they engaged in stimulating conversation, I fed Bob Barker. I’d frozen a little cup of dog treat concoction. That lasted forty-five seconds. Next, she got a huge bone, normally lasting hours. This night: maybe seven minutes. I tossed pieces of pasta. Linguini, to be specific. I didn’t want dinner to end, but honestly, I was running out of  food and was afraid of being up all night with a diarrhea dog.

We said good-bye and how we must do this again soon. All I could think of was vacuuming under the table, after assessing the pooch’s picnic. My stress fully evaporated, however, when Lily emerged from under the table. Pieces of linguini were hanging off of her  black head fur in all directions. Okay, so my aim was a little off and I forgot how sticky pasta eventually gets. We got the last laugh of the night. Right before her bagno. That’s Italian for bath.

Take good care,

Bobbe