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Title: The Original Delinquent Dog

Date Occurred: December 27, 1991

Date written: February 1, 1992, but I tape recorded the original conversation

Date edited and prepared for the web: May 6, 2003

Written by: Joel T. Kant

Copyright (c) 2003 by Joel T. Kant

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Sipping from her cup, my brother James' wife Nora declared, "This is good coffee."

"It's french vanilla," my mother informed her.

Mom explained to the others gathering around the dining room table who did not have their coffee yet, "You have a choice of french vanilla, hazel nut, or regular decaffeinated coffee. There are more regular choices."

Much of the family had gathered at my parentsí house in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin for that Christmas. Grandfather had flown up from Florida. All my siblings had also come back from the various cities and states where they now live, just as I had come back from Boston. Since it was the morning only two days after the holiday, they were still there. Around the table were Mom, my brother James, his wife Nora, my Grandfather, and myself. My other brother Philip, my sister Anne, and Dad were not at the table that morning, although they had been around for Christmas. I knew Dad had left for work. I assumed Philip and Anne simply had not gotten up yet.

James decided, "I'll have french vanilla today, hazel nut tomorrow."

Referring to the caffeinated coffees because I think he had looked over the variety earlier, Grandfather asked, "Can I have raspberry?"

Looking at what was available, Mother asked, "Raspberry and cream?"

"Yes," agreed Grandfather. "When I got up before you, Frank explained he just fixes plain coffee."

As she fixed her father his flavored coffee, Mom claimed, "That way he doesn't have to make a choice."

Frank is my father. He wasn't there to reply to that criticism because he had already gone to work.

I myself wasn't drinking coffee. I never do because I don't like the taste, plus coffee has upset my stomach the few times I tried it. I was having orange juice. None of the others were following my example. I wasn't sure if my youngest brother, Philip, had started drinking coffee yet.

James wasn't sure about our brother either because he asked, "Does Philip drink coffee yet, Mom?"

Before she could respond, Grandfather put in, "He drank a cup this morning. First time I saw him drink coffee."

It was news to me that Philip had gotten up and headed out already. He is traditionally a late riser.

Mom has a new dog. He bounded up to the table to be petted by Grandfather. Because Sam is a very large black labrador, he is impossible not to notice. Sam's presence as Grandfather petted him brought up the subject of previous dogs that Mom had when she was growing up.

Looking at her father, Mom reminisced, "We had lots of dogs, but few that were really good."

"Yes," agreed Grandfather, with some regret.

After mentioning two dogs that she had in her childhood that she thought had been good dogs, Mom switched to discussing one of the bad dogs, "There was this one smart dog that figured out...this is when paper milk cartoon first came out..."

"Millie," interrupted Grandfather.

Mom continued with the story, "She went all the way up the block. She had this whole gang of dog friends that she would take with her."

Grandfather insisted, "She was the original delinquent dog."

Mom explained, "They would go and open up everybody's milk. Then, I taught her to fetch the newspaper. We ended up with all the neighbors' newspapers that our dog had brought back."

Nora laughed, "How hilarious!"

"The neighbors used to complain," Grandfather corroborated.

Mom added, "People would leave their garage doors open. She would bring back all sorts of things stored in their garages, like ice skates."

Grandfather said, "She had a regular gang of dogs that she was ringleader of."

James asked, "What was the dog's name?"

Mom and Grandfather replied in unison as though the dog was still there to be scolded, "Millie!"

THE END


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