It's been ten years since Marian and I were married and I am still learning things about her. Maybe this is no surprise to other married men, but naive me, I thought she was a known quantity. I don't know how to put this gently, so I'll just blurt it out: She steals dogs. Not just every dog of course, only Siberian huskys. While no one has actually seen her committing the dastardly deed, the evidence is overwhelming. Strange dogs keep showing up inside our fenced yard. She then puts a bland, innocent look on her face and says "Well, I just don't know where we can place him, and it would be a shame to take him/her to the pound" Further inquiry develops few facts. We just got rid of the last "stray" husky, Red Dog, to a poor unsuspecting family with four kids and two fenced acres in Phelan. Shortly afterwards, she was driving down the highway to Fort Irwin and spotted a husky on the roadway. Allegedly, it was a mile or two from the base and headed for Barstow, many miles away. She stops the truck, piling up traffic behind her, and prepares to get out and "save" the errant husky. Before she gets out completely (she says) the husky jumps into the truck. Somehow the husky, a small female, gets from there to our fenced yard. But wait, there's more! That same afternoon after arriving home, she is standing outside observing how nice the Husky looks in the yard, when (she says) another strange Husky strolls by on the street. Naturally (she says), she can't bear to let it get run over so puts it inside the fence also. This one has a county tag so a phone call or two gets the phone number of the owner. The number has been changed. (she says) and the people don't know nothing 'bout no dog. Luckily, her crime spree is cut short by a man walking up the street with a leash in his hand and a quizzical expression on his face. Guiltily (one hopes), she reunites man and dog.
When I get home, there is only one extra husky in the yard along with Kodiak. Marian nervously stammers out the tale of how it jumped into the truck and what a nice dog it is and how friendly it is and how she really wanted a female and then her eyes got moist. Stoutheartedly ignoring this scene, I call the Base MPs who having no missing dog report, refer me to the vet on the base. The vet states that all base dogs have microchips implanted in their necks. OK, the next day I take Female Dog to the Humane Society and get it checked for a chip. No luck.
I'm about 69 years old and too tired to fight. Besides, since I was already downtown, I might as well get everything done at once. What I'm trying to say is, I gave up, took the dog to the vet for a checkup and shots, and grumbling all the way, took Tessa (short for Contessa) home to the smiling wife I don't really know. Stop by anytime to visit Neal, Marian, Kodiak and Tessa Johns
News from Neal
Dated Thursday September 28, 2005
Home tonight from the Utah petroglyph viewing trip.
All people and dogs here OK, but Marian hit a gravel curve too fast, locked 'em up, and went over the eight foot (Marian says 12) embankment and was stopped in a couple of truck lengths by a two foot ditch. Broken radiator (skid plate pushed into it), bumper, and one hold down camper floor "washer" (1"x2"x12" rectangular tubing) was pulled through the camper floor when the corner bounced up a few inches. Slight dent in back of cab. Water tank moved forward and sheared drain petcock off with resultant water drain. Charles and Mary Hughes towed me for 30 miles. Waited in Huntington, UT for 4 1/2 days for new radiator. Camped free at repair shop. Last minute panic when, after they installed new radiator, it overheated (solution: fill block via upper hose). Nice, friendly, Mormon town; had choice of food from Sinclair or Maverick gas stations. May convert to LDS and collect slower women. Are you listening, Gwen?
P.S. Marian wants credit for not rolling the truck and for not saying a bad word.