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Last week I was going to write about my birthday and how I was born on the same day as Confederate General Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson. Unless you are a military historian or a Civil War “buff”, he is of little interest. (Just What the Hell is a “buff” anyway?) He was born on 21 January 1824 in Clarksburg, West Virginia.  He was wounded in a friendly fire accident after his brilliant victory at Chancellorsville and died of infection a few days later. His last words, “Let us cross over the river and rest in the shade of the trees.” inspired the title for the Hemingway novel  Across river And Into The Trees.

I thought I would give the Civil War, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson a rest, and share about my birthday in real time.  The Trump Inauguration set the stage for my 66th birthday, just as the Nixon Inauguration (where on I registered for the draft) marked my 18th, and the Kennedy Inauguration marked my 10th.  There are others, of course. Last Saturday, 21 January, I went to my discussion class on St Thomas Aquinas.  Not to worry, as interesting and important as it may be, we will not discuss Thomistic Philosophy today.  The real fun on my birthday came yesterday when  #2 Son CD came by with Aero, his Dobie/German Shepherd mix dog. We had to take some soup to my stepmother and we wanted to get lunch, so we thought we would leave him in the yard.

#2 Son says, “He’s a real escape artist, but I guess he”ll be OK for a little while.”  Nothing quite like a cloud of doubt cast over a decision.  We decide we will get take out on the lunch at a nice Cuban restaurant so we won’t be gone too long. We drop the soup off, chat a bit with Dorothy, and head over to Kuba Kuba II. We order a Cuban sandwich, a codfish cake sandwich, coconut risotto cakes, and tres leches cake for dessert.  We meet the baker of the tres leches cake, the mother of the owner. She is a refugee from the Castro Regime, a fellow parishoner at St Benedict whom I had never met, an all round nice lady, and one heck of a good baker.

When we get home, we are relieved to find  Aero still in the yard but very muddy, and the makings of a very nice hole just under the gate. After rubbing the mud off Aero, we begin our lunch.  The coconut risotto cakes were to die for,  golden crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside.  Yummy. I had the codfish sandwich, another delight, #2 son the Cuban sandwich. The sandwiches came with platanos, fried plantains, slightly sweet and subtly tasty. The tres leches cake was sublime, as if sweetened condensed milk was suspended in flour. The icing was this frothy sweetness, a slightly more substantial meringue.   Bottom line: Cuba’s loss was Richmond’s gain.  Had Fidel Castro not been the murdering SOB that he was, Senora M would not be here.

We spent the afternoon watching Aero fully revel in his dogness.  He would run around, sit, lie down, eat platanos and bits of roast pork.   Going back in the yard, we watched Aero bury the pig ear I gave him and inspected the hole he dug.  He could get his head out but not his shoulder.  We decide to fill in the hole another day. I cleaned the glass patio door with Windex, washed the mud-stained towel in hot water with bleach. and was prepared to give Mrs CorC? a redacted version of Aero’s visit.  However…

Just as Mrs CorC? arrives home, our neighbor is out walking her whippet and decides to make neighborly conversation. Neighbor Lady says to my wife

“You don’t have a German Shepherd, do you?”

“That’s my stepson’s dog. They came by this afternoon.”

“Well,  he was trying to dig his way out of your backyard. He almost got out”

This bit of idle chit chat sabotaged my plan to leave Aero’s burrowing escapade out of my recounting of his afternoon visit to Mrs CorC?.  I do believe women band together whenever they think a husband is trying to put something over on a wife. A Sixth Sense directs a woman to inform an unsuspecting wife of an attempted bamboozle by a not-clever-enough husband. It’s part of the sport of  marriage and relationships. Any upset over an attempted cover-up was dispelled by the slice of tres leches cake I saved for Mrs CorC?.  All’s well that ends well.

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