Fred

by Jonah

1-16-95

It’s amazing to me how much Stephanie is talking Southern these days. She was the most resistant to change when we’ moved here. She didn’t like the weather, she guarded against developing an accent (and required the rest of us to do so too), and she was ready at a moment’s notice to leave home and spend as much time in Colorado as she could. Suddenly, I find her stretching one syllable words into two, she’s not real anxious to leave for foreign parts anymore, and she’s under the impression that where we live is the most beautiful spot on earth. It’s amazing what meeting the right person will do to you.

Classes seem to be going alright. I finally got a question in chemistry right today. That makes me 1 and 2. Our instructor starts at one end of the classroom and asks everyone questions, working his way down the rows. Unfortunately, I got assigned to the second row. Blasted alphabetical order. It’s a very effective way of teaching, however. If you don’t know your stuff, you’re gonna look like a fool. To
day we did dimensional analysis or some junk like that. And I thought I was through with math. We even have to have a scientific calculator for the course. I’m borrowing Stephanie’s. I had the dickens of a time finding out how to do exponents today. All those symbols all over the place. I couldn’t even find the key with the big EXP on it. He had to show me.

We had a visitor this weekend. On Friday night Dad brought home a basset hound he said had been wondering around at work. Finally, it ran in front of a truck nearly getting itself killed, so he lured it into the car and drove home. Dad’s got a real soft spot. He’s always wanted a Bassett hound. This one fit the bill. Everything about him was elongated. His body, his tail, his HUGE ears, his tongue hanging out of his long snout. The only thing that was short were his stocky legs. He was the sweetest thing, jumping up on me whenever I came in the kitchen. He was also a slobber machine, getting drool on whatever his extra long schnozz came in contact with. Mom and I got out a couple of recorders and started fluting away at some ghastly “tune.” Pretty soon the dog had joined in, making an O out of his scrunched up lips, and with eyes wide and head tilted back he let out a hoarse yet deep howl. The room would resonate with the sound until we were laughing too hard to keep playing, and the spell would break as he wagged his tail and waddled from person to person, seeking affirmation. Stephanie called him Fred after Fred Bassett in the comics. Dad made some signs and put them up on the streets surrounding his office, but he warned everyone who answered the phone not to give away any information about the dog’s appearance. It was clear he was intent on keeping the dog. Fred even got along well with our other dogs, once we finally let him outside. He thought it was great fun to play with them and afterward to collapse into sleep inside. Then on Sunday afternoon, the telephone rang. They lived near the office, and it only took a few minutes to get here. The dog’s name was actually Sam and belonged to a 13 year old boy, who was very relieved to see him. We waved goodbye as Sam looked past his huge nose out the window at us, wagging his tail.

My grandmother is improving every time I see her. It won’t be long before they’ll be discharging her from the hospital, and then we’re not really sure what we’re going to do. She’ll probably come here with us and live in Benjamin’s room. We don’t know if she’ll want to stay in Mobile or go back to Richmond, VA. Right now she still can’t talk, so we can’t ask her. We’ve had to divide up tasks for when each person is available. Between that, visiting her at the hospital, and homework, I’m not going to have a heck of a lot of free time. We’ll have to see what happens. Prayers are definitely appreciated.

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