And Gutenberg Lived Here: The Day Of The Peppermint Astronaut.

It’s cold here.

Cold cold cold.

White skies.

A sharp chill in the air.

Sharp like apples taken from a fridge are sharp.

And cold.

Not that we weren’t expecting this, here in Gutenberg Land.

The Christmas deco

and marzipan,

often called marchepane in English,

a candy made of ground almonds and powdered sugar

and shaped into small animals, and religious figures,

have been in the stores for months.

(The chocolate St Nicks started arriving

as soon as the store was cool enough that they didn’t melt.)

(And some of them even before)

In fact, it is so cold here,

even the dog chocolate has arrived.

(Special small white candy drops,

about the size of M and Ms,

that smell like dog-tempting choc,

but don’t contain things to hurt your dog.)


actually our huge Canadian Airedale Mugg was far too discriminating,

in a dog of the world way,

to be fooled by such nonsense-

she actually sniffed and walked away from dog chocolate,


she couldn’t pass anything with peppermint without taking a big bite-

from tinfoil wrapped mints,

(she prefers Menthos

and English strong mints,

and once drank a small bottle of peppermint oil)

so that, after a while, we just gave up

and tried to keep things in closed glass jars.

(So far, she hasn’t figured out how to unscrew a large Jiffy Jar…

but hey, who knows…

in time….)

Which was probably why we had gotten lazy

in the perpetual battle of

don’t eat the neighbors’ peppermint vines,

so that when she was left alone for a moment,

with an unfortunately open bottle of peppermint schnaps-

friends had brought it,

so we gave them some.

Meaning there was most of a bottle left over.

Which she carefully poured onto the table.

(And no one can tell me a dog who lands the booze puddle

in the one place it won’t go off onto the floor before she licks it clean,

didn’t plan it.

Especially since this is the dog that carefully closes the refrigerator door

to the ice-maker

so she doesn’t get caught stealing ice cubes-

Her favorite four o’clock snack-

Yes, four.

Which is probably why we once found four wrist-watches

in a pile under the dining room table.

Next to her dog dish.

(No, we don’t normally keep it there.))

So anyway,

this time,

Mugg found the peppermint.

Poisonous green-looking thick syrup,

with small green flecks.

Guaranteed to turn your tongue bilious

so bilious you would wash it with a washcloth,

if you could figure out how to use one.

Which may be why we found Mugg in the bathroom,

in a huge heap of toilet paper, thank heavens.


On her back.

All four paws holding the bottle.

For her to lick.

Since it was now empty,

since she had apparently rolled it into the bath.

Which bottle she then carefully pushed away,

rolled on her side,

struggled to her feet,

all four paws going in different directions,

And never, either before or since,

have I seen a dog that sick.

Although she did prove that,

even bilious,

she had the right stuff to become an Arfstronaut-

perhaps even the first dog to go to Venus,

since she survived the centrifuge-

that test where you turn in a circle fifty times,

in her case, probably chasing her tail,


being an Airedale,

was too short to chase.

Which meant that she,

being an Airedale,

simply turned,

and turned,

and turned,

and looked at us reproachfully,

And threw up.



Which meant

the 397th visit to the vet,

by this time a dear personal friend,

since we had basically paid for his new car,

and a true aficionado

of the “what did she do this time school.”

Hey, even dog-lovers have to sleep sometime.

(As for the vet, he always swore he would publish her up in a medical journal one day-

This is for you, Dr. S.)

Oh, and as to Mugg?

She’s fine.

Although, after what she went through,

(maybe she just likes milk and bread as an antidote?

And all the extra attention?)



Mugg is now permanently TPT

total peppermint temperance,

meaning we no longer have to explain to the vet

that despite the fact that we hid all peppermint things behind the laundry soap,

she had still found the breath mints,

and eaten them all.

With tinfoil wrapper.

Like our first visit.

Or watch her turn in a circle on the backseat of the car,

like the last.

No, this is one Airedale who has apparently learned her lesson.


what I can’t figure out,

for the life of me,

is why she now spends her time

dragging chili mix packets

through the kitchen.

Maybe because it’s cold here?

Cold, cold, cold?

copyright 2016

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