Thursday, February 13, 2014

An Average Lunch in Mobile, Alabama.

I spent the first five months of 2001 in D.C. working my MSW field placement at NIH. I shared a studio apartment with a friend who was working her field placement at Walter Reed. This story is not about that semester. This story is about what happened during lunch one day during that time while my parents were taking care of my sweet puppy, Emma.

Indulge me a little longer and let me give you a brief history of Emma. My dear friend, Kristin, gave Emma to me as a Christmas present in 1994. She got her from the Humane Society in Tuscaloosa and they said that she was a "Shepherd mix." I am pretty sure that the "mix" part was mostly doberman. Emma was eight weeks old, and Kristin said that she chose Emma because when all of the other puppies ran away, Emma charged her. I was smitten. Emma and I were made for each other.

When it was time to move to D.C., I had to leave Emma in Mobile with my parents and their dogs (Daisy, Cassie, Katie, and Jasmine). They live on a busy street in midtown, Mobile and there are many businesses on their street. Like their house, several of the buildings on this street are old houses; some house residents; others house businesses. There are also some people who practice shadiness for a livelihood that hang out in that part of town. My parents and Emma got along and they understood each other. During the week my dad would come home from work for lunch and would share his apple cores with Emma. My mom and dad liked to listen to classical music while they ate, and Emma and their  dog Daisy would howl along with some of the songs. It was a nice way to spend lunch.

On Tuesdays, Chuck, my parents' friend would come by and visit during lunch, so they usually kept the front door unlocked so that he could just walk in. Usually during this time, the postal carrier would also come by and drop the mail through the mail slot, which would cause all the dogs to run to the front door, barking. He wasn't really quiet when he delivered the mail, and sometimes, envelopes were chewed by an overexcited puppy as a consequence.

The lunch I want to tell you about happened one Tuesday. Chuck had come in and they were all sitting at the table in the back of the house. The dogs were all there with them. The younger ones, sitting and starting at my dad (the soft touch) and occasionally looking at his plate and barking. (Hey! you gonna eat that?) Emma was relaxing next to the window, warming her dark fur in the sun. Suddenly, Emma jumped up and ran out of the room. At first, all of the humans thought that the postal carrier had come, but it was all too quiet. They decided to see what Emma was up to.

They walked to the front of the house, and as they entered the front entryway, they saw a stranger inside of the house. His back was pressed against the front door and he was looking down.

Now, Emma, like most shepherds was "of a certain height." And by that I mean crotch height.  She was right in front of the stranger, baring all of her teeth, growling a steady, low growl. Crotch height. When she heard my parents and Chuck enter the hall, she carefully rested her nose against the fabric of his pants, with her teeth still bared.

"Mister, could you call off your dog?" The man was clearly scared. In my dad 's Genteel, Southern straight-forward style, he asked,


He told them that he was looking for a business a block up and thought that their house was it. Emma never moved, and never stopped baring her teeth.

They called Emma off and the man left.

You know, just an average lunchtime.

written 2/13/14

This post is for my friend, Jeff, known to the blogging world as Bone. I was supposed to have it written and posted yesterday for his birthday, but the day got away from me (although it is still his birthday in Hawaii, so that counts, right?) You should go read his awesome blog, If You Only Read One Blog This Year.  Bone has told me that he would like some more Mobile stories, so I thought he might like this one. Happy Birthday Bone! (yesterday, and in Hawaii!)

I poems about Emma called Emma and The Truth About My Emma. Emma also has pictures of Emma. I decided on an Emma story because I have a friend who lost her sweet Olivia this week, and now my Emma is on my mind.

It is a first draft, and I am open to any critiques. I would like for it to be nice, since it is a birthday present and all.


  1. geez....good long as he knows you eh? ha...i def would not want to be the man walking into the wrong house...ha

    1. She was rather protective and territorial. When I first brought her home, my mom said she was glad that I had a female dog because she would be more passive. So. Not. Emma.

  2. I bet to this day that guy checks and double checks his address before walking into any new business for the first time!


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