Dinner almost chased down the drain

Every well-seasoned cook knows there are many ways dinner can go wrong. You’re missing a key ingredient. The meat didn’t thaw. Everything is taking a lot longer than you planned.

Or, you are at the kitchen sink, suddenly hear a thundering behind you, spin around and see a large black lab covered in soap suds, shaking water as he gallops through the house.

Our oldest grand was prepping dinner and minding her little sister as the rest of the family was heading home. Big sister had told little sister to take a bath.

Little sister said, OK, but only if the dog, Ranger, took a bath, too.

Little sister has a voice soft as a summer breeze.

Big sister, prepping chicken marsala, did not hear little sister. Why would she? She was browning chicken, tending mushrooms, chopping parsley, focused on a meal that would be a fine accomplishment for a 13-year-old.

Her concentration on the chicken marsala was broken by the wet dog racing from one end of the house to the other, chased by little sister in a swimsuit yelling, “Get back in the tub!”

Ranger weighs 80 pounds. You brace yourself against a wall, an SUV, or the side of the house when Ranger says hello.

Sometimes when the whole family is at their place, our son will shout, “Everyone up on the deck; we’re going to let the dog loose!”

Let’s just say the 80-pound black lab is high-spirited.

The wisp of a little sister weighs 39.

Asked how a girl coaxes a dog twice her size to get in a bathtub, her eyes dance and she whispers, “A jar of dog treats.”

The truth is, the dog will do anything for this little girl. He shadows her, guards her while she sleeps and licks tears from her face when she cries.

Getting him in the tub and soaping him down had gone well, but when she started to rinse with the showerhead, he bolted.

Once he bounded through the kitchen, there were then two girls—big sister and little sister—chasing the wet dog shaking water. They looped around the table, into the family room, around the sofa, over the sofa, back to the kitchen, down the hall and finally funneled him into the bathroom.

The little one noted that he seemed to calm down once they pulled the shower curtain.

Maybe all he wanted was a little privacy.

Then they did what any responsible kids would do. They closed the bathroom door and waited for Mom to arrive home. They thought Mom might want to hose down the dog, clean the dirty tub and dig the dog hair out of the clogged drain.

Rule no. 1: Always leave the good stuff for mom.

The chicken marsala made it to the table, but the bread in the oven burned during the chase. In any case, dinner smelled wonderful and Ranger, who had been lathered with a lavender-scented soap, smelled pretty good, too.

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