Last Saturday night was our annual bonfire, a tradition I've kept up for over 30 years, mostly as a way to celebrate Halloween, get together with neighbors, introduce the neighborhood kids to campfires, weiner roasts and semores, share food and scary stories, and also, and not least, to burn off a lot of the twigs and branches that fall from our trees all year. With 2.25 acres of forrested yard, we have no shortage of wood to burn.
It's always fun, and since Portia was born on Halloween day, we usually have a cake for her and sing Happy Birthday. She has come to think of my bonfire as her birthright. This year it was 85 degrees on Halloween weekend, so she agreed I could put it off a few weeks hoping for cooler weather. Turns out, it was still warm but at least an acceptable 70 degrees.
Jonathan couldn't come from New Orleans, the first bonfire he's missed since his first in 1998, but also missing were Christa, Garrett, and Schuyler. But Alex, now 19, brought a friend, and Luis came. He has missed the last 6 or so, so that was a real treat.
Laura also brought her friend, Lyn, who has moved up north so we haven't seen in 3 or 4 years, and that also was a treat. We brought out her scarecrow boyfriend, Jack Spratt, whom I jokingly declared to be her "date" at her last 2 bonfires, and who has been in the shed "pining away after her" for 3 years, "without a single love letter or phone call". We toyed with burning him up (he's old), but Jack looked so good, seemed so large and sturdy and happy to see her, everyone had so much fun adding their bits to the heartfelt love story, we finally decided to keep him.
Lyn has never met Maxie or Lucky, so at some point she asked for an agility demo. I quickly arranged the equipment into a sort of long course, everyone moved to the back yard, and I put both dogs thru their paces for about 10 minutes. Max was rarin' to go, but he had screaming fits when I handed him to Audrey and gave Lucky her turn. Lucky did okay, too, but at one point knocked me down. I was able to roll, and catch myself, so no damage done. John said the comments were very positive. I had a blast and it was the highlight of my evening. I was really happy to be able to squeeze off a practice session.
Portia, age 8, took great interest in learning the hand signals for Maxie's tricks (sit, down, stay, go around, roll over), then even more interest in playing retrieve with Lucky. She handled herself well and stuck with that for about 30 minutes in the side yard, all by herself. I told her mom she showed great potential, that very few kids are that interested in training dogs. Perhaps I could be interested in working with her, as I would with Jonathan if he were closer and more interested.
We'll have to see what pans out next year. Yet another thing to look forward to.