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Renagade Chef: Lacking shoes - and heads - this Christmas

My dog, Ron Howard, had his first birthday the other day. Unfortunately, Las Vegas odds-makers give him less than a 50-50 chance of reaching birthday number two.

His name isn’t really Ron Howard. We call him “Opie.” He is a boxer-retriever mix (a.k.a. “mutt”), is very loving, smart and rambunctious. He also has brute power, but doesn’t understand why knocking down Grandma and licking her face is such a bad thing.

He is proud of his turbo, vice-grip jaws that can hold two tennis balls at the same time. He is equally proud of his razor-sharp teeth that can shred anything, especially shoes. Lots and lots of shoes. My wife’s shoes.

OK, she’s no Imelda Marcos, but like a lot of women, Deb has a thing for shoes and thinks she should have a pair for every day — in a leap year. Ron — I mean, Opie — has diminished her feet-fleet by eight pairs and counting. I, on the other hand, own four pairs of shoes — one for every 91.25 days of the year — and the dog hasn’t touched them. Go figure. Maybe it’s because of the “buck-scent” I sprayed on my wife’s foot apparel.

If there are no shoes to chew, a library book will do, or a pair of $400 bifocals, or a Wii-controller. Most recently, my dog got into the holiday spirit and chewed off the heads of the Three Wise Men monitoring our Nativity Scene. The cow and donkey are also headless while both sheep are without legs. We can’t find the baby Jesus.

“I’ve had this Nativity Scene for 20 years!” my wife complained, nearly in tears as she put the decapitated wise men back in their places at the holy scene. “I’m sick of that dog wrecking my stuff!”

“We’ve been married 26 years,” I replied, “so technically speaking the Nativity Scene is half mine. Maybe my half could be the heads and legs and we can call it even.”

It was a dumb thing to say. So I said something even dumber.

“Look on the bright side. Now the Three Wise Men look like zombies and zombies are all the rage these days.”

I couldn’t be satisfied with dumb and dumber so I tried dumbest.

“It’s Christmas. Maybe we should get the dog his own Nativity Scene, or his own shoes.”

It was at that moment when I learned my wife possessed a rather lethal upper-cut. Now all I want for Christmas are my two front teeth.

Just kidding. But dental implants would be nice.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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