(One reason why it’s nice to hang out with my parents.)
Getting late on a summer evening, doors and windows open to the world. Dad wanders up to the dog. “Come on, Flipper. Time for your walk,” he says. The dog’s name is Bonnie, and she has never been nicknamed anything remotely like Flipper. “Say goodnight to Frodo,” he says, leading her up to where I’m reading the paper. I am six-foot-five and have never been nicknamed anything remotely like Frodo. “Say goodnight to The Keeper of the Plums,” he says, leading her to where my mother is hulling stone fruits into a large bowl. “Say goodnight to the Grapes,” he says, pausing at a bag of grapes on the bench and eating some. On the way out the doorway, the dog is staring up at him, and while she can’t see a thing through her Irish morning cataracts, you’d swear she’s smiling.