It’s a spectacular sunny and warm day in Southern California…a perfect day for a Thanksgiving feast, family, and some fun at the beach with Charlie, the new Waldrep family border collie. I apologize to those experiencing more traditional weather on this Thanksgiving day, but I have to say the weather here is as close to perfection as I’ve ever experienced. Stay indoors and enjoy a parade or football game.
The Waldrep family is together for the first time in about 11 months. Our daughter flew down from San Francisco yesterday afternoon and our Fulbright Scholar came home from Mexico City for the first time in almost a year. My rock ‘n roll guitar playing son is already local although he returned from San Francisco from a quick visit in time to meet us at Hurry Curry in West Los Angeles. It’s always nice to get everyone together.
While the rest of the group slept in this morning Charlie and I headed to the beach. With a new Petco “flying disc” tucked under my shirt (Charlie won’t walk normally if he sees that I have his favorite toy), we walked the 1.5 miles down Temescal Canyon, crossed PCH (Pacific Coast Highway), and started a 3-mile jog along the bike path. By 6:30 am, there was already a lot of activity at the beach. There were walkers, bikers, and a few runners with official race bibs on participating in a half or full marathon.
After the requisite 3-miles (a strategy to make me feel less guilty about second servings at the dinner table), Charlie insisted on heading towards the waves. If it’s early in the morning, I can let him off the least. He thoroughly enjoys running around on the beach but this morning was unusual. He took off running at top speed towards a group of sea gulls that had gathered a few hundred yards down the beach. Then he sprinted back and forth a few times as they repeatedly repositioned themselves.
However, at the waters edge he caught sight of a much smaller bird. The surf was very low this morning…there were no crashing waves to defer Charlie. He chased the bird with all he had. And the bird seemed to relish making the transit from one end of the beach to the other right at the water line and safely out of reach of the dog. Charlie is a border collie and supposed to be the “smartest” dogs around. But he just kept chasing the small white bird until the bird was just ahead of his location…but 15-20 feet out over the ocean. Casting his usual caution aside, Charlie charged towards the waves and didn’t stop. He plunged with huge splash into the ocean…for the very first time.
And then he realized what he had just done. He abandoned his pursuit of the bird, quickly turned towards around, and paddled his way back to the beach. A couple of dog shakes later, Charlie was back in full chase mode. It was time to head back up the hill with a few stops to toss the Frisbee in the park.
I’m very thankful that my entire family is home for the holiday weekend and I’m thankful as well that I have a new best friend that never tires of running, chasing, pulling, and getting wet. Charlie made my Thanksgiving morning something very special. And I haven’t even eaten any of the holiday feast yet.
Enjoy your holidays. Happy Thanksgiving.