“Taming of the Schnauzer”


“Petruchio: Come, come, you wasp; i’ faith, you are too angry.
Katherine: If I be waspish, best beware my sting.
Petruchio: My remedy is then, to pluck it out.
Katherine: Ay, if the fool could find where it lies.
Petruchio: Who knows not where a wasp does wear his sting? In his tail.
Katherine: In his tongue.
Petruchio: Whose tongue?
Katherine: Yours, if you talk of tails: and so farewell.
Petruchio: What, with my tongue in your tail? Nay, come again, Good Kate; I am a gentleman.”

In the mid-1970’s, Mom and Dad traveled to Janesville, Iowa and adopted a schnauzer puppy that we named Katie, or as her AKC papers read, “Katherine of Aragon” (I know, self-appointed fact checkers will insist that it is spelled “Catherine”, but WIKI and history will show that Henry the 8th’s first wife also spelled her name with a “K”, so there!).  And Mom got the “Aragon” from “Dargan”, her maiden name.  She believed that somehow, we were related to Katherine, or Catherine of Aragon, but she had no proof….just family folklore.  (We also are supposed to have French and Spanish blood somewhere way back in the family tree, and at one time, there was a myth that the Maruska’s —Grandma’s maiden name—were Jewish, but that story doesn’t pan out when scrutinized)

Anyway, I am more convinced more than ever, after having read the stories of other Miniature Schnauzer

A black-and-silver Miniature Schnauzer named M...

A black-and-silver Miniature Schnauzer named Mattie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

owners that members of  this breed that the Schnauzer breed has the unique characteristic of communicating telepathically to other schnauzers in a 50 mile radius at 2 AM and they all gather at a local Denny’s or other coffee house and drink enough coffee to keep Folger’s and Maxwell House in the black for the next millennium!

I will never understand some of Katie’s idiosyncrasies, but as far as I’m concerned, if she could have talked and carry on a conversation, I’m pretty sure that a psychiatrist would have made a case study on her.

One of my favorite games that I loved to play with Kate was the “Daddy’s Home” game….Katie could be sound asleep, and I could just say the words, “Daddy’s Home”  or sometimes, just “Daddy”, (or, “Mommy”) and she would be on all fours and in full attention in 0.005 seconds, and running up to the back window and wait for Mom or Dad to come walking up the back sidewalk, and she would be ballistic and would want to be let out of the house immediately.  Or, there was she “Sammy” game  “Sammy was a generic name that mom gave to all squirrels….Same scenario, but instead of uttering “Daddy” or “Mommy”, I would say, “Sammy!”, and I got the same results

“Sammy”

After coming home one day from running errands, we all entered the house to find that the phone was knocked off the hook, and you could hear the dial tone from way in the kitchen.  We searched the house for clues…nothing…no break in, Thank God….

…Well, this went on for several more times, and then I got the idea that Katie was the instigator….I go an idea on how to catch her in the act….

I ran upstairs and got Mom’s binoculars, then grabbed the cordless phone, and then opened the Levolor blinds on the living room windows, and instructed Mom and Dad to not answer the phone under any circumstances for the next 3-5 minutes….

Now, back in those days, before the break up of Ma Bell, if you wanted to make your own phone ring, you substituted “99” in place of the first two digits, and that is what I did….I ran across the street with the cordless phone and binoculars and made the call… and waited….Ran across the street and stood in Meyerhoff’s front yard with binoculars aimed at the east living room window….

…Sure enough, Katie thought that she was left alone in the house…and when the phone rang, she ran for it, bit the receiver, and pulled the damned thing off the hook!

Too Cute!

From that day on, whenever we left the house, we made darn sure that the phone was in a place where Katie could not get to—Problem solved!

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Now on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre –“Moon Over Bethlehem”


…With a hundred and ten cornets right behind….

Telling that story about church reminded me of a Christmas play that we did a few years ago with the toddlers thru sixth grade group.  I was working with Ken, who was the unofficial Drama Director.  Ken had written a short Christmas play for the children to act out, and even though I was a middle aged adult, he asked me to be one of the angels.

Well, being a natural ham, I said yes, and  I really got into my part. At the time I was also really getting into “The Music Man”—partly because I’m Iowa, but also because I have a great love of Broadway musicals.  Anyway, it is now rehearsal time, and I’ve got my “inner Robert Preston” bumping around in my head….

And so I have one line, mind you, but I want to play it with gusto, and I gave it my all….

I had one line, “Baby Jesus is born, woot!”, and I was supposed to dance around the crib—-which I did…..And I played it like I was Professor Harold Hill, all showman like and when it came time for my line, I strutted around the crib, and made a figure eight, mimicking the moves that Robert Preston did in the last scene of “The Music Man”.

(Now, I need to insert a quick note here—I had just recently lost about 10 pounds, so my pants were a little big on me.)

I come up to the crib, do my little “Preston” impersonation, then comes my line….

“Baby Jesus is born, woot!”

And I raise my hands up, as if to offer praise…..

….And my pants came down! 

Well, thankfully, it was only a rehearsal, so ONLY 20 or so were there to watch me moon poor Baby Jesus!

Good thing I wasn’t a fan of “Equus” or “Oh, Calcutta!”, right?

“Ohmigawd, that isn’t salt!”


Co-worker Judy told me yet another classic today….

WARNING:  IF you are from Tennessee and you ever hunted pheasants in Iowa, say, 40 years ago, you might want to pass on this story.

Many moons ago, Judy and Joyce were enjoying a Saturday afternoon, drinking rum and Cokes and beer, and as the story goes, Judy’s husband, a farmer, had given some folks from Tennessee permission to go pheasant hunting on their farm….So good, so far…

Well, the folks from Tennessee had a fancy RV that they  tugged behind them and after a day of hunting pheasants, they asked Joyce if she would clean and cook them for them.  She said, okay, and proceeded to clean them inside the RV….

…Where it was very dark….

…And she was sauced up to the gills….

Anyway, ole Joyce was having a good ole time, drinking and singing her heart out, cleaning those birds and getting them ready for the frying pan, and she asked someone to pass her the salt…

Kinda like this….

(She was was a regular Edith Prickley, I tell you!)

So, in this dark, dark, Recreational Vehicle, it all of a sudden occurs to a very drunken Joyce, “Omigawd, this isn’t salt!”

Okay…you pheasant hunting  folks in Tennessee…this is where it might get ugly…I’ll give ya a dollar to skip to the next post!

What?  No takers?  Oh my, you folks are brave.  Well, okay, I might as well finish this story.

Well, upon inspection, Joyce discovered that the package that was handed to her was not salt…..

…But Jock Itch powder!

Nonetheless, drunken ole Joyce went ahead and fried up those pheasants, and they came out such a beautiful golden brown, and the folks from Tennessee told her that that was the best phasant that they had ever tasted!

Well, the next morning, a sober Joyce asked Judy if she should call the pharmacist at Dahl’s Pharmacy and Judy said that by that time, it would no longer matter, but Joyce called  them and they agreed with Judy and the odd thing was, for several years afterwards, those same nice folks from Tennessee came back to hunt pheasants at Judy’s farm, and to this day…..

Who Me

…Nobody has said a word!