Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our First Year...

Denise and I spent our first year of marriage huddled under heavy blankets. We were newlyweds...but we were also FREEZING! Buffalo, New York is a great city to live in...from May to September. When the winter arrives, it's cold, slushy, snowy and downright miserable. I remember when it snowed in Philly. A few inches of powder would shut down the city. Not Buffalo! Now only did flakes arrive every night from Halloween to Easter, but the snow didn't close down the town. In fact, one nighttime snow fall dropped 18 inches, and the schools were open the next day.

In Buffalo, one needs more time to get ready in the morning. I used to wake up at 4AM, go outside and start the car. Seriously! It took 20 minutes for my Honda Accord to warm up. I also flicked on the heater and defroster. Then I would go back inside to grab a shower and eat breakfast. By the time I was ready to leave....that car was "One Toasty Honda".

One day Denise declared that we should get a dog! "If the dog lives, then we'll be ready for kids!", she said. We both came from families that had dogs....so it was a no-brainer. My bride searched through a thick book loaded with pictures of dogs and picked one called a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. There were only 400 in the U.S....so finding one wouldn't be easy. Eventually we located a breeder in Rochester, NY. The breeder insisted on "interviewing" us. We passed, the check cleared and we became the proud parents of MO.

MO looked like a small Golden Retriever. She was cute, cuddly and brilliant. Tollers are Canadian hunting dogs that "toll" (lure) ducks toward hunters. MO loved the cold weather and especially the snow. As a puppy, she often ran into large snowbanks and got lost. She would dig her way to the top of the snow, and then dive in again.
MO enjoyed the snow, but developed a dislike for snow shovels. Once while I was shoveling the driveway (a daily occurrence) MO started to bite the metal shovel. Not a good idea in freezing weather. Her tongue froze to the shovel. I made the executive decision to give a strong tug. Her tongue ripped away from the shovel..and she let out a huge scream. MO brightened up our lives for the next 13 years! It was a sad day for all of us when she passed away. BTW, we never got another dog.

Denise and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary with dinner at a restaurant called Romanello's. We toasted each other over spirits and good food. I remember ordering my favorite dish: shrimp fra diablo. Denise enjoyed her chicken parmigiana. The perfect evening came to a screeching halt with a horrible case of food poisoning. I spent that night and the next day paying homage to Ralph at the porcelain alter. You never forget your first anniversary....and I never did. BTW, I also never ordered shrimp fra diablo AGAIN!

Up next...Pick a city, any city!