We woke up early this morning. My papa likes to wake up early. I’d rather sleep in. I’m almost ten years old. I deserve a few extra hours. This morning was grey; and it was raining. But it was the fourth; and my papa always celebrates the fourth. Usually, he’s off with his friends drinking beer and watching the fireworks. We’re in Chicago or we’re in Los Angeles. This was our first time staying here in Sausalito. And it felt… nice.

We let the rain die down for a bit. With a slight mist, we went out though instead of a hike cos the trails would have been muddy and my papa didn’t like to get my paws filthy, we just hit our neighborhood for a walk. It seemed empty this morning. Maybe everyone was away doing whatever they did on this holiday. I liked it that way; and I think my papa did too.

When we arrived back home, he gave me food. These days, he makes me work for my grub. I hold the world record for gobbling two cups of food in under ten seconds. It’s always a race! When I was younger, I had to fight with my brother Lawrence. He was bigger than I was so I had to stand my ground. Otherwise, he would have eaten my food too. So even now, I eat my food fast, cos you never know when Lawrence will be around to grab it. And even though he’s in heaven now, I still think he may come to get it. But my papa knows better; I shouldn’t be eating my food so fast anyways. He puts big bones (which I’ve gnawed on in the past) and rocks in the way so I have to dig through it all for my kibble. It takes me over ten minutes now!! I don’t think my papa even takes that long!

Afterwards, my papa drank his special coffee that his friends from Chicago had gotten him. They had just gotten married; and my papa was the proud officiant. He liked to take his time grinding the beans, waiting for the kettle to sound, and pouring it over the grounds in his french press. After four minutes, he’s press the piston and pour the coffee into a cup that had different kinds of sugar each time along with organic maple syrup. That was his secret he always told me. He loved maple syrup in his coffee.

Afterwards, he sat on our balcony watching the mist drop from the grey skies. Once his coffee was finished, he sat down and he wrote. He wrote a lot, more than he’d written in over two weeks. There must have been something special about today. Every so often, he’d come over and pat me on the head or give me a hug or (my favourite) cup my face and massage my body. I really loved him.

And then…

And then!!!!

He gave me a bone!!!!!

Someday that bone would be the bane of my existence twice a day everyday when he sticks that bone in my food bowl and I have to fight it to get my kibble. But today, this bone would be my favourite. I love bones!!!

And so that’s what I did for the next few hours. I gnawed and bit and gnawed and sucked and gnawed until there was nothing left but the bone itself. Most people don’t realize there are lots of good bits to a bone and that it’s up to a dog like me to get to it all. So I did.

My papa had either sports documentaries or superhero movies in the background. He loved the 30 for 30’s. We saw Winning Time about Reggie Miller, The Youngstown Boys about Maurice Clarett and Jim Tressel, and Fernandomania about the Great Fernando Valenzuela (one of my papa’s favourites when he was a kid). And we watched Captain America: First Avenger, Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and Thor too. We loved sports and we loved superheroes.

We went for another wonderful walk too (but only after I finished my bone). It was beautiful watching the clouds over Mount Tamalpais as we turned the bend to go up the hill back home. At some point during the day, the skies had cleared; I must have missed it, cos – well, I was eating a bone. But the grey skies came back again and eventually darkened. In the distance there were fireworks we could barely see, though we could hear it. And I didn’t like it one bit. I went out to the balcony and told everyone to stop shooting fireworks, but they wouldn’t listen to me. Still cannot figure out why?

My papa told me that today was about love, about family and friends and those we hold dear, about unity and acceptance, about not judging others, about appreciating the freedoms we have in this country, about the men and women (boys and girls he actually said) serving our military defending what we hold dear. My papa had a way with words and I loved listening to every bit of them. And he would just look into my eyes and I knew how much he loved me. I had a perfect day celebrating the fourth with my papa.

This must be just like living in paradise.

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