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“I had a great Columbus Day,” Fido said.
“Gosh, Fido, I had no idea. It seemed like a regular day of work for me, except for no snail mail and the banks were closed. Oh yeah, and there were a bunch of Columbus Day sales events online.”
“Va Bene!” Fido said. “Siate felici!”
“Fido, what in the world has got into you? I am surprised, to say the least.”
Fido laughed and laughed.
“It’s all in my breed!” he said, “and you could look it up.”
“Fido, you don’t really have a breed, per se. You’re all mixed up with a lot of breeds. A true American.”
“Okay, but what’s my dominant breed? What does it say on the veterinarian information?”
I looked, and—of course!—it said Chow Mix.
“Okay,” Fido said, “now how do you say Chow Mix in Italian? A-ha! A Ciao Mix!”
“Golly Fido, that’s quite a reach, even for you. Without trying to be too smug about things, don’t you have anything better to think about?”
“Better than what? And anyway, you yourself started it.”
“I’m not sure I follow you, Old Boy.”
“With the risotto!”
“Fido, that was weeks ago when I made that risotto.”
“Si, signore, but you just finished it last night! And last week, you were watching ‘Don Giovanni’ on TV. I saw you! Hey hey hey hey!”
“And that led you to Columbus Day. I get it, Fido, and I must say I am impressed once again by your worldliness. Might I add that Mozart was from Salzburg and not Italy? Never mind, though, and yes, the day celebrates Italian heritage in a lot of places, especially in New York and San Francisco.”
“Bravo!” Fido cheered.
“But there’s a caveat to Columbus Day, Fido. Columbus isn’t exactly a hero to lots of people, particularly the Native Americans, and there are others who object to us making a big deal out it.”
“Non capisco,” Fido said. He lay on the floor, his snout resting upon his paws. “You are raining on my Columbus Day Parade.”
“Aw, don’t get a heavy heart, Fido. That’s not what I meant. But I would point out that Columbus Day wasn’t an official holiday until 1934, when Congress and the President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, pushed it through.”
“A-ha! See? Columbus Day has cred!” Fido cried.
“What do you mean?”
“Fido, 1934 was an election year. Midterms. FDR was in his first term and wanted to get a lot of things done, and he wasn’t going to stop just because he had a wishy-washy Congress.”
“What’s that got to do with risotto?” Fido wanted to know.
“It’s about votes, you big red lug. Lots and lots of votes, and lots of votes from Italian Americans.”
“That’s pretty darned cynical,” Fido sniffed.
“Yeah,” said I. “It must be that part of the season, I guess.”
“Ciao,” Fido said, and closed his eyes. Soon he was asleep. Me, I slipped some Puccini onto the iPhone dock.