"Oh boy oh boy oh boy. Hey hey hey hey!
Fido is beside himself. We are expecting a guest for the weekend, and for him—Fido that is—it’s all about … Fido.
“I think we’ll start with a longer-than-usual walk in the morning,” he said. He scrunched up his face with happy thoughts.
“And then I’ll have a larger-than-usual breakfast and scamper down some trails,” he said. “Guests love to see that.”
“See what?” I inquired.
“A real mountain dog being a real mountain dog!” he replied.
I said to Fido that maybe our guest is coming up here for some skiing and a little XC trekking. Maybe the “highlight” of the trip wasn’t going to be watching him bounce around.
“But … but … but…”
“Surely everyone in the whole world saw that piece in last Sunday’s L.A. Times, about the altitude training and all the runners we have up here.”
“Maybe not everybody, you big red lug,” I said to him gently as I patted him on the head.
I knew what Fido was talking about, though.
Kevin Baxter of the L.A. Times wrote a couple of sterling pieces about Mammoth and its rise to elite standing in the world of high-altitude runners.
It was a spot-on piece of reporting, Fido thought, and somewhere in his noggin he probably thinks we are about to be overrun by people who come up here to run the flats and trails and get themselves in Olympic shape.
Then again, maybe not.
“This time of year,” I said to Fido, “there are still lots of people who come up here to ski. And you don’t ski.”
“I could learn!”
“Not in five days you can’t,” I said. “Anyway, what kind of equipment would you use?”
“I think I’d start with four small skis, one on each foot. Why, in no time, I’d be schussing and hollering and whoo-hooing.”
I said to Fido maybe he’d better go back to thinking about the long walks rather than actually going up to the ski hill.
“The truth is,” I said, “I’m not really sure what our guest wants to do. Maybe just hang out, you know? And if that’s the case, why, yes, I can see the long walks and the big breakfast.”
Fido leaped with joy, and then rolled over on his back, pawing the air as he does.
“I’d even get to sleep with someone other than you!”
“Don’t get your hopes up,” I said. “Not everyone likes a 60-pound dog with them in the same bed.”
“But you do,” he said.
“Even so, Fido, with guests you have to be ready to make a wide turn. No jumping up on them, no hounding them for treats and biscuits, and it would be nice for you to hold down the barking to a college roar, you know?”
“Hey hey hey hey!” Fido exclaimed. “The Final Four will be on TV!”
“That’s another thing,” I said. “Not everyone wants to sit inside and watch basketball when they could be outside in Mammoth.”
“I hope the Wildcats get eaten up,” he said. He licked his chops.
“And while we’re at it, what is a Buckeye, anyway?”
“It’s a nut,” I said, “except when you’re in Ohio, then it’s a player for The Ohio State University.”
“And a Jayhawk? What’s a Jayhawk?”
Fido at times suffers from Topic Drift, as you can see.
“Let’s pull this back to our guest,” I said, sighing.
“It will be good,” he said. His eyelids began to slide, and soon he was on the outskirts of Snoozeville. He smiled.
“It will all be good,” he said. “Guests are good.”