Once Upon a Brownie
This Week’s Issue: Homer’s love for chocolate, takes him down a strange and different path. A dog with a penchant for stealing food, Homer learns an important lesson about the sovreignty of the guest rooms at FadedGlory Farm.
I was lying quietly on the front porch when Daniel Cass and Michele Carey arrived under the portico in their faded white Ford Econoline Van. Over the years, I have heard Isabel and Micah reference various guests as “hippies” or “ex-hippies,”” but until I met Daniel and Michele, I never really could put a face on the term “hippie.” Although Michele was well into her late forties, it appeared that she had been growing out her hair since her twenties. Reflective of her good times, bad times, bad hair days and many hours in the bright sun, her hair color is varigated, and it reaches almost down to her thighs.
Daniel, on the other hand, now nearly bald, had been a redhead, and now, in his late forties, he has what hair he has left — pulled back tight in a long ponytail behind his head. Isabel, maybe yearning for that path untaken, has apparently always been in awe of hippies, and Daniel and Michele certainly didn’t disappoint.
Daniel’s old Ford Econoline, named “Faith,” was in such poor condition that Isabel and Micah privately marveled at the fact that it had survived the trip from their home in Jacksonville, FL. In a brief conversation with Isabel, Micah opined that the old truck had started life as an innocent delivery van (sometime in the 1960s), and then sank to the status of becoming somebody’s ” work truck;” at which time it was thoroughly used and worn out. Finally, ready for the crusher and with the approximate value of a rusty boat anchor, it was probably purchased and rejuvenated by Daniel and Michele who would drive it into eternity as a rusty ghost of its former self. After it’s arrival, the van yielded a virtual ‘vehicular forensic potpourri’ as it spewed, leaked and oozed various petroleum-based liquids onto the gravel parking area behind the Inn.
Daniel and Michele are pleasant, amiable, fresh-scrubbed, approachable people — and, they are strangers to no one; Californians, perhapss? Isabel put them in Suite #4, just to the right at the top of the stairs, and they settled in comfortably with their two duffle bags and musical instruments. Unlike most of our guests, the door to their suite was usually left wide open as a welcome to other guests and lonely dogs. Daniel and Michele came down to the porch after dinner on Friday night with their guitar and flute. Daniel, on the guitar and Michele on the flute, regaled our guests until the moon was high in the sky, and many of our happy visitors began to nod off and sag in their wicker chairs — their mouths wide open.
I was getting a little bored, and I decided to venture up the stairs to the second floor to further investigate the strange and fragrant aroma that had been drifting out of Suite #4 since Daniel and Michele’s arrival. As I plodded up the stairs toward the open door, I was again struck with the sweet and familiar odor of chocolate – mixed with another more subtle and tantalizing smell that I couldn’t begin to identify. If anybody loves chocolate – it’s me; so I silently climbed the stairs to the door of Suite #4 that yawned invitingly from across the upstairs hallway.
I really do have a moral compass, and I rarely steal food from paying guests.; drooling toddlers – sometimes, but not viable intelligent adults. Because our guests rarely have anything with them of interest to me, it is highly unlikely that I would trespass in an unoccupied room; but, there was definitely something drawing me to Suite #4. The sounds of the impromptu concert on the porch were still drifting up the stairway as I sauntered quietly through the open door of Daniel and Michele’s room. As I moved into the room, the tantalizing smell of chocolate grew stronger and stronger, and I knew in my heart that if I were to find the source — it was mine!
All was quiet as I approached the antique wooden domed trunk at the foot of the huge Victorian bed. And, there on top of the trunk, almost covered by a pair of faded bluejeans, was a large, open Tupperware container of fresh brownies! I know that when dogs come across unattended food, they will generally ‘go for broke’ and eat it all. I DO have a conscience. I carefully used my nose to push aside the bluejeans, and, with almost surgical precision, I eased one of the top-most brownies out of the Tupperware and watched with some excitement as it tumbled down the rounded top of the trunk to the floor below. Poetry in motion!
Because staying at the scene of my crime could have some disturbing consequences, I quickly rescued my prize and retreated to a dark area at the end of the hallway just outside of the doorway to Ray’s old office. There, on the cool hardwood floor, away from the prying eyes of our paying guests, I ate the brownie while savoring the delicious aromas that emanated from it.
The music from the porch was still going strong as I made my way back down the stairway to the first floor. For some reason, the music not only sounded better to me, but it also seemed to be a lot louder as I moved toward the open door to the porch. I don’t remember ever noticing the stars before, but on this evening I was dazzled by their brilliance in the night sky.
I was beginning to feel strange, peaceful, and almost euphoric as I found my usual spot on the porch, circled it twice, and flopped down to enjoy the sounds and sights of a virtual paradise.
I know that dogs are colorblind to several colors easily seen and recognized by my human counterparts, so you can imagine my surprise when my consciousness was invaded by virtually every color of the rainbow! Not only colors, but textures, shapes, smells, movement and sounds! I have enjoyed chocolate many times, but never with this result! When I decided to get up to get a better look at the moon that was nearly blinding me, I encountered some difficulty controlling my hind legs which appeared to have become numb — making it impossible for me to get up. Even my tail was numb! I was really beginning to worry. Then, things began to get real blurry . . .
I don’t think that I ever dozed off, but the next thing I can remember was Isabel standing over me calling for me to “get up.” I was lying on my back with my legs in the air, with my eyes wide open, understanding what she was saying, but totally unable to make the moves necessary to get to my feet. “So this is what paralysis is like,” I told myself.
The first time I heard the word “demise,” I thought that it was a callous reference to a family of rodents. Over the years, I have heard Isabel and Micah say that dogs, even the smarter ones, never plan for, or anticipate their own demise. But, believe me, when a weeping Isabel and an anxious-looking Micah stood over me the other night, my life flashed before my eyes, and I began to suspect that my own demise was close at hand! Micah had already placed a call to Dr. Ben Stubbs, and he had agreed to forego watching “Love Boat” and “FantasyIsland” and rush to my side; Dr. Stubbs was on his way! Actually, Ben Stubbs isn’t that bad a guy after all.
Although I was in a fog, the first thing I felt after Dr. Stubbs’ arrival was his ice-cold stethoscope pressing against my chest. As usual, he poked, probed, and prodded, and he came to the conclusion that except for having fully dilated eyes that I couldn’t close and a body that was for all intents and purposes — paralyzed, I am in perfect health! Perfect health, you’ve got to be kidding, Doc!
He also smiled and added that I must have somehow ingested somebody’s prescription drugs, stumbled upon a bad batch of mushrooms, or gotten into someone’s ‘stash’ of weed. Daniel Cass, who was observing my exam, slowly tiurned to Isabel and Dr. Stubbs and said, “Homer might have gotten into some of our Brownies which have a small amount of weed in them. The door to our room is always open, and Homer might have found them. If that’s the case, I’m sorry.” Isabel looked knowingly at Micah, and I knew at that very moment that I was ‘busted.’
Dr. Stubbs said that he wasn’t really sure whether the chocolate or the weed was worse for me, but he saw no reason why I shouldn’t recover all of my faculties within the next few hours. He strongly suggested that Daniel and Michele keep their door closed in the future or just stop making brownies altogether. My paralysis persisted awhile, and I felt as though I was dragging around my numb hind quarters for the remainder of the night.
With the use of my legendary “food eyes,” I was able to amass all kinds of snacks, finger foods, and dog treats to meet the massive pangs of hunger that were building up to a crescendo as my condition improved. Hank winked enthusiastically as he shared a family-sized bag of Cheetos with me just before leaving for the night. I guess he’s ‘been there, done that’ in his short life span.
Meanwhile, please excuse me; I need to make a quick trip into the common area to hijack a half-full dish of peanuts that I saw sitting there an hour ago .