“As the Lodge Turns” Episode 51: A Year Without Turkey?!

On this episode of “As the Lodge Turns”…

Every Thanksgiving, my parents have an enormous feast at our house. Stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, biscuits, corn, all kinds of cheese and fruit, and thirty different kinds of pie are spread out over a white tablecloth. And there, glowing golden brown from its place of prominence at the center of the table, is my favorite: the turkey!

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All day long, my parents’ friends sneak me little pieces from their plates. Each of them seems to think that they’re the only one to give me a scrap or two, but after collecting the handouts from around forty or so people, I collapse into a deep, turkey-fueled sleep along with the rest of them.

Most dogs that I’ve met enjoy the strange sights and smells of the holidays, but you’d be hard-pressed to find one that doesn’t like Thanksgiving best. What dog wouldn’t love a day that’s all about eating as much as possible?

But this year, there’ll be no turkey aroma to make me salivate. No elaborate spread with which to feed my eyes. Not even a little scrap of meat…

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Mom and Dad are going to a relative’s house in California for Thanksgiving, and she’s allergic to dogs! They thought it would be best to leave me here…

Now, when I should be drifting gently into a full-bellied sleep, I find myself sitting in one of the yards at the Lodge, watching the other dogs run around.

The Lodge is my home away from home, but today I just can’t enjoy myself the way I usually do. I’m frustrated by the thought of all that magnificent food going to waste. Who’ll help the dishwasher by making sure each plate is licked spotless? Who’ll inspect the floors for any stray crumbs? If I’m not there, who’ll…?

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“Turkey…” I grumble to no one in particular, shifting my paws as visions of perfectly cooked drumsticks beat against my skull.

But the food isn’t the only thing you’ll miss, is it?

My ears flick, though I know that tiny voice came from somewhere inside me. And it’s true – as much as I love the turkey, the stuffing, and the pumpkin pie, there’s another hunger gnawing at my stomach…

“Sorry!”

This voice is far from tiny, and it definitely didn’t come from inside me.

Before I can process what I’ve heard, a dog suddenly tumbles over me, his paws scrambling to regain their footing. Fast on his heels is a Golden Retriever, her tongue hanging out of her mouth as she barrels into me. For a moment I brace myself for another impact, but to my relief, these two seem to be the only ones.

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The first dog approaches me, his striking white and tan coat glowing in the afternoon sun.

“I tried to warn you, but I guess you didn’t have enough time, huh? I’m really sorry if I hurt you,” he says, sniffing at my side.

“Is he okay, Jack? Oh no! Did we kill him?!”

The Golden Retriever frantically calls out to her friend from a few feet away, her expression tense with concern.

Is my head about to fall off? I must look pretty bad if she thinks they might have killed me!

“Well, I don’t think so…I mean he’s looking at me and everything,” Jack says, pretending to scrutinize my condition.

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“Oh, thank goodness!” says the Golden Retriever, rushing to my side with a burst of energy. “When we start running around it can be hard to stop…”

“We’re sorry…” Jack says, lowering his head.

I get to my feet with a light laugh. I’ve bumped into other dogs in the middle of my playtime too, so it wouldn’t be fair to blame them for just having fun together.

“You don’t have to apologize! I’m actually a pretty sturdy beagle,” I say, puffing out my chest. “That didn’t hurt at all!”

Jack and his friend seem encouraged by my words, their tails beginning to wag as I shake out my coat.

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“I’m Bing,” I say, taking a step toward them. “I don’t think we’ve met, have we?”

“My name is Samantha, but you can call me Sam!” declares the Golden Retriever with a cheerful bark. “And this is my friend, Jack.”

“You really did take that hit like a champ,” Jack says, his eyes glittering with admiration.

That’s the first time I’ve ever been praised for getting knocked over!

The phantom smell of a turkey slowly cooking in the oven is almost replaced with the warm feeling of pride, but before I can enjoy this new sensation, that old longing returns in full force.

Jack and Sam exchange a look, followed by a short nod.

Did they just agree on something?

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“Bing, this might sound a little weird but…how would you like to celebrate Thanksgiving here at the Lodge?” Jack asks, his mouth cracking into a smile.

“With us?” Sam adds with an excited bark.

A Lodge Thanksgiving…?

…to be continued…